Why It's Okay Not to Feel Sore After a Workout
There are countless memes chronicling how real the post-workout struggle is and tons of advice on how to recover from post-workout muscle soreness, that when you don't get that telltale soreness after a good workout, it can be discouraging.
A lot of people use DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) as an indicator for how effective their workouts are, because they've been told that no pain equals no gain, when in actual fact, post-workout soreness is most present when you try a new move or a new variation on something your body is used to.
There are several reasons that might explain why you're not feeling that post-workout paralysis that have nothing to do with how much effort you put into your sweat session. Your muscle memory might be so good that your body has already adapted to what you're doing, and all you need is to change up your routine. Or it may be that you need to increase your range of mobility, so instead of squatting on a machine, you should try it with free weights to engage more muscle groups. You may still be getting a great workout despite not getting DOMS, because your improved muscle memory over a period of time means your muscle fibres are more adept at repairing themselves after and are therefore causing you less soreness.
If you're sorely missing that satisfying soreness, try implementing the following four things into your rest days to get the most range from your joints and the most suppleness from your muscles when you next lift or squat heavy.