What is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness?
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) refers to small micro tears and changes within the muscle that occur following exercise. Typically after a heavy bout of exercise, we may develop a dull muscle ache for around 3 days afterwards. This type of soreness often peaks in intensity 48-72 hours afterwards.
When will I get it?
We are more likely to experience DOMS when we haven’t exercised in a while, when starting a new activity or after having done quite an intense workout. Eccentric focused exercise (slowly lowering a weight) tends to promote more DOMS.
Should I be worried?
DOMS is a normal process and it usually resolves on its own within 72 hours. Think of it as your muscles remodelling and strengthening themselves to handle the load better next time. Generally, next time we exercise, we are less likely to get it to the same degree.
How do I manage it?
There is some evidence that stretching can promote recovery and reduce the intensity of DOMS. It is best to stretch after the workout. Staggering your return to exercise and gradually building up your intensity over time is the best strategy, as it will condition your body to its new challenges.
Do I need to get DOMs to get stronger?
You do not need to get DOMs. The goal of strength training is to reach fatigue with a limited number of repetitions/sets (typically less than 15 repetitions). You do not need to be in pain!
If you have any further questions, please ask one of our physiotherapists for advice.