This is the fourth in a series of articles intended to expose our readers to pertinent information regarding their fitness efforts. It is produced mainly on the basis of research done by Rodriguez “Rodja” Constantine, owner of REPTS (Registered Exercise Professionals & Therapists). Rodja has over 20 years experience in the field.
DELAYED ONSET MUSCLE SORENESS – DOMS – The “After Burn”
WHAT IS IT? Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, commonly called DOMS, is described as muscle pain, soreness or stiffness that usually occurs 24 to 48 hours after working out. It generally peaks around the 24 hour mark and can last for 3-4 and in some severe cases even days after.
CA– USES: According to research, the causes are not fully understood but are theorized to be due to small micro-tears of the muscle fibres and are thought to be related to certain types of muscle contractions. It was once thought that the pain was due to latent lactic acid build-up in the muscles, which is completely untrue. The severity of the pain is not necessarily related to the severity of muscle damage but it does depend to a large extent on the type of exercise, the duration and the intensity. It is understood that eccentric muscle contractions can cause the most severe soreness.
An eccentric muscle contraction is a type of muscle activation that increases tension on a muscle as it lengthens. Eccentric contractions typically occur when a muscle opposes a stronger force, which causes the muscle to lengthen as it contracts. Common exercises that cause an eccentric contraction include going down stairs, running downhill, lowering weights and the downward motion of squats, push-ups or pull ups.
TREATMENT: Depending on the level of soreness, working out the next day is ok and can actually help relieve the stiffness. This might be seen as part of that whole “no pain, no gain” school of thought. However, you should take it easy and not overdo it especially with leg exercises. Warm up well beforehand and perform some light sets before the real sets. Stretching can also be very beneficial in relieving the soreness. I can’t stress warming up and stretching enough as I haven’t seen much of these two activities during my days in the local gyms. And remember that you don’t have for DOMS to occur, as both warming up and stretching can help to reduce the duration of its occurrence. For severe soreness, icing and massage the affected areas can also help. You can also just wait it out as it will simply go away after a few days.
PREVENTION: Most people experience some level of DOMS after beginning a workout programme, or performing an activity that they have not participated in for a while, as it is a common response to increased levels of exertion. It can be avoided by taking it very gradual when beginning a programme and progressing with very small increments. As the body adapts to exercise so too it should adapt to the response to increases in exertion levels. Contrary to popular belief once you have been working out for a few weeks you should not continue to experience DOMS after your workouts. The old saying of “no pain, no gain” does not hold true. If you completely change your programme and start something very different then you will experience a certain amount of soreness but not the same levels as when you first began your programme.
Not feeling any soreness after working out does not mean you are not working out hard enough or that you have plateaued. It just means that you have both adapted to this level of exertion and also your body has adapted to the pain response related to exertion. It is ok not to feel stiff or sore after working out. Just take it as a sign that you’re getting stronger and fitter and fitter…
In the meantime here’s a fitness programme to help you shed unwanted pounds, trim excess body fat, and sculpt a lean body. Personalized programmes are also available for a nominal fee.
Rodriguez”Rodja” Constantine is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Consultant and owner of REPTS ( Registered Exercise Professionals & Therapists), a Personal Training Studio located in the Richard Frederick Building in Castries and in Rodney Bay opposite RJ Clarke. Rodja has over 20 years fitness experience and through REPTS offers upgradeable fitness packages (Personal and small Group Training, Body Analysis, Nutrition Counselling and Planning, NutriCare, FREE Cardio only Gym Membership, Physi-Fitness, and etc.) for one affordable monthly fee. Rodja also designs long term fitness plans and short term workout routines for use at home, your current gym, or when travelling. We invite you to visit REPTS for a free consultation and a tailored programme that will best help you achieve your fitness goal. You may call at anytime at 758-722-3763 during business hours (4:30a.m. – 10:00p.m.) to schedule a FREE consultation and trial session. . Subscribe to our website at reptsfitness.com or follow repts on facebook at facebook.com/repts.fitness. Call for details.