Myths About Post-Workout Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
Athletes and fitness buffs wear Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness with pride. It’s that ‘burn’ that you feel following a good ab session, or even that little tension in your legs after doing squats. We’ve all experienced it and know it to be a great feeling, but not having the burn doesn’t mean that your workout wasn’t a good one!
What is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)?
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) usually shows up as early as 6 hours post-workout and can last up to 48 hours after. During this time, muscles are repairing themselves and growing. DOMS is most pronounced when you introduce a new training stimulus (a new activity, increased intensity or volume) or if you are new to physical activity in general. Muscle discomfort is the most common characteristic of DOMS, but there are other symptoms. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, these may include reduced range of motion and joint stiffness, local swelling and tenderness, and diminished muscle strength. These symptoms appear gradually following exercise.
It’s not a good workout unless you get DOMS.
We often wear our DOMS as a badge of honor and believe that if we’re not sore, we’re not doing enough during out workouts. But that’s just not true. If, after three days, you try to do the same exercise and you cannot because you go immediately to muscle failure, you’ve done too much.
The more fit you are, the less susceptible you are to DOMS.
It’s true that you will start to feel less sore as your body adapts to your workouts and learns to distribute the workload across your muscle fibers more effectively. That’s why you should regularly change up your exercise routine.
Pre- and post-workout stretching is a good way to prevent DOMS.
Unfortunately, no. A review of studies for the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews on the effects of stretching before or after exercise on the development of delayed-onset muscle soreness found that pre- and post-workout stretching did not reduce the effects of DOMS in healthy adults.
In essence, your muscle need time to recover and heal from your workouts so it’s best to allow enough time in between or switch your workouts up to prevent overuse injuries.