You’ve just completed that killer leg workout and you feel fantastic! Brilliant stuff, now go home, relax and enjoy yourself, without doubt you have earned it! You wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and still proud of your previous workout but wait whats this? You swing your heavy legs over the side of the bed and try to stand…. This is where two thoughts go through your mind, either a Bus got into your room last night and proceeded to run over your legs 1000 times, or holy hell you’ve overdone it on that workout and have injured yourself!
Relax and calm down as you may well find you’re suffering from DOM’s (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). DOM’s can raise its ugly head anywhere as early as six to eight hours post exercise and can peak as late as 48 hours afterwards. There is a lot of variation on the timeline however as it really can differ on an individual basis, just don’t panic if you feel fine for two days then the DOM’s suddenly kick in, it does happen!
DOM’s can appear anywhere on the body that has been exposed to unfamiliar or heavy physical activity. Take for example my first week of squats. Yeah everything went fine, was loving the workout then I came across the impossible combination of DOM’s and the toilet. It turned out that using the toilet roll holder as a support as I was sitting was not a good idea. It didn’t offer much in the way of support as it detached itself from the wall and I slammed down on the toilet seat!
What Causes DOM’s?
A lot of people over complicate this answer and start linking to 101 different studies, so instead I’ll keep it simple. When you exercise and put your muscles under strain and they tear (Think of your muscles like a rope, put it under strain it will stretch and the fibres will start to tear) which in turn cause inflammation of the area.
No Pain, No Gain Right?
We’ve all heard this saying at some point and in many cases it does ring true, however at the same time it’s not the be all and end all either. We can’t really use DOM’s as an indicator of muscle growth and adaptation however as there are too many factors that influence how DOM’s affects individuals.
When Is Soreness Not DOM’s?
I can see how sometimes it can be easy to confuse DOM’s with an injury. A general rule of thumb is if soreness is still present after 72 hours you may have overdone your workout. Just remember there is are no better gauges of your pain than yourself! If you’re not sure and are really struggling get yourself down to see your doctor.
How To Recover From DOM’s?
Ok so there are various techniques you can use to make your bout of DOM’s much more bearable, however I’m only going to suggest one.
I’ve tried Pre and Post stretching, painkillers and contrast showers. Foam Rolling seems to offer me the most comfort in my recovery. It really is a DIY Sports Massage. Here’s a link to a great article about Foam Rolling Click Here .
The Pain You Feel Today, Will Be The Strength You Feel Tomorrow.