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We’ve all been there. The day after a killer leg session and you can’t sit on the toilet because you’re in that much pain. This pain that makes you reconsider ever going to the gym again is known as DOMS. Today we’re looking at what causes DOMS and also sharing some top tips to help you deal with them.
What is DOMS?
First things first, DOMS (or delayed onset muscle soreness) is not necessarily a bad thing. Overloading your muscles causes tiny tears that are patched up with protein fibres. The repairing process hurts but it’s also this that makes your muscles bigger. No pain, no gain.
DOMS is basically a sign that you’ve done a good job, pushed yourself and are on your way to building a stronger body. They might not be a bad sign, but that doesn’t mean you want to be struggling to have a wee. Luckily there are some ways you can make it a little easier for yourself.
Switch Up Your Programme
If you’re always training the same muscle group, then your muscles don’t have the time to recover, which is going to seriously slow down the gains. Make sure you’re mixing up what body parts you’re training, so you’re giving your muscles time to recover and make the gains.
Pre-empt the pain
You don’t have to wait until it’s too late to do something about your DOMS. If you stretch and ensure that you’re warming up correctly, you can still smash your session without the crippling aftermath. Of course, this is only the case if it’s your usual workout – if you’re mixing things up or have had a while off we’re sorry, but you’re destined for DOMS.
Eating the right foods is imperative to help with DOMS. Foods that are high in protein, such as eggs, assist with tissue repair and are therefore beneficial for muscle recovery. Berries can also help with recovery and boost energy levels. Why not try a berry smoothie with a scoop of protein powder to get the best of both worlds?
Rub and roll
It might hurt while you’re doing it, but foam rolling helps to get rid of adhesions in your muscles and increases blood flow, therefore speeding up the recovery process and helping you to avoid DOMS. Don’t fancy self-myofascial release? Book in for a massage to not only help build stronger but also healthier muscles.
Just keep moving
Last but not least, just keep moving. I know hitting the gym when you can’t even lift your arms above your head without being in agony is probably the last thing on your mind. However, a gentle gym session or even just a quick at home workout can help to get rid of DOMS by increasing the blood flow to the muscle. Don’t overdo it (refer back to our first point) but don’t use DOMS as an excuse to sit on the sofa all day.
How do you deal with the DOMS? Grin and bear it or soak in a hot bath feeling sorry for yourself? Let us know in the comments.