What is DOMS?
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS, occurs a day or two after you have completed a tough strength training session. It’s exercise-related pain that develops after excessive and unaccustomed exercise.
It is particularly prevalent if exercise has an eccentric component. Eccentric exercise is an exercise where the muscles are contracting while lengthening (downhill running, long distance running, plyometric exercises, and landing drills).
The soreness comes from myofibril tears (muscle strains). The microtrauma results in an inflammatory response with intramuscular fluid and electrolyte shifts. This is normal and totally ok as your body will take this inflammation and rebuild the muscle stronger than it was before!
Typically you’ll feel the most sore two days after a session. During this time it is important to not simply stop all training or movement, but rather keep moving and preferably working out. The good news is that once you start moving your sore muscles they will actually start to feel less sore.
DOMS isn’t a bad thing. It’s your body dealing with the inflammation and muscle damage that occurred during your workout. Your body is trying to heal and recover stronger than ever.
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However, you should note that soreness is not an indicator of a quality workout. You can get sore from throwing your back out while moving something heavy around your house… and that’s not a good workout.
Most soreness occurs in the beginning of a new program.
If you’re new to weight training, or if you’ve taken some time off and are starting back up again, you will most likely experience muscle soreness a couple of days after training. Typically, the most sore you’ll be is 2 days after the initial workout.
Most cases of DOMS will resolve within 1-3 days. Hang in there! Your workouts will get better and you will be less sore the more you do them.