Does the way your muscle feel after a workout dictate how successful you were in developing sufficient stimulus to cause your muscles to grow? Not necessarily. While delayed soreness is an indication of micro tears in muscle, which are necessary to cause the body to overcompensate and build more muscle tissue after a workout, it doesn’t indicate if proper training protocols were followed during the workout.
For instance, one could get on a stationary cycle and peddle at a moderate pace for an extended period of time and get sore in the leg muscles a day or two later. But that training does little to build muscle. It will build endurance but offers insufficient resistance to stimulate muscle growth.
The trick is to find the proper intensity level,number of reps or time under tension and resistance level to use in your training to get optimum results. One of the ways to do this is to do an analysis of muscle fiber content in each muscle group. That way you will be able to use the proper tut for each muscle group. A muscle fiber analysis is done in the following way:
Select an isolation exercise and strictly perform an arbitrary number of repetitions at a moderate to slow speed, e.g., 6-12 repetitions, at about a 5/5 cadence (make certain the TUT is at least 60 seconds;
Rest approximately three minutes then complete a second set of that exercise with the same weight
In both sets train to muscular failure and record your TUT. If the TUT in the second set is 50% or less than the first set, that muscle group is predominantly fast twitch (since the muscle lost so much strength). If you lose less than 15% TUT, maintained or even increased your TUT in the second set (which is possible), that muscle group is predominantly slow twitch.
Anything between these two figures represent a mixed fiber type, whose ratios reflect the degree of TUT reduction.
Now that you have determined muscle fiber type and ideal tut, or number of reps,whichever method you use, it is time to develop an ideal training regimen to maximize muscular development. If your muscle is mostly fast twitch, use a tut of 45-60 seconds per set. If it is slow twitch, use a tut of 90-120 seconds. If it falls in-between use a tut of 65-90 seconds.
Some important points to take away from this is to use:
Ideal tut or reps for each muscle fiber type/group
proper amount of resistance to cause muscular failure or exhaustion with this rep count
constantly attempt to use more weight every workout
get the proper amount of rest
train the right amount and none extra to avoid over training