Some of you actually love it, but many of you dread an attack from the dreaded DOMS. Love it or hate it, DOMS is the byproduct of strenuously exercising your muscles - after all you’re not made of iron (yet). Here are a few tips on getting ahead of DOMS.
Tough love - that’s what DOMS is all about. It may be sore and hurting you, but DOMS is your mate and always lets you know that muscles are being upgraded and strengthened. There’s no gain without pain - when your muscles are sore it means you’ve got the builders in. In simple terms DOMS is delayed onset muscle soreness after a hard training session. It’s common and your bodies’ way of saying, “Hold on pal, I’m doing a bit of maintenance and rebuilding after what you just put me through, so give me some space and I’ll come back stronger!” For those needing something more scientific, DOMS results from microscopic tears within your muscle tissue - which is what you’re aiming for if you’re looking to build muscle. The soreness you feel is the body’s way of signaling that repair work is happening.
So timing is everything — or maybe you like to hobble around like a war hero at your own wedding. The point here is don’t put in a mammoth training session and invite DOMS to an important event the following day. Check your diary and work out when it’s best to go hard — make it easy for yourself and avoid struggling.
If you ever get the chance to thrash a car around a racetrack, you’ll see everything like fuel, tyres and much more has been checked before you get into it. This is to avoid bigger problems. This principle should be applied to your heavy workouts as this will help to lower the duration and painful effects of DOMS.
If you train occasionally or prefer long periods between hard sessions, then you’re more than likely to experience painful DOMS. Many people have seen positive results by increasing their training frequency to anything from 5-10 sessions a week. On average, muscle takes about 48 hours to recover, but the soreness can last a little longer. Try getting back to the gym when the performance returns and see how you get on with another session. Just don’t overdo it by pushing too hard if it’s too sore and painful.
Much can be done to avoid DOMS and ultimately it’s a positive sign if you have some soreness post workout, but sometimes the pain is a real hassle. Here are some tips to ease the pain.
There isn’t really a way to conquer DOMS - but why would you want to anyway? It’s simply your own body letting you know that it needs a rest and that your workout was a good one. That’s what you wanted to hear - right?