Why Do You Have Muscle Soreness | Recovery Tips

Muscle soreness and How to Relieve Muscle Pain

So you haven’t been to the gym in a while or it’s your first time going but nonetheless, you’ve summoned the willpower to go! You’ve made the conscious decision to change your lifestyle and you’re super hyped to start your new workout regime.

You decide to head straight to the weights section and start repping out the heaviest weights possible. Soon your muscles begin to ache and you can’t lift anymore. However, after a couple of minutes, the ache goes away and your back at it but little do you know the worst is yet to come!

What Causes Muscle Soreness

There are two main types of muscle soreness, the 1st is due to vigorous and high-intensity exercise, the 2nd is to do with tearing of the muscle during the workout. (This is a good thing!)

Acute Muscle Soreness

Acute muscle soreness happens when you undergo vigour and intense exercise. This type of exercise results in the buildup of chemicals and fluids (lactic acid being one) in the muscle tissues. Due to the build of substances, the muscles lose power, endurance and becomes sore. The soreness, however, subsides after a couple of minutes rest (hence acute).

Approximately 8 hours post-workout your muscles maybe start to feel funky, either being exceptionally tight, tired or spasm. This is however just the start and the real soreness is yet to come…

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

DOMS exhibit themselves anywhere from 24 – 48 hours after your workout and causes incredible muscle soreness, to the point where it is sore to even move. DOMS are a familiar feeling to most regular gym goers and are normally a sign of a good session.

However, if you are a newbie to the gym, DOMS can be an incredibly painful and undesirable side effect of working out and even potentially causing you to quit.

What Causes DOMS

The main cause of DOMS is due to eccentric contraction, or when a muscle moves from its contracted to relaxed state whilst under tension. Although this is the cause of DOMS, the reason for the pain from them is actually unknown. The current theory is that they are caused by small tears in the muscle on a cellular level.

The muscles then send nerve signals to the brain alerting of the tears, this results in calcium build up in the muscles. The build of calcium causes inflammation of the muscle and results in pain.

How to Cure DOMS

Now I’m afraid there is no magical cure for DOMS. If you are a newbie to the gym the intensity of the DOMS will subside the more you workout.

Although no direct cure, there is a list of supplements and products which can be consumed to aid in relieving DOMS.

Taking a supplement of the amino acid L-Glutamine helped to relieve the effects of DOMS and is now commonly found in the form of BCAAs. Another noteworthy supplement is caffeine, taken prior to your workout would assist in relieving DOMS for the following days.

Other products shown to relieve DOMS are:

  • Creatine
  • Fish Oil
  • Taurine
  • Citrulline malate

How to avoid DOMS

The easiest way to avoid or minimise DOMS is to ease into a new program or workout regime. Ensuring you are slowly progressing with the weight and volume on specific exercise will allow your muscles to adjust. Starting with a lighter weight is a great way to prepare your muscles!

Ensuring to warm up properly and stretching prior to and post exercise will help your muscles prepare themselves and allow them to recover. Foam rolling has also shown to significantly reduce DOMS in the form of Self Myofascial Release!

The last thing on the list is plenty of sleep! Sleep is the primary time that the body undergoes grow and repair. Not getting enough rest can cause DOMS to last longer than necessary as well as effect recovery and performance.

Follow the advice in this article and soon DOMS will be a thing of the past!

Most people want to avoid pain, and discipline is usually painful – John C. Maxwell

If you’ve got any other questions about DOMS or any suggestions on how to relieve them then please comment below or hit me up on social media!