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This is about the kind of muscle exercises done by people for bodybuilding or strength training, where they want to focus on strengthening a specific muscle (or set of muscles).

Is it possible that these individuals can learn to feel that their exercise is actually strengthening the correct muscle(s), without testing/measuring the muscle(s) afterwards?

Or are even experienced people always dependent on either correct technique or on testing/measuring the muscle(s) afterwards?

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For me, yes. But, it takes awhile. I had to learn proper technique to ensure other muscles aren't taking the load. Then, the muscles I wanted to work had to get strong enough. The key for me is stopping when I can't maintain proper form. If you don't, then other muscles get engaged. Anyway, it is a beautiful feeling to suddenly become aware that long dormant muscles are engaged and doing work. You might have to go on faith for awhile, but it will happen.

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You know that moment. You wake up a few days after a workout and think to yourself, "Ah, now I feel it." The technical term for this post-workout evidence of hard effort is delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.

What Is DOMS?

When we work our bodies harder than they are used to, the natural response is inflammation. DOMS is the temporary soreness felt 24-72 hours post workout due to muscle tissue microtrauma.

When our bodies can't deal with exercise-induced muscle damage, we experience DOMS. The healing response leads to increases in strength and muscle mass.

So yes you can feel if your workout was effective.

It’s also worth mentioning that while most exercise can induce some DOMS, exercise with a greater emphasis on the eccentric phase (the lengthening or stretching phase) plays the most significant role in the manifestation of DOMS.

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Start doing biceps curls and continue until your biceps feel tired and hurts terrible. Now you know how it feels, when you use your biceps. (You probably already knew that.)

Doing exercises known to isolating just one muscle or muscle group let you learn how it feels, when you activate exactly that specific muscle, and this knowledge is easely reused doing more complicated exercises.

Using this technic you can learn to feel even small deep muscles covered by larger muscles, like e.g. Gluteus medius.

Of course, you need to know isolating exercises, and such exercises can commonly be found in the litterature.

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