What is the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that you experience between 24-72 hours after a workout?
When we exercise, we recruit the use of muscles that we often don’t ask much of in our day to day lives. The strain that we put on these muscles during exercise causes damage to some of the fibres that make up our muscles, this damage is what you are feeling when you have soreness and stiffness during this 24-72 hour period. You might find that certain exercises give you worse DOMS than others – the likelihood is that these are the ones where your muscles and stretched and then contracted to a full length, such as hamstring extensions.
It might be a bit alarming at first, you might even think that you’ve injured yourself! But don’t be worried, if the pain subsides within a day or two, then it’s just a classic case of DOMS.
Struggling to sit down at your desk after leg day? Here’s some tips on how you can reduce the soreness after your next workout:
Whilst DOMS can’t be completely avoided, (your may even learn to love it with a badge of honour!) there are steps that you can help to make it more manageable and recover more quickly.
- Remember to stretch after your workout
- Hot/ cold baths to soothe the pain
- Foam rolling
- Drink lots of water
- Light exercise of the affected muscle group ( For example A light walk on the treadmill after a heavy leg day)
- Introducing a BCAA supplement to take during, before or after your workout. (the verdict is still out on when is proven to be best to incorporate it)
Amino acids needed for muscle tissue repair can be found in BCAA supplements. They help to stop the muscles from breaking down after they have been put through the stress of a workout, repairing that damage just a little bit quicker. Some people do find that these make a noticeable difference in the speed that they recover from DOMS.
NB: DOMS shouldn’t be a level of pain which is unbearable – if you are experiencing this, you may need to reduce the weights that you are using and decrease the frequency/ intensity of your workouts until your body has become adjusted to it’s new regime.