DOMS.  Only your friends think it’s funny!

Ok, picture this… You love the training routine that you’re on, but you start to plateau.  So you change it up a bit.  Or, you just get back from a happy fun filled vacation and start your exercise routine back up.

Everything is going perfect!  You feel great to be back exercising (OK, that might be a stretch for some).  You haven’t lost any strength and people are commenting on how good you look.  You think it’s just the tan, but who cares, it’s a compliment right.

You finish the workout, go have your after workout snack.  Then just before you’re heading for bed, it happens… your legs start to stiffen up, your biceps are curling up like coil springs.  You finally figure out what those bars are for in the large bathroom stalls.

Staying still in that you have a sit down job, isn’t going to be easy.  Knowing that the moment you have to get up to go for coffee or heaven forbid, the bathroom.  You’re going to be walking like you just learned how to be a biped.

Enter the acronym DOMS!  Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, something everyone (I’m sure) who has exercised has experienced.  Even if you’ve only been cleaning your house or the eve trough.  You could experience DOMS. 

Contrary to what some believe, it’s not lactic acid.  That dissipates moments after you stop exercising. 

The feeling of pain you get from DOMS is because of the micro tears in your muscle and connective tissue.  It’s from stressing the muscle beyond what it’s used to.  You’ll feel more pain when using eccentric training (lowering of the weight/negatives) then concentric (raising of the weight).  This is due mainly because you can use more resistance for negative training and therefore cause more damage.

Even if you don’t do negative training, just increasing the intensity will suffice.  You might not have increased your resistance after you got back from va-cay, but you also lose some recovery ability while away. 

Here are some ways to decrease the feeling of pain after your workout.  These might not completely get rid of the pain, but they will certainly reduce it.

First and foremost, I should mention.  If you still feel pain in a certain area and are scheduled to exercise that area next.  Go for a recovery workout (50% intensity) instead.  Take it easy for this one.  Also, if the pain last for more than 3 days, you might want to see your doctor.  If there is discolouration and/or debilitating pain, go see your doctor.

OK, back to the topic.

Here are a couple of ways that you can reduce the pain of DOMS.  First and most satisfying would be getting a massage.  Even if you do it yourself on a foam roller.  Moving the muscle around and getting fluid into and around the sore area will help healing.  OK, I think I spoke to soon… having an EPSON salt bath might be the best one.  Taking in extra protein and Omega-3s would be the easiest, but the bath is soooooo nice.  Letting the magnesium absorb in and relax the muscles without pressing on them.  Nice!  Remember to keep up the water intake as well.  Staying hydrated is even more important if you’re feeling tight and sluggish.

Just remember that no matter what you decide to do, sleep will help magnify any of these techniques.  Try and get a solid 6-8 hours for the best recovery.  You have to remember that your body recovers and repairs while you sleep, not while you exercise.

So, the bottom line is, take it easy if you’re new to and exercise.  If you’re coming back from a time off exercise or if you’re increasing the intensity, go slow.