DELAYED ONSET MUSCLE SORENESS (DOMS)
What is DOMS? How do you reduce it?
“It just means that you’ve outdone your body’s current capacity to do work, be it intensity, duration or both.” – Matt Perryman, Strength and Conditioning Coach & owner of Myosynthesis
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is generally seen as local pain in a trained muscle resulting from inflicted muscle damage during your lifting session.
DOMS can occur within 12-72 hours after training, depending on the individual. Along with the discomfort comes associated swelling (the muscle almost looks pumped), stiffness in the affected joints and a possible loss of strength and flexibility – creating a reduction in mobility of the muscle. In other words, when you weight train you cause microtrauma, or small tears, to the target muscles. This is essentially an injury and results in inflammation and pain or tenderness. Methods that can cause the most muscle trauma, such as accentuated eccentrics, shock absorption or trying to lift heavy loads, will lead to the most soreness.
Soreness is more than just pain associated with a physical injury to the muscle. Soreness is something the body perceives while the protein is being used to build muscle following training, when the amount of work you did exceeded what your body is used to handling. It also happens when you come back to training after you haven’t trained in a while. You will get more sore than normal and you also gain muscle faster (regained muscle that was lost during the layoff). It can also happen when you switch to a totally different style of training.
A lack of essential nutrients surrounding the workout period can increase soreness by making your body less equipped to resist and handle physical work. Making sure that you are getting enough nutrients is very important if you want to reduce soreness. Here are a few helpful tips:
Top 10 foods to eat to reduce DOMS:
- Blueberries, tart cherries and ark fruit
- Leafy green cruciferous veggies
- High glycemic fruits and starches
- WATER, WATER, WATER
- Cod, salmon and other fish
- Almonds and nuts
- Fermented foods
- Turmeric and ginger
Supplements to take to reduce DOMS:
Fish Oil – This is important because when you are breaking down your muscles, they are becoming inflamed. EPA fish oil will reduce the inflammation significantly.
BCAA – Increases protein synthesis and reduces muscle breakdown. They preserve the integrity of the muscle fibers for less post workout pain.
What you can do to reduce DOMS:
Foam Roll – This is something that should be done every day whether you are feeling sore or not, but especially if you are. Hit the sore muscle directly because it will break up the fascia and reduce the soreness. Keep in mind that it will be very tender and maybe painful but it will be worth it the next day. Use a foam roller before a workout, after, or both!
Massage – This is always a great way to reduce DOMS and a great way to treat yourself!
Mobility work done at the end of a workout is also a good idea. Not stretching, but rather dynamic mobility drills. If you have the time, I recommend moving a few hours after a workout: walking, biking or doing a moderate physical activity to increase blood flow to the muscles. This is especially effective if your blood is loaded with nutrients (magnesium is a good option here) because those nutrients will be shuttled to the muscles requiring them for repair.