Ever try a weight-lifting routine, ending it by stretching all your muscles and then waking up the next day feeling sore all over?

The thing about stretching is that whether it’s before or after a workout, it doesn’t actually prevent or reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) like many people think, according to a review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. This practice exercise may have started in the 60s and 70s when people mistakenly thought muscle soreness was due to muscle spasm. While that idea has since been discredited, the belief about stretching still remains.

DOMS is really the result of tiny tears in your muscle fibers, which  happen when your muscle has to create tension to control the rate at which it lengthens. This causes muscle swelling and inflammation, and as a result, you’re left feeling sore all over. And while a little bit of soreness is expected after a new or hard workout, it’s not the ultimate goal. Nothing’s worth not being unable to sit down and stand up again for several days. Instead, try upping the intensity or changing up your workouts slightly every couple weeks for maximum results without the pain.