Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) = hell on earth. Also called muscle fever, this is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise; the unfair payback we get after so diligently keeping to our gym sessions. We ask personal trainer Damian Hall to tell us how to avoid the DOMS agony.
The dreaded DOMS. This is something I enjoy in a weird ‘I like to know I’ve hit my muscle groups hard the day before’ kind of way! Unfortunately, there is no way to completely avoid them, but the most effective method when it comes to at least dulling the pain is to stay conditioned, i.e., don’t stop training. Because once your body becomes conditioned to resistance training and exercise, in general, it will be less inclined to be sore! However, naturally, it isn’t possible to continuously keep training as we all have to take a break from our usual exercise regime at some stage, be it through sickness, holidays, injury or just generally needing some downtime.
Here are my top five strategies to help you reduce your DOMS:
Before training, warm up and be sure to stretch well after training. And by this, I mean spending ten minutes stretching – really stretching – not a quick hamstring stretch before jumping in your car!
Use Magnesium Therapy
Either in tablet form or an Epsom Salt (hot) bath form after a workout to ease those aching arms and legs. The heat acts as an analgesic and soothes tired muscles. It is important to try and stretch your relaxed muscles afterwards though as they are primed for this following immersion in the warm water.
This can be a useful way of reducing DOMS. Compressing the muscle reduces inflammation and thus increases recovery by reducing soreness.
Reduce acidity in the body through a clean diet; this can also combat muscle soreness.
Muscles perform optimally when they are hydrated. If yours are dehydrated, this will more likely cause more soreness.