The affectionately termed, DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness is one you will become all too familiar with when you are new to exercise and/or continually changing up your training regime.
DOMS are a good sign, it means you’ve worked hard and that your body is in a state of repair, restore and rebuild. Whilst DOMS will be familiar to you throughout your exercising time, they are definitely worse the first time back after a break or when you’re completely new to exercise.
Here are some common questions and answers about DOMS:
- Am I dying? No you’re not
- Will I ever be able to sit on a toilet or lift my hands above my head again? Yes you will
- Can I exercise without experiencing the pain of DOMS? The real question here is, Why would you want to? Bearing in mind, DOMS are a good sign. You can’t eliminate them completely if you are training effectively, but you can certainly reduce and relieve the symptoms as discussed below.
- What causes the pain? When you exercise, your muscle fibres tear. We’re not talking serious injury tear, but miniscule tears throughout the muscle. These tears happen when the muscle is used in a new way or under greater tension than previously worked. These tears then repair, building the muscle stronger and more toned than it was before. This is why it’s so important to keep mixing up your training as the muscles soon become accustomed and stop tearing if you do the same thing day in and day out.
- I don’t want big muscles so I don’t want DOMS! The job of the muscles is to support the skeletal structure. We all need muscles. Muscles also hold our tummies flat, keep our arms firm, thighs tight and booties high! Strong muscles means less wobbly bits. Muscles as in full beefcake bodybuilding style take YEARS of hours in the gym daily, as well as a huge amount of food and supplementation to develop. You will not turn beefcake just because you’re training with weights or experiencing DOMS. You will tone up and feel stronger.
Dealing with DOMS. Here are some helpful tips to reducing and relieving the pain:
- Taking magnesium regularly assists the muscles with the process of rebuilding and restoring. The best magnesium is taken in powder form and mixed with water as it is easily absorbed by the body. Many of the tablet form supplements are not effectively absorbed by the body.
- Magnesium baths are another way to relieve sore muscles, these can be magnesium salts or epsom salts. If you’re using pure magnesium salts, they are best mixed with bicarb soda to assist with absorption.
- Exercise regularly – not training because you are sore is a sure fire way to increase the soreness periods after working out. Good coaches will warm you up properly and by the end of the warm up your muscles should be warm, stretched and ready for the next workout.
- Don’t wait for the soreness to go before exercising again. This could end up meaning that you are working out only once or maybe twice a week!
- Celebrate DOMS as a success. There is nothing better that abs or bootie DOMS!
- Creams such as Tiger Balm, Blue Ice, Past Tense, Voltaren, etc. are an effective relief of the pain but will not stop it completely.
With all of this in mind, enjoy your training, celebrate your successes and embrace the DOMS!
Is DOMS is GOOD!