DOMS – The ever present pain in the ass, or whatever part of your body it happen to attach itself too.
Most of us will have to deal with at some stage or another. People new to any sort of training program will know exactly what I’m talking about. Not used to lifting weights? Do a hard session and try jumping out of bed the following morning and you’ll never guess what? That pain is shouting from every angle of your body. Yup, welcome to DOMSville, population – you!! But I’m getting a little ahead of myself so lets go back to the beginning.
What the hell is this thing I hear you ask? Well, DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness. It is in it’s simplest form just that, a pain you cause in training that is delayed until you start to recover from the training session.
It’s said to be caused by the accumulated waste products of exercise, and microscopic tears in muscle fibers while you exercise. It is counter intuitive to consciously cause your pain but you actually want this to happen. Remember the saying “what doesn’t kill me makes me stringer “? Couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to DOMS.
You see when your muscles fibers tear in this way they come back better and stronger. This is what actually gives you the ability to do more “work” be it lift heavier or do a couple of more reps.
It’s the SAIDS principle at play – specific adaptation to imposed demands. You get better at what you do.
In general this is a good pain, an awesome pain, the pain you want to have, but it feels a little strange at first. I’ve had the DOMS so bad a couple of times I could have sworn I’d never walk again.
Typically it feels like you’re really (and I mean really) stiff/tight and you feel like you can only move inside a certain range of motion. And god forbid you should go outside this range of motion, because then… BAM !!!!!! Pain…..
BUT, the more familiar you are with this sensation the more you’ll be able to differentiate between “good pain” vs “bad pain”. It’s kind of easy to confuse the two. It all comes down to knowing your body and getting used to the different types of sensations.
For me, the good pain (DOMS)always feels more like a low throbbing feeling that is tearing me apart compared to bad pain (injury) of sharp stabbing hot pain, but like I said it’s different strokes for different folks. So be sure and feel it out until you get used to it.
I should note, DOMS is not an excuse to hide under your bed covers waiting for them to go away. In fact you should be doing be doing the opposite. The more you move the quicker and better your body will recover from them.
There are a couple of thing you can do to “lessen” the effect.
sleep, good solid 8 hours.
a good source of protein straight after training. You should be looking at about 1 gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight per day (with approx. 20% of that coming post workout)
Stretch it out (all of you!!! frequently!!). Hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and chest, everywhere. All of these can be done at home so there is no excuse. This will save your ass at some stage I guarantee it.
But here’s the kicker.
If the DOMS go away, are you still pushing yourself hard enough? In short, they’ll never really fully disappear. But you shouldn’t always seek out the feeling of being crippled either.
DOMS, like everything else in the gym is a grey area – just because you’re sore doesn’t mean you’re making progress. “Progress” is seeing your strength increase, your body comp improve and your fitness get better. It’s not just being sore after a workout.
Sure, if you constantly push yourself then that effort will always leave you a little bit tender. And that’s ok. It might sound a bit strange, but after a while you’re going to miss that crippling DOMS pain. It almost feels like a reward for all the work you’ve just put in…
Today’s blog post was brought to you by Darragh McCarthy and is the first of many you’re going to be seeing from him!
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