Soreness, aching, stiffness, and muscle pain after a workout? Most likely, you're experiencing DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness which can set in 12-48 hours after your last bout of exercise.
While it's normal to experience minor DOMS after a tough workout, sometimes it can be really painful. Although there isn't a foolproof way to avoid DOMS altogether, you can follow some tips to minimize its effects.
We are presenting 5 quick and easy tips to help you beat DOMS after your next workout.
What is DOMS?
DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, is that familiar feeling of stiffness and pain that often follows a workout. Though it can be uncomfortable, DOMS is actually a sign that your muscles are growing stronger.
When you exercise, you cause small tears in your muscle fibers. In response, your body repairs the damage by building new protein strands, leading to larger and stronger muscles. The process of rebuilding muscular strength can take up to 48 hours, which explains why DOMS usually hits 1-2 days after a workout.
The pain threshold at which discomfort sets in is unknown, and it depends largely on your level of conditioning ( how used you are to working out). However, we know that exercises that focus on a movement's eccentric (lowering) phase, such as hamstring stretching in a Romanian deadlift, usually have a greater impact.
When the stimulus is new and demanding, you'll feel sore whether the exercises are eccentric.
However, the good news is that each time you experience DOMS, it becomes less and less intense as your muscles adapt to the demands of exercise. So, if you're feeling a little sore after your latest workout, don't worry — it just means you're getting closer to achieving your fitness goals!
Does DOMS Speed Up Muscle Growth?
DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness, may not feel pleasant, but many believe it is necessary for muscle growth. After all, how else would your muscles know to get bigger and stronger? Our general idea is that muscle grows after being sore.
Most of us are like, "no pain, no gain," but authentic muscle science may surprise us a bit here. Research suggests that DOMS has little to do with muscle growth. The mechanism that causes DOMS - inflammation - actually inhibits muscle growth. Also, you can't work out when you are too sore.
In reality, the recovery process builds muscles in your body, not the tear and inflammation. However, it's important to remember that DOMS is inevitable when you're just starting out or increasing the intensity of your workout.
How to Avoid DOMS?
We just said it's inevitable, so how can we prevent it, then? DOMS can't be avoided, but there are a couple of things you can do to avoid the worst pain and discomfort associated with strenuous workouts.
One of the most effective methods to avoid unnecessary muscle soreness, or DOMS (DOMS is unnecessary because it definitely isn't required for muscle building), is called progressive overload. This refers to gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts over time.
Slowly increasing the weight you're lifting, or the number of repetitions you're performing gives your muscles a chance to adapt and become stronger. This not only helps prevent DOMS but also leads to better long-term results.
Progressive overloading prevents DOMS and helps increase strength and muscle endurance most efficiently and painlessly.
If you're new to strength training, starting slowly to prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is important. DOMS is caused by microtrauma to the muscles and can result in pain, inflammation, and reduced range of motion. The best way to avoid DOMS is to increase your workout intensity gradually.
Start with light weights and fewer repetitions, and slowly increase the weight and number of reps as your muscles adapt.
Letting your body adapt to the new routine ensures your muscles don't go through the shock that causes DOMS. So, no pain!
5 Tips to Beat DOMS After Workout
You are desperate to build those muscles and ready to do anything to get there, but enduring highly inflamed muscles isn't one of them? I've got 5 golden tips to ensure you aren't in bed after a wholesome session at the gym.
Here are the top secrets to painless muscles building:
1. Stay Hydrated
You may have been anticipating something out of the world regarding top tips to avoid DOMS, but the truth is it boils down to the basics. Something as ordinary as staying well hydrated is actually crucial to keeping extra pain and inflammation at bay.
2. Increase Circulation
Try and increase blood circulation if you want to stay safe from DOMS. There are a few ways to increase blood circulation. One is to use a foam roller or massage ball to work out any knots or tightness in your muscles.
Another is to do some light stretching or yoga. And finally, you can try using a heating pad or taking a warm bath. These activities will increase blood circulation and help you beat DOMS.
Increased circulation means more oxygen and nutrients are carried to the muscles, helping them heal faster. When your sore muscles heal faster, you won't have to endure the debilitating pain of DOMS.
Massage is one of the most effective (most enjoyable) ways to relieve DOMS. By gently kneading the muscles, massage helps increase blood flow and reduce inflammation, which means your muscles will recover pretty soon, ruling out the pain and discomfort of DOMS.
In addition, massage can also help break up any knots or trigger points that may have formed during exercise.
We all know how important it is to get a good night's sleep. But did you know that sleeping well can help you recover from DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)? When you work out, you stress your muscles, which can lead to soreness.
But sleeping gives your body a chance to repair the damage and return stronger. Studies have shown that people who sleep well after a workout experience less pain and stiffness than those who don't. So if you want to beat DOMS, get plenty of sleep.
5. Active Recovery
Active recovery is one of the best ways to prevent DOMS. Active recovery involves low-intensity activity immediately after your workout while your muscles are still warm.
This could be something like a light jog or a gentle swim. The goal is to increase blood flow to the muscles without putting too much stress on them. This will help reduce inflammation and speed up the repair process. So next time you're feeling the pain of DOMS, don't just sit around - get moving and give active recovery a try!
1. Why do I get DOMS so easily?
You're not alone if you always complain about how sore you are after a workout. It turns out that there are a few reasons why some people seem to get DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) more easily than others.
One reason may be genetics. Some people's muscles simply recover from exercise more slowly than others. Another reason may be training level. If you're just starting to work out, your muscles will be less accustomed to the stress and take longer to recover.
Finally, it could be that you're not giving your muscles enough time to recover between workouts. If you're constantly pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles will never have a chance to repair themselves fully, leading to chronic soreness.
2. What is the fastest way to cure DOMS?
Stay hydrated, get moving after a workout with lighter activities like a walk in the park or perform basic stretches to increase blood flow. Sleep well and get a massage. These things help prevent DOMS.
3. Should I exercise with DOMS?
Although working with DOMS pain is the last thing you want to do, it may actually be beneficial for your recovery. Low-impact cardio, such as swimming, is an excellent method to slowly reintroduce your body to activity without stopping your fitness regimen.
4. What supplement helps with DOMS?
Adding supplements such as intra-workout and post-workout to your workout regime is a way to ward off DOMS. Often taken by athletes, it can help with cramping and relaxing muscles and reduce soreness and recovery time.
Now that you know what DOMS is, isn't it time you put an end to this affliction? Strength training doesn't have to result in pain and suffering; follow these five tips and reduce the risk of developing DOMS. So don't be a wuss when it comes to working out. Get those gains without the pain!
- Cleary, Michelle A., et al. ‘Dehydration and Symptoms of Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness in Hyperthermic Males’. Journal of Athletic Training, vol. 40, no. 4, 2005, pp. 288–97. PubMed Central, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1323290/.
- Flann, Kyle L., et al. ‘Muscle Damage and Muscle Remodeling: No Pain, No Gain?’ The Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 214, no. Pt 4, Feb. 2011, pp. 674–79. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.050112.
- Schwarz, P., et al. ‘Sleep Deprivation Impairs Functional Muscle Recovery Following Injury’. Sleep Medicine, vol. 14, Dec. 2013, p. e262. ScienceDirect, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2013.11.638.