If you train you are likely at some point to experience muscle soreness. In this article I outline what it is, why it occurs and ways to treat it.
What is Muscle Soreness? Muscle soreness after working out is known as DOMS; Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness. While it does not present after every workout most people will experience it at some time during their training life in varying degrees of discomfort or pain.
Why it occurs? Soreness occurs because of a reaction by the muscles to your training. Training causes micro tears in the muscle fibers causing pain and discomfort whilst they repair. T-Nations, Brad Schoenfeld outlines the DOMS process;
"Micro-tears occur and allow calcium to escape from the muscles, disrupting their intracellular balance and causing further injury to the fibers.
Various proteins then interact with the free nerve endings surrounding the damaged fibers, resulting in localized pain and stiffness. Symptoms can be exacerbated by swelling within muscle fibers, which exerts pressure on sensory receptors"
More... Soreness can develop typically 24 - 48 hours after a workout and can last for several days, Levels of soreness can range from mild discomfort to severe pain.
No Pain DOES NOT MEAN No Gain, soreness does not mean that you have had a good or a bad workout or that your workout was more or less effective. The presence and degree of soreness depends on a number of variables such as; frequency of training, concentric movements versus eccentric, nutritional levels, introduction of new exercises or techniques, the list goes on.
Don't let DOMS put you off shaking things up, challenging the body is the best way to keep progressing !
Now we know why we experience DOMS, here are some tried and tested methods to help reduce the discomfort of DOMS:
Active Recovery: Complete exercises focusing on the sore muscle areas using a lighter weight or body weight only, partial range of motion for between 20 - 50 repetitions by 2 sets. This will flush the blood through the muscles. Getting the blood to surge through the damage muscle fibers will promote healing.
Protein promotes recovery: Increase your intake of protein in your diet during this time, eat more lean chicken, fish to fuel the muscle repair process. If you are taking protein supplements take it post workout. altering your macros should be aligned with your over all eating plan.
Walk through it: Getting a fast walk in, enough to elevate the heart and heat the body helps promote the circulation of the blood around the body encouraging it through your entire system which is another mechanism for flushing blood through the body. Promoting the circulation of nutrients and removal of waste from the body.
Work out again: After 48 hours the recovery process should be advanced however the soreness may continue. Working out again helps flush the blood through the body but also sends signals to through the body recognising the body is working harder. Research shows that a higher frequency of training will reduce the onset of DOMS. According to the Poliquin Group "A higher training frequency in the range of 3 times per week per muscle group can decrease soreness because the muscles get conditioned to hard training."
Nutrition: Ensure you are getting enough good quality protein and carbs. Try including some anti-inflammatory fruits such as blueberries. Additionally anti-toxin foods will also help clear the waste from training from your system and promote the repair process.
Water it down: Staying hydrated, and using water to flush out the waste in the body will support detox and promote faster recovery.
Ice pack: Using an Ice pack will help reduce the inflammation in the muscles but will not aid recovery.
Massage and foam rolling: Will not promote the repair process but will provide short term relief.
Epsom Salt bath: The anti-inflammatory benefits from bathing with Epsom salts is another option to provide short term relief.
About NSAIDs .. There is mixed information about the use of NSAIDs drugs, it may ease pain relief but may also inhibit gains and the repair process through the numbing effect on the body.
If you found this article useful please leave some comments and spread the word by sharing !
Check out our FaceBook page and Website for more articles and tips on Health & Fitness and for information about our classes and personal training services.