Have you ever wondered why your muscles aren’t sore immediately after a workout? You workout and feel great after. Then, a few days later you’re extremely sore. I know I experience this a lot especially with weight training. This late-reaction soreness is called DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness. If you’re new to training, or have done a new intense exercise, you are likely to experience DOMS.
Why DOMS Happens
Delayed onset muscle soreness happens when your body is introduced to a new movement. Especially with weight training, DOMS is likely to occur. There is a part in every movement when the muscle is lengthening. During this phase, little micro-tears are created in the working muscle. These micro-tears are why your muscle is sore. They are also the reason your muscles grow when you continue lifting heavier. However, after working out for long periods of time DOMS will lessen as the body has created a “protective” effect.
How to Lessen DOMS Symptoms
- If you’re new to training: start off light
- Stretch before and after your workout
- Can use ice or a heating pad to alleviate soreness
- Use a massage gun
Don’t Let DOMS Stop You
Being sore for multiple days might discourage a person from wanting to workout again. Don’t let that be you! When strength training alternate the muscles you work each day. Try to leave 48-72 hours in between working the same muscle group. This will allow your body to rest and lessen DOMS in the future.
Written by GUADS staff member Emily with contributions from acsm.org