Preview: In this article we discuss Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness & what you can do to optimize recovery post workout.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
Put simply: DOMS is a side effect of the repair process that is initiated in response to microscopic trauma accumulated through exercise. Delayed muscle soreness begins to develop 12-24 hours following intense exercise and may produce the greatest discomfort to the lifter between 24-72 hours post workout.
The severity of muscle soreness largely depends on on what type of force is applied to the muscle, the intensity of the force application & duration of stress placed on the musculoskeletal system.
Exercise that generates the greatest severity of muscle soreness often occurs when load is applied to a muscle that is forced too lengthened through full range of motion and challenged to or near failure.
Everyone is susceptible to muscle soreness irregardless of their activity level or the type of activity they are performing. However, the intensity of muscle soreness is drastically reduced after the person has recovered and adapted to the stress demands placed on their bodily system.
How DOMS Will Effect You
Of course, degrees of muscle soreness is the most common characteristic of Delayed onset Muscle Soreness. However, there is a few other symptoms a lifter will experience following intense exercise. DOMS may also include:
Temporary Reduction of Joint Mobility
Temporary Reduction of Force Production
Temporary Alteration Of Muscle Pattern Recruitment & Sequencing
Elevated Creatine Kinase Enzyme In Blood, signalling muscle protein breakdown
Recovering From Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
To be clear, the soreness a person experiences post exercise is a demonstration that the internal bodily recovery mechanisms have already been initiated. To help alleviate the severity of muscle soreness and to restore the maximal function of the muscles as rapidly as possible consider these ideas.
"PUT NUTRIENTS IN" BEFORE ENGAGING IN STRENUOUS ACTIVITY
Our bodies require nutrition building blocks in the form of Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals & Fluids. These nutrients must already be present in the body before engaging in physical activity because they are the means by which our bodily systems rely on to regenerate damaged cells. It stands to reason that a person engaging in strenuous physical activity should therefor develop the habit of eating a well balanced diet & hydrating well before workouts.
DECREASE TRAINING INTENSITY
This is especially important for individuals that are new to the stress demands generated by the activity. Here is a great question everyone should ask themselves before engaging in strenuous activity: "What is the minimal effect dosage required to create an adaptation response?" Remember, you can always add a little bit more next time.
This may actually be counterintuitive, however, exercise is an effective means of alleviating muscle pain. And this is why: Strenuous exercise forces the muscle to shorten (contract) forcibly. For some time after exercise has been completed, the muscles remain in a shortened position. Until the muscle has restored its natural length, nutrients shuttled to the muscle will be limited and recovery will be retarded.
LIGHT EXERCISE performed with low intensity, coupled with exploration of full range of motion (aka stretching) is the means by which shortened muscles are restored to lengthened positions. This is how you recovery and adapt quickly.
Muscle Soreness should not sideline you from performing physical activity. Prepare your body in advance for the rigours of physical activity, decrease the training intensity & slowly progress the stress you put your body under. If you experience delayed onset of muscle soreness ... get moving! Stretch. And remember, the more often you subject your body to the minimal effective dosage, the more often your body will recover and adapt stronger.