WHAT IS DOMS?
Have you felt muscle soreness or pain in your calves, thighs, glutes, arms or shoulders that started several hours after your workout? You may have experienced every fitness enthusiast’s nightmare — DOMS.
DOMS or Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness is muscle pain that typically begins 8 to 12 hours post-workout and peaks between 24 to 72 hours. DOMS can be caused by any intensive exercise such as lifting weights or cycling or running. However, it is triggered by what are called eccentric muscle contractions. Eccentric contractions occur when the muscle is stretching or lengthening under load — for example, the act of lowering the dumbbell back from the lift during bicep curls, or quadriceps contracting during forward lunges. Repetitive eccentric muscle contractions can create microscopic tears in the muscle fibers, leading to inflammation.
CAN DOMS AFFECT ME?
DOMS can affect just about anyone — from elite athletes, to beginners, to people who haven’t worked out in a long time. No matter your level of fitness, DOMS may strike whenever one performs eccentric exercises, or tries a new kind of exercise that the body isn’t used to.
TIPS TO REDUCE DOMS
Recovery is an important part of every workout. Although DOMS can be inevitable after some training sessions, below can help reduce the severity of DOMS:
Research shows that dehydration can increase the symptoms of DOMS. So drink plenty of water during and after your workout.
Slow, controlled stretching techniques after workout can make muscles feel looser, thus reducing any pain that may occur in the future.
After an especially intense workout, applying an ice pack to the sore area for 15 to 20 minutes can be an effective way of reducing swelling and pain.
There is ample research to show that supplementing branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) pre or post work out can be beneficial in alleviating DOMS. BCAAs stimulate muscle protein synthesis, thereby reducing post-workout muscle soreness and shortening recovery time.