Blog Post - News, Views and Tips
DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness to give it its full name, can show up a day or two after exercise and should be expected when you’ve just started exercise, changed your routine, or trained harder than usual. It doesn’t last too long and is actually a sign of inflammation, the same body response that triggers pain and swelling when you cut yourself, which thankfully is part of the muscle repair and recovery process. In these cases you’ve caused microscopic damage to the muscle fibres, and the connective tissue between the muscle fibres are sending pain signals to your brain. This soreness is therefore part of the conditioning and adaption process, and results in stronger muscles as they recover and build.
For most people though the pain can range from mild to awful and last between 2 and 4 days, but you shouldn’t confuse it with sharp pain experienced during the exercise itself, which could be caused by tears or strains. If DOMS gets a little too much to bear, then massage can do wonders. Failing that though, and as a last resort, there’s always Ibuprofen, but please follow any dosage instructions on the packaging.
A critical point to note is that exercise without resulting DOMS, does not mean that your exercise wasn’t effective or beneficial for your muscles. In fact a study published in 2012 in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research concludes simply that “… it is the total work done during training that impacts the final muscle remodeling…“. Therefore DOMS is not a requirement for muscle growth, it’s just an indicator that you did something in your training routine that your body wasn’t used to, or did an exercise that triggers more soreness than others.
As such, the fact that you’ve experienced one bout of DOMS after performing a specific exercise, lessens the chances of developing soreness whilst performing that same activity in the weeks or months to come. Meanwhile, you can exercise through DOMS by concentrating on other body areas to allow your affected muscles some decent recovery time. Next time though, the upside is there’ll be less soreness and a faster recovery.
So, in case you were in any doubt, DOMS is just the normal result of changing your exercise or increasing the workload, but muscle growth is not dependant on experiencing soreness and being sore doesn’t mean they’re growing any quicker.