What Is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness & How Should You Treat It?

We all know it already: walking slightly hunched, the muscles in our legs / core / back / arms screaming as we try to sit down, reach up, climb the stairs, or worse, walk down the stairs. As a result of a new exercise plan, an extra tough workout, or "forgetting" to warm up or cool down, delayed onset sore muscles (aka DOMS) can really feel like a tough compromise when it comes to our fitness routines.

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Whether you are a regular resistance training enthusiast, a Pilates lover, or a circuit training convert, few escape DOMS pain all the time – although there are a few things you can do to alleviate the dire experience. Read on for our expert guide on how to deal with delayed onset of muscle soreness and the best course of action to make it less painful.

What is delayed onset of sore muscles?

As with many fitness terms (such as compound exercises or glute isolation exercises), delayed onset sore muscles are really "doing what they say", so let's break it down.

"Delayed muscle soreness, or DOMS for short, is a condition in which your muscles ache not immediately, but a short time after training," explains P.Volve physiotherapist Dr. Amy Hoover. "Usually DOMS occurs 24-48 hours after a hard workout."

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The nature of DOMS pain means you probably won't feel sore muscles for a day or two after your workout, hence the "delayed onset" element in the name.

What are the causes of delayed onset of muscle soreness?

  • Try a new workout or sport
  • Lift more weight than usual
  • Do more reps
  • Change the pace of your exercise
  • Return to training / sport after free time

“DOMS is caused by stress on muscle fibers when you exercise them beyond their normal limits or put more weight on them than usual. It can also occur when you use muscles in ways that your body is not used to, such as when you first exercise, ”explains Dr. Hoover. "It's also more common after eccentric exercises or movements that challenge the muscles to work while they are elongating."

A quick refresher on eccentric exercises. Every exercise you do has an eccentric and concentric element. Concentric is when the muscle contracts and shortens, i.e. H. when you bring a weight towards your shoulder during a biceps curl. The eccentric element is when the muscle fibers lengthen again – continuing the biceps curl when you lower the weight back onto your side.

Other eccentric movements include placing the barbell or dumbbells against your chest while doing a bench press, or lowering into a squat with your thighs parallel to the floor.

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Is it normal to have sore muscles that start delayed?

“Totally normal!” Says Tash Lankester, PT at FLEX Chelsea, and explains why DOMS are not only normal, but can also be a sign that your body is building muscle as usual. “Progress and muscle growth come after the micro-cracks. In response to tears, our body produces cells to repair our muscles and protect them from future ruptures – this leads to an increase in muscle mass. "

However, she says, "If you are sore after every workout, it is a sign that you are probably trying too hard, not taking effective recovery measures, and it may be time to slow it down as you are not really going to make it . " Progress. & # 39;

How do you treat DOMS pain?

  • Ice therapy
  • massage
  • Foam rolling exercises
  • strain
  • With a muscle gun
  • NEAT exercise
  • Rest

In addition to muffled yelling every time you step on or off a surface, there are workable ways to manage your DOMS pain. From adding foam roller exercises to your post-workout routine to stretching before that and after training (but save the dynamic stretches for after training), to more walking and the use of heat / cold therapy, there are countless options at different prices.

One of the best ways to ensure that your body is in the right place is to take your time for proper rest.

“On the rest days, the tissues really heal and grow, which leads to stronger muscles, so make sure you schedule those rest days and recovery sessions. “Suggests Maria Eleftheriou, Head of Barre at Psycle. "When you make a commitment, you will feel a difference in your workouts, recharge your batteries, and most importantly, you will cause far fewer injuries."

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Is it okay to exercise with DOMS?

We get it – you're on the move and don't want to ruin your streak with sore glutes or quads that feel like wind blockers. Because of me. But is it a good idea to exercise with DOMS pain? We asked the expert.

“It's okay to exercise with DOMS, but you want to avoid heavy resistance training while your sore muscles recover. If you vary the muscle groups on which you concentrate on a daily basis, the body can also recover before the next intensive training session, ”suggests Dr. Hoover ahead.

"DOMS can be a normal part of strength training or new activity, but as your body adapts to heavier weight or more intense exercise, you should experience less and less delayed muscle soreness."

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How to Prevent DOMS and Reduce DOMS Pain After Exercise

“The best way to avoid DOMS is to prevent it in the first place. Slowly and gradually increase your training load and properly warm up and stretch after training, ”says Dr. Hoover.

Here's your play-by-play guide to avoiding DOMS pain before it sets in.

1. Focus on cool-down exercises

There shouldn't be a situation where you're rushing from your fitness or spin workout with no time to cool off. Just as you wouldn't regularly use an emergency brake on the highway (if you can avoid it), you shouldn't apply the brakes while exercising.

Instead, save yourself 10-20 minutes for cool-down exercises. They help your heart rate slowly return to baseline and prevent muscle tissue from building up.

2. Keep moving

After you leave the gym, try not to sit down all day. We say try because some days it feels impossible to get away from the computer for a moment – we get it.

However, a gentle walk back to the office or around the block will keep your body and muscles moving and increase blood flow to your muscles, which will aid recovery and reduce the time it will make you wince. (This is called a NEAT exercise if you want to learn more about it.)

3. Add some protein

Protein is an important part of muscle tissue recovery, so don't skip it. While you don't have to drink a protein shake, minute When you leave the gym, a diet that has protein as an important part of it is vital – especially if you do strength or resistance training regularly.

Chicken, tofu, cheese, and fish are great whole food options. If you're in a hurry, a protein powder can also help you meet your macro goals.

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4. Stretch or foam roller

Finally, when you're there for the night and want to relax, take 20 to 30 minutes to stretch or do foam roller exercises. This will help loosen up the fascia (the sticky connective tissue that surrounds your muscles) and feel a little looser.

Oh, and drink water. No excuses. You need it.


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Is it possible to get rid of delayed onset of sore muscles?

Mmmh no. You cannot get rid of dry hair with Olaplex or menstrual pain with Myprodol. However, it is possible to relieve DOMS pain.

“I'm a big fan of active recreation, especially with a foam roller. It can help relieve tension, reduce inflammation, and increase your range of motion. Research also shows that water can help with regeneration, so swimming or stretching in the water has a real impact on joint and muscle recovery, ”says Eleftheriou.

“Healing and repair also require good nutrition. Eating a balanced diet of anti-inflammatory foods like avocado, broccoli, cherries, salmon, and turmeric can help relieve pain and promote recovery. "

“Fall asleep at last! Without enough physical and mental rest, it can really pull you back on your athletic performance. "

This article was originally published on Women’s Health UK

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