Muscle soreness is something everyone hates with passion. You have trained
hard and have smashed through your personal bests only to find yourself
slumped on the couch a few days after unable to move a muscle because you are
in too much pain.
Welcome to the world of DOMS or delayed onset of muscle soreness! Oh and how it is a whole world of pain!
What exactly is DOMS and why does it only happen sometimes and not after
Well, when you resistance train or strength train you are
effectively breaking muscle fibers open as you lift the weights. Your body then
needs to repair them and build them back stronger so it is in fact all these
microscopic tears, which are causing you that agonizing pain you hate.
Your body is also excellent at adapting so you will have to keep pushing it and
trying new things such as heavier weights and different rep ranges to stimulate
growth.The good news is that there are things you can do to not only eliminate DOMS
but also lessen their painful presence too! Here’s how.
One thing that probably 99% of gym goers forget to do is stretch properly before they train. No matter what body part you are training there’s no excuse not to have a light warm up and a stretch. Stretching your muscles warms them up effectively which also helps to improve your performance in physical activities. More blood is in the muscles and more oxygen allowing them to function better.
Stretching helps your joints move through their full range of movement with ease and will also help to decrease your risk of any potential injuries. If you want to try and eliminate or significantly reduce your muscle soreness stretching will enable your muscles to work most effectively. Using a foam roller is also a good way to relieve tension in sore muscles.
Take BCAA’s during your workout
Adding a scoop of branch chain amino acids to your workout drink will aid in the reduction of DOMS and lack of strength. BCAAs are abundant in your muscle tissues and they can play a major role in regulating protein synthesis, which is your body’s process of repairing and rebuilding new, bigger muscle. Looking at how they are used by your body, they may also play a vital role in reducing those nasty aches and paints post-workout by repairing the tissue faster.
Giving your body a steady flow of them while you train enables your muscles to make use of them almost immediately!
This may sound like torture but it works. A popular method of coping with DOMS especially leg DOMA is to exercise the area gently if you can. If you have really trained your hamstrings and quads hard consider some active recovery and go for a gentle walk. This will stimulate more oxygenated blood to circulate around in the muscles and promote faster healing and natural pain relief.
Have a hot & cold shower
You might have thought just one or the other can help, of course this is true butin this case, both are better than one! It’s all about blood flow! Physiotherapists suggest that if you are suffering from sore muscles then switching between cold and hot while in the shower can help reduce the pain significantly. This switching results in alternating vasodilatation and vasoconstriction of the blood vessels in the painful areas.
If you can try to change the temperature every two minutes or so in a comfortable way – no need to scold yourself then freeze to death! You should notice improvements in the severity of your sore muscles.
Treat your sweet tooth to some cherries
Who’d have thought that cherries could help with DOMS! It’s true! A cheeky handful of cherries after your workout can actually help to delay the onset of sore muscles. Cherries are packed with a substance called anthocyanin, which assists in increasing the rate that oxygen traveling to your ailing muscles.
Thanks to this you can enjoy less pain the days following your workout and a faster recovery. Cherries also count as one of your 5 a day too! Next time you hit the gym for a hard session you are now armed with the knowledge to combat DOMS! From before the workout, during and after you are covered from all areas!