DOMS, otherwise known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is a common term used in the area of training and fitness. But what is it DOMS, why do we get it and how can we make it better? Is it okay to train when we are sore and are there things that we can do to help us recover from DOMS? We’ll be discussing all this in our blog below.
DOMS are the aches and pains that we start feeling in our muscles around 24hrs after a hard session, that we might not be accustomed to or is new to our training, but is usually worse when we are getting closer to 48hrs post session.
DOMS are also very common when you perform eccentric type training and they can last for a number of days but that is dependent on what your training and recovery methods involve. We can get soreness all over our body but probably the most noted is in our lower body when we cannot get out of bed in the morning, we find it hard to walk and struggle to go down the stairs.
Why Do We Get DOMS?
DOMS is caused by micro tears and traumas in our muscles fibers which cause inflammation so that they can then get repaired. It has been found that in some cases, the soreness in certain muscles can be so bad that the individual thinks that they might have strained that particular muscle. DOMS also causes tightness in the muscles involved and reduced range of motion and can lead to lack of coordination and reduced strength and power output that might influence your other training sessions.
Can We Prevent DOMS?
So, what can we do to avoid getting DOMS or recover from DOMS quicker? Unfortunately, sometimes it is quite inevitable to get DOMS even if you train consistently well. This happens when you introduce a new exercise to your programme, when you vary the volume and / or the intensity or if you do something completely different from your normal schedule (not forgetting the most common type of DOMS that your get after not training for a good few weeks).
How to Recover from DOMS?
A few ways of alleviating DOMS includes active recovery session, gentle massage or foam rolling as well as some stretching. All this promotes blood flow in the damaged muscles which will aid repair.
Another method includes contrast treatment of cold and hot showers which also increases blood flow to the damaged fibers. Furthermore, an adequate amount of proteins, carbohydrates and fats is also imperative for the energy systems to recover and most importantly for protein synthesis to occur.
Is Your Workout Efficient Enough if You Don't Get DOMS?
Finally, it is good to know that DOMS do not determine how good your session was or how hard you trained. It is a big misconception that if your muscles are not in pain after each session you are not pushing hard enough. Not being in pain after each session, apart from the first session of a new training block, is an indication that your coach or personal trainer is programming well with progressive loading so that you are able to reach your goals in the desired time. Constant DOMS will only prevent you from making measurable strength gains.
Have a question about efficient exercise programming? Feel free to get in touch.