Delayed onset muscle soreness

The Dreaded Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (The DOMS!) is not just a myth, like the boogey-man. DOMS is either something you’ve heard of, have experienced, or are soon to feel. Part and parcel of any strenuous muscular activity, DOMS is just something you have to sit with (poor choice of words maybe) and try to overcome in early strength and conditioning.

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a result of the small tears to your muscle fibres that occur while you’re working out, combined with the burning feeling of lactic acid build up. Small micro-tears to our muscles cause pain and usher in inflammation, leaving the feeling of heat and stiffness. As these tears are prevalent on muscle tissue, trying to lengthen or shorten your muscles with DOMS will feel very debilitating (basically it hurts to move). You will essentially be walking around like John Wayne!

Workouts that include a lot of eccentric exercises are more likely to leave you hobbling the next day. There are 2 phases in a strength exercise, the concentric (the lifting part) and the eccentric (the lowering part). The eccentric phase is where you’re actually creating tears in the muscle fibers, and it’s also where your muscles are working at their strongest. Downhill running is a good example of eccentric exercise, which is why DOMS would be more prevalent as opposed to running uphill. So on day 1 if you were to really lower yourself into a push up very slow, you are likely to develop more DOMS across the chest.

This pain usually begins to develop between 12 and 24 hours after your workout, and peaks around 24 to 72 hours after your training stimulus. This is a necessary process of muscle break-down. With adequate nutrients, hydration and recovery, these muscles will build back stronger and more developed. 

Now, enough of scaring you. DOMS can be managed. At Underground Fitness we purposefully try our best to impose strategies that minimise this pain in your first workouts. Being mis-managed, not only can DOMS cause discomfort, but it can cause you to miss your subsequent workouts. Now this we cannot afford! 🙂

steps to promote recovery

Notice we say “promote recovery” as opposed to “heal pain”, because if you are experiencing pain the only real saviour is time. There is no quick fix to eliminate DOMS, but there are methods to lighten the stiffness and promote recovery. This means getting back to full length walking strides ASAP. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Increase circulation
Although it seems counter-intuitive, actually getting up and moving around will help boost your recovery from bad DOMS. Oxygen and nutrients are carried to the body by blood, so increased blood-flow through movement will help speed up the recovery process, ultimately shortening the time you spend feeling it. This doesn’t mean lifting weights or running again, it means walking, lightly kicking the legs out, rubbing yourself down, and basically trying to avoid sitting and being stagnant for too long.
 
Another great tip lightly stretching. Do not stretch too deep, as your muscles are trying to recover. Gentle stretching increases blood and filters out lactic acid, and ultimately helps you feel less stiff.
 
 
  1. Hydration, Hydration, Hydration 
 
Muscles and fat cells release toxins into your body as they break down. These toxins can in part lead to elevated levels of inflammation, and increase soreness in the muscles experienced with DOMS. Studies show that elevated levels of hydration will help purge the body of these toxins, which will lower toxicity levels and decrease inflammation. Decreased inflammation also means faster recovery. Better hydration levels also help 
 
 
  1. Have an Epsom salts bath
Epsom salts are a special substance found in Epsom (UK), that when dissolved into water breaks down in to Magnesium Sulphate. While Epsom Salt has many uses from agriculture to beauty products; most people use it as a bath salt. When dissolved in water the Magnesium and Sulphates are easily absorbed by the skin. This is thought to have numerous health benefits, including the promotion of blood flow, reduction of inflammation, and the aiding of muscle and nerve function. Basically, Epsom salts feed magnesium directly into the muscle without the need to ingest it, relieving muscle stress and reducing inflammation. 
 
Epsom salts will help, but again its not a miracle cure. You will just need time. If you are worried about making your next workout, the good news is that we typically work opposing muscle groups from workout to workout, so whatever is sore today will not be worked directly. Most find the blood flow brought about by exercising again actually helps to relieve muscle soreness some what. So our recommendation is that unless you feel extremely debilitated, attempt to make your next workout.
 
Epsom salts are a special substance found in Epsom, UK. When dissolved into water Epsom salt breaks down in to Magnesium Sulphate. While Epsom Salt has many uses from agriculture to beauty products; most people use it as a bath salt.
 
When dissolved in water the Magnesium and Sulphates are easily absorbed by the skin. This is thought that to have numerous health benefits, including the promotion of blood flow, reduction in Inflammation, and the aiding muscle and nerve function. Basically, Epsom salts feed magnesium directly into the muscle without the need to ingest it. This relieves muscle stress and reduces inflammation, making the pain and stiffness lessen.  Always be sure to read the packaging and follow the instructions, as some products may differ slightly.
 
 
Epsom salts will help, but again its not a miracle cure. You will just need time. If you are worried about making your next workout, the good news is that we typically work opposing muscle groups from workout to workout. So, whatever is sore today will not be worked directly in your next session. This allows extra time for muscles worked to recover. Most people will find after their next workout that increased blood flow actually helps to relieve muscle soreness. They actually will feel less stiff after. So our recommendation is that unless you feel extremely debilitated, attempt to make your next workout. Your body will thank you for it.