Published On: January 13, 2023Categories: General

Have you ever felt soreness in your muscles a day or two after exercising? This is known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS for short. DOMS is a prevalent issue for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, and it can be quite uncomfortable. In this blog post, we will delve into the reasons behind DOMS and explore ways to minimize its impact.

What Causes DOMS?

DOMS occurs when you engage in physical activity that your body isn’t used to, or when you increase the intensity or duration of your workouts. This type of activity causes tiny microscopic tears in your muscle fibers, which results in inflammation and soreness. I want you to picture our muscles as rubber bands. Lengthening the muscle (AKA eccentric contractions) causes the rubber band to stretch, and shortening the muscle (AKA concentric contractions) causes the rubber band to push together. The only way that the rubber band can tear is by stretching it too far, not pushing it together. The same thing goes for our muscles!

Delayed onset muscle soreness can only occur from eccentric contractions. Examples of eccentric-focused contractions include:

  • Walking downhill
  • Alpine skiing
  • The down-motion of a squat

So, being sore or not being sore doesn’t indicate how “good” your workout was, it just means that it was concentric-focused! The soreness you will experience from DOMS typically starts 24-48 hours after the workout and can last up to five days.

How to Reduce DOMS

While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent DOMS, there are several things you can do to reduce its severity and duration. Here are some tips:

  • Warm-up and Cool Down: Warming up before exercise and cooling down after exercise can help reduce muscle soreness. Start with some light cardio to get your blood flowing, and then complete some dynamic movements before you start your workout. After your workout, take some time to stretch and cool down gradually.
  • Ice: Using ice on your sore muscles can help reduce DOMS.
  • Massage: Massaging your muscles can help reduce DOMS. You can use a foam roller or get a deep tissue massage to help loosen up tight muscles.
  • Rest and Recovery: Your muscles need time to recover after a workout, so make sure to give them enough time to rest. You can also try taking a hot bath or using a heating pad to help soothe sore muscles.
  • Gradually Increase Intensity: If you’re new to working out or trying a new exercise, start with a lower intensity and gradually increase it over time. This will help prevent severe muscle soreness.

DOMS is a common occurrence among fitness enthusiasts and athletes, but it doesn’t have to be debilitating. By following the tips above, you can help reduce the severity and duration of muscle soreness. Remember, it’s essential to listen to your body and take the time you need to rest and recover after a workout.

References: https://www.acsm.org/docs/default-source/files-for-resource-library/delayed-onset-muscle-soreness-%28doms%29.pdf