Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours or days after doing a strenuous or an unaccustomed exercise. The duration of DOMS depends on each individual but it usually peaks around the 48 hour mark after training that specific body part. Every lifter and athlete experience DOMS at one point in their lives when they try a new exercise or the same activity that stretches their muscles in a new way or in a new angle.
I have experienced DOMs many times. If I take a break from training for a week or so, I can feel it throughout my entire body for that first week back of training. When I wasn’t able to afford a gym or gym equipment for a year and a half, I trained with just resistance bands and my bodyweight. Once I was able to get back into a gym, I had lost over 6kg/15lbs of muscle and suffered from DOMS until my body got accustomed to that training method.
There are ways to significantly reduce the soreness after training. Below I’m sharing four ways that you can reduce the pain and stiffness. I use three of these ways.
Treating & Combatting DOMS
- NEVER SKIP YOUR WARM UP!
I see this a lot at the gym and it just makes me worry about the other gym goers and injuries. Warming up before your workout is necessary because it helps warm up your joints and prepares them to work through the range of motion. It also reduces the risk of injuries. Something as simple as walking or cycling for 10 minutes can help reduce the effects of DOMS.
2. Dynamic Stretching & Foam Rolling
Dynamic stretching is another way of combatting DOMS. It helps to activate your muscles that you will use during the workout while improving coordination, balance and the range of motion. Here are some examples of dynamic stretching:
- Front and vertical leg swings
- Alternating knee pulls
- Band pull aparts
- Bodyweight reverse lunge
Foam rolling before a workout can again prepare the muscles for what is ahead.
3. Training through the soreness
It sounds counterproductive but another way to combat DOMS is to lightly train whilst you’re sore. Training through the soreness helps your body to adapt to that new way of training faster. Have you ever experienced repeating the same workout the following week and you are less sore? If you are going to try out this method, make sure to reduce the volume and intensity of your lifts that week.
4. Branch-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Drinking BCAAs is another nutritional tool to reduce the pain and stiffness of DOMS. BCAAs are made up of 3 of the 9 essential amino acids that the body cannot produce. Drinking BCAAs before and during your workout can promote protein synthesis, suppress muscle protein breakdown, reduce DOMS and reduce muscle damage. If you want to read more about protein, click here for one of my earlier posts on the subject.
It isn’t possible to get rid of DOMS completely but these four tools can help you to alleviate the pain.
Until next time,