DOMS - what is it? DOMS stands for delayed onset of muscle soreness.
Has this ever gotten you that bad that you felt you couldn't squat down to pick up your kid, sit on the toilet or ever workout again? The 24-72 hours following a workout is generally when you will feel most sore. It peaks around the 48 hour mark which is why day two always seem to go up a notch. You might wake the next day and feel (surprisingly) good, then as time goes on you really start to stiffen up.
If you're new to exercise DOMS may hit you harder than those that have been training for some time. DOMS is caused by tiny microscopic tears that leads to inflammation of our muscle tissues, so you could basically call DOMS connective tissue micro trauma, although that makes it sound a little worse than it is.
Why does it happen? It occurs when we use muscles in a different way or work them harder than they are used to. It's also why it is great to mix up our exercise routine. For those that train regularly, your body adapts to the style of training you complete on a regular basis.
Now you definitely do not need to pull up sore after every workout in oder for it to have been an effective one, but variation is definitely key in helping you reach your fitness and fat loss goals. Soreness and pain isn't always a good sign and can indicate poor technique, that you should have scaled your workout back to develop adequate strength to safely perform the session or other underlying issues.
Soreness isn't the sign of a great workout, but if you've ever had some time off training, tried out a new form of exercise, or mixed up your program you would have experienced DOMS. Muscle soreness, particularly of the legs seems to make everything appear much harder than it is and can affect motivation to continue with your weekly workout schedule. Try the following to minimise your DOMS and keep on track to your goals.
My top tips to reduce DOMS and help increase recovery:
- Sound post training nutrition - never underestimate the importance of good nutrition both pre and post training. Post training try to get 20-30g of high quality protein into you with a source of carbohydrates i.e. smoothie with greek yoghurt, banana, protein.
- Magnesium powder or capsules - aims to relieve muscle soreness and reduce inflammation.
- Glutamine - an amino acid that helps the body in times of stress (such as exercise). It can minimize breakdown of muscle and improve protein metabolism.
- Plenty of water - will ensure adequate hydration, which in turn helps prevent cramping whilst also flushing the body of toxins.
- Stretch & release - you've done the strengthening part, don't forget to stretch or foam roll it out. This is one of the most skipped parts of training, yet one of the most helpful in terms of recovery.
- Rest - whether it's putting your feet up, getting to bed earlier, having a nap or scheduling rest days. Rest is just as important as the activity itself. Without adequate rest you can actually increase the cortisol levels within your body which infers fat loss and energy levels. So switch off and get some much needed, good quality sleep!
What are you sure fire ways to help reduce or manage muscle soreness following a workout so that it doesn't impede your goals? Try to incorporate the above to help ditch or diminish the DOMS, promote a speedy recovery and get back into your training (relatively) pain free!