Or in other words, delayed onset muscle soreness. My husband has been bitching about this all week so it’s on my mind . If you don’t know what this is, DOMS is the soreness and stiffness you get after a great workout. What people might not realize though is how much DOMS can really affect your mind and body. I notice this the most when I’ve had a really taxing leg workout. For several days my legs will be stiff and sore, but I might even feel a lack of overall energy. By the time Friday rolls around and I’ve had several days of weight training, my whole body feels out of commission. It doesn’t matter how many days or years you’ve been training, or how fit you are, you’re probably going to experience DOMS quite often if you regularly do strenuous cardio, plyometrics, and/or resistance training.
Unfortunately, DOMS can be difficult to avoid completely, BUT there are some things you can do to help prevent extreme bouts of DOMS and maybe even help to relieve DOMS.
WARM-UP! It’s always best to do some sort of a warm-up before you begin your workout. There are two types of warm-ups you can do, and for best results I recommend that you utilize both. If you’ve only been training for a short period of time, it might be more important for you to have a longer warm-up to reduce your symptoms of DOMS. The two different types of warm-ups you can do are general and specific. General warm-ups raise the temperature of your body and muscles. An example of this is light cardio. This could be walking, jogging, spending a few minutes on the elliptical, jumping jacks, jumping rope….whatever you like. The purpose is to simply warm up your body. Specific warm-ups focus primarily on the muscles that you might be using during your workout and often mimic movements that you’ll be doing in your workout. Those who do resistance training often incorporate light weights in preparation for pushing or pulling some serious iron. Light stretching before your workout can be helpful as well. I, for instance, like to stretch my hip-flexors before a leg workout. I think it’s best to do light stretching after a general warm-up though.
If you find yourself experiencing DOMS, there are some things you can do to help relieve your symptoms a bit. Cooling down after a workout with gentle stretching or even some light cardio, often helps me with my DOMS. There’s a common phrase I hear that says “Motion is Lotion.” I believe it. I’ve also tried foam rolling on my legs, and while it may hurt while I’m doing it, I find that it does help a little bit. It’s essentially a firm massage for your muscles. Here’s a video depicting a few great foam rolling exercises.
If you’re experiencing some pretty serious DOMS, you can always try taking some Ibuprofen or aspirin, but I only do this if I’m in some major pain and find myself waddling to and fro. Icing and heating your muscles or even taking warms baths might help to relieve some pain as well. I personally think, and I believe many would agree with me, that REST is going to be your absolute best treatment for DOMS. It’s during rest that your muscles heal and grow. So be sure to get those zzzzz’s!