DOMS How to treat it

DOMS - Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness: Part 2

How can you effectively treat it?

DOMS - Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness: Part 2

How can you effectively treat it?
👆Watch the video above 👆
Or read the post below in 5 minutes

This is part 2 in the quick series for how to reduce and recover as quickly as possible from DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

In the previous article, we learned what doesn't cause DOMS. Namely, the pseudoscience/brosience reasons for people experiencing DOMS which are often given by fitness enthusiasts who may not know any better.

Today, we'll learn what you can do to prevent DOMS from causing you to miss your workouts in the gym with some effective recovery techniques.

Let's get started!

Is DOMS present in everyone who exercises?

Is it just part of the deal when you set out on the path to creating your ideal body shape? Will you forever be bound to a life of agony anytime you get up from your chair or bend to pick something up? Are gym rats eternally in pain?

Of course not. Your body adapts to the pain by eventually reducing the inflammatory response, improving and strengthening the muscle fibers and their contractions, and dulling the sensation of pain produced from excessively stimulated pain receptors.

The most interesting findings concerning DOMS is what seems to be the most efficient way of quickly reducing the symptoms.

What’s the most efficient way of recovering from DOMS?

Rest doesn’t help, or at least it doesn’t accelerate the recovery process. Three to four days is the normal amount of time required for the pain to go away if a person only rests.

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Those NBA ice baths don’t seem to help either, thankfully, although they have anecdotal followers.

A massage, a hot bath, or a trip to the sauna may reduce your symptoms slightly, but the amount of reduction reportedly experienced is relatively small.

Anti-inflammatory medication or consuming curcumin from turmeric can help bring down the inflammation response, but this helps minimally with the overall soreness.

Staying hydrated and adequate nutrition have also shown reduced symptoms of DOMS to some degree, but not the amount of time a person experiences those symptoms.

As it turns out...

The best way to reduce the horrible sensation you feel after exercise and recover from the pain that made you never want to see another dumbbell again... is to get back to the gym and do the same exercises all over again.

The more you exercise a muscle, the faster it responds and adapts to each bout of exercise. In fact, we call this the “Repeated bout effect.” Exercise studies have proven, time and time again, that the more frequently you exercise a muscle, especially during the initial phase while adopting an exercise routine, the faster your recovery and, as a result, the shorter amount of time you spend in the agony of DOMS.

It goes without saying, of course, that this does not apply if you are exerting yourself so hard you run yourself into the ground every workout. If you exercise at a sustainable intensity, however, returning to the gym shortly after and putting your sore muscles through controlled, loaded movements will significantly reduce your soreness symptoms.

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The increased frequency doesn’t mean that if your legs are unbearably sore, you must do heavy squats right away. But you could jump on an elliptical machine or perform some bodyweight squats.

Over the weeks and months, your body will become more accustomed to exercise, and the soreness you experienced at the start of your journey will seem a distant memory.

The secret is not to let the first few weeks of discomfort hold you back from getting back to the gym and doing your workouts.

I’ve seen too many people make a promise to themselves that they will get back in shape, only to wind up lying on their couch in pain the following week because they overdid it their first day in the gym.

The better way forward, the more sustainable way, is to progress yourself over several weeks and months gradually.

If you haven’t been to the gym for a while, then it’s not going to matter how much weight you lift or how hard you work as you are going to be sore either way. However, how debilitating that soreness is will depend on if you overdid it or not.

So ask yourself, what’s better?

Utterly destroying yourself the first day and missing the next three weeks of workouts because you were too sore and stiff to go back.

MILO WAS A 6 TIME OLYMPIC CHAMPION IN ANCIENT GREECE. HE IS MOST FAMOUS FOR A MYTH THAT HE WAS ABLE TO LIFT A FULL GROWN BULL OVER HIS SHOULDERS! HE ACCOMPLISHED THIS BY STARTING IN CHILDHOOD, LIFTING AND CARRYING A NEWBORN CALF AND REPEATING THE FEAT DAILY AS IT GREW TO MATURITY. THIS IS THE SAME FITNESS CONCEPT WE KNOW TODAY AS "PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD".

Or should you start off at a manageable intensity, then slowly increasing your effort over three weeks but having the strength and energy to complete each workout?

You aren’t going to create a six-pack in one workout, so take your time, do your workouts with deliberate, sustainable effort, and be conscious of what your body is saying to you.

Slow and steady wins the race. There is nothing in the world you can’t achieve so long as you possess tenacity.

As the great Henry Rollins once said...

“I don’t have talent. I have tenacity.”

As always, thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this post! I hope you got something from it!

If you did enjoy it please feel free to share it with a friend who you think would also enjoy it. Or if you have any questions feel free to leave your questions below in a comment.

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Taylor Patterson

Certified Personal Trainer
Certified Nutrition Coach
Certified Behaviour Change Specialist

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