DOMS explained and how you can reduce it!
Finding it difficult to walk up the stairs after leg day?
Struggling to lift your arms after arm day?
These are both very common side effects of DOMS, otherwise known as Delayed Onset Muscle soreness.
What are DOMS?
DOMS are the uncomfortable ache and discomfort you often get a day or few days after an intense workout.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness has been shown to occur after intense eccentric exercises although can be experienced after any form of weight based exercise. For example, when performing a bench press, the lowering phase of the movement is the eccentric part of the exercise. The concentric part of the exercise is the pushing phase of the exercise.
Research has indicated that the most intense forms of DOMS occur after eccentric based exercises. This is not to say this is the only time you’ll experience DOMS, as this can be equally as uncomfortable with the concentric phase of exercise.
A gym goer can expect DOMS to last anywhere between 24 and 72 hours post workout. The ache tends to gradually dissipate after this period.
Will DOMS affect my training?
With the onset of DOMS, a gym goer can expect to see a reduction in strength, movement and range of motion for the next few days.
As you continue to train, your body will begin to get used to the workouts and the DOMS will begin to be less uncomfortable after each session.
The length of DOMS is determined by the gym goer’s experience of training and exposure to the specific exercise, the intensity of the workout, and the length of the muscle contractions.
How can I reduce DOMS?
There are a number of ways you can reduce DOMS although you won’t be able to stop them completely.
An ice bath directly after exercise has been shown to help reduce the ache and pain the next day, if you can bear sitting in a freezing cold bath of ice for 5 minutes.
Various types of stretching post exercise are also another way at attempting to reduce the muscular ache. Static stretching directly after exercise helps to realign your muscle fibres and relieve some of the tension and stress put on your muscles throughout the workout.
Eating the correct nutrition after a workout is another vital part of recovery. When your muscles are damaged from their session they need the correct nutrients to help them recover. Protein is ideal for muscle recovery and should be considered if you are regularly doing eccentric based weight training.