Train Hard : DOMS – the what, when, where and why!

14 Feb

What?

As mentioned before, DOMS is the muscle pain/soreness/stiffness that is felt between 24 and 48 hours after a strenuous workout.

Most often felt when you being a new program, change a routine or dramatically increase the duration or intensity of exercise. This also applies if you have been resting, or simply not exercising for a period of time.

It is due to microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. The amount of soreness depends on how hard, how long and what type of exercise you do. Generally speaking, any movement or exercise that your body is not used to can leads to DOMS, however ECCENTRIC muscle contractions seem to cause the most soreness. (I will explain this further later – keep your eyes peeled for ECCENTRIC vs CONCENTRIC Contractions)

When?

Generally, between 24 and 48 hours post exercise.

Not to be confused with acute pain felt immediately during or after exercise – this would be an injury such as a strain or sprain that occurs during activity and can cause swelling. In this case, rest should be taken immediately, and follow the RICE procedure to avoid causing further injury.

Where?

In the muscles 🙂

 

And lastly, Why?

DOMS is the body’s way of adapting to movement.

Although often alarming and distressing for those new to exercise – this is one of the most common reasons for the January gym-goers to stop going! – it is simply the muscles response to unusual exertion in an attempt to lead to greater stamina and strength as the muscles recover and build. Also known as HYPERTROPHY.

So, despite the pain and trauma it causes people, DOMS is actually a good sign of the body working, and developing.  It’s getting stronger and adapting to change.

This is where the phrase you often hear ‘No Pain, No Gain’ comes from. However please make sure that the pain is not felt during the exercise – as I have mentioned before – as this is more likely to be injury, and requiring medical attention.

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