You just started working out, or you’ve been at this a long time and you feel great till that evening, or next morning, or even two days later, when you can barely lift your body after you’ve consumed the requisite daily allowance of Ibuprofen. What is it? What happened?
As my trainers have explained with a hearty chuckle, it’s Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). As Christine Yu, Life by DailyBurn, points out in an article she wrote for CNN, she references an exercise scientist from the University of New Mexico, Mike Johns, “DOMS is muscle soreness that becomes evident six-to-eight hours following activity, peaking around 24 to 48 hours post-training.” While the symptoms will often start to diminish at about 72 hours, “the precise time course and extent of DOMS is highly variable,” Mike says.”
GREAT, you say? Why does it hurt so much?
“You’re doing something new that you haven’t done in some time, you’ve increased the intensity, or volume.”
For those who like aggression workouts, yep, you’re gonna hurt.
The article goes on to say that you get better as you continue. I didn’t know this but DOMS is most often associated with “eccentric contraction — where the muscle lengthens as it contracts – [according to Mike]. This includes movements such as running downhill, lowering weights or lowering down into a squat or push-up position.”
Christine also goes on to write about the five myths associate with DOMS. The article goes into deep detail, and for all of us it’s a good read, and helps us to understand what the heck is going on, as well as keep us on track to stay in the gym.
Why did I write about this? Because I always get sore, especially on leg day. Soreness can be extremely disappointing to novices when they hurt. It discourages them, AND advocates, from continuing. As you push past the soreness, and that’s exactly what it is – soreness, you’ll get better AND stronger.
This is an excellent article. When you give yourself the gift of knowledge it can make the difference in what you choose to do and help you do it wisely.
Just an update: My Trainer Randy shared an article regarding DOMS and legs. It’s from the Fitness & Muscle online site “Faster Muscle Recovery – to minimize leg soreness and maximize recovery, start pedaling!” Yesterday I did a “Bodypump” round which works your entire muscle system (high reps, low weights), that included squats in variations – as best that I can do. I rode the bike for 20 minutes at 80 rpms, not killing myself. My knees were sore later, but that overall soreness in the legs was minimized. Of course this morning I feel it in my shoulders and arms. Working up a sweat didn’t kill anyone, intentionally.