What is DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)?

what-is-domsDoing Focus T25 for the past 14 weeks, I had not experienced DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) in a while.  At least not much.  The program is based much more on cardio and low weight/high reps resistance training.  This is all good, and super effective… I even got down to the lowest body fat percentage I have ever been at.

But this last week, I started weight training again with Body Beast… and having trouble standing up, using my arms, and rolling over in bed.  Weight lifting brings on DOMS (What is DOMS you ask?) and it has been wicked for a week now.  I will explain…

What is DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)?

A couple of things about DOMS:

  1. DOMS does not occur during or immediately after a workout.  If you have pain during or right after a workout… then I am leaning towards an injury of some sort.  If this is the case, please take the appropriate measures depending on the extent of the pain (RICE and/or see your doctor).
  2. DOMS is not that really tired, heavy, and shaky feeling your muscles have right after a workout.  This happens when the muscles are completely exhausted.  This IS a sign that you had a great workout and the DOMS check is in the mail.  Pat yourself on the back (if you can even lift your arm to do so) because you just had an effective workout.
  3. What is DOMS?  Well, DOMS does set in 12 to 24 hours after a workout.  The soreness will be around the stressed muscles and connective tissue and while sometimes rather severe, should not be “sharp” pain.  DOMS pain is characterized by a dull ache.  You will also see reduced flexibility (temporarily) and movement in general will hurt.  Typically this pain will reside within 72 hours, though I personally have had it for up to 4-5 days in very extreme cases.

Once you are sure that you are experiencing what is DOMS, I suggest several things:

  1. Do not stop your regularly scheduled workouts.  As long as you know you are experiencing DOMS and not injury, you need to continue your workouts.  In fact, working out with DOMS will help to loosen up the muscle and relieve some of the stiffness and pain.
  2. Do allow yourself to take ibuprofen if needed to deal with any pain.  I personally don’t, because I like actually feeling the muscle soreness… knowing that my muscles are repairing themselves stronger than ever before.
  3. Do sleep in a cool room at night.  Your body will be in overdrive while it repairs the muscle fibers… and this means body heat.  You are burning calories like crazy while you sleep and your body is a hive of activity.  A cool room will help you sleep better and help the repair process along…  so you will feel better, sooner.
  4. Do consider a recovery drink of some sort.  I personally use P90X Result & Recovery Drink or Shakeology to give my muscles what they need right after a workout… both replenishing energy stores and speeding up the rebuilding process.  Whatever you use, you need a quick shot of glucose, a little protein, and maybe even creatine.

What is DOMS?

DOMS occurs when you work out hard enough (especially with weights) that you create micro-tears in the muscle fibers.  These micro tears result in soreness, but eventually also result in stronger muscles once the muscle rebuilds.  Optimal workouts, sleep, and nutrition will both speed up the process and give you better results.

Embrace DOMS!  If you experience it, it means your workouts are effective!

What is DOMS?  It’s you getting stronger.

Ryan GillespieRyan Gillespie
P90X Certified Trainer / Diamond Beachbody Coach

I currently live in sunny San Diego California and work with people around the country and Internationally on their health and fitness goals. Join my Free Beachbody Team, follow me on Facebook, or friend me on Facebook to join my Free Accountability and Support group. Start today!

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One Response to “What is DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)?”

  1. Think I am experiencing the “old” persons form of DOMS. Have been noticing post workout soreness that hasn’t happened for some time. Also, had to down play my workout a little due to shoulder problems (both). A lot pf poping and snapping when I move. Shakeology, sleep and Advil!

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