Centr Team

Been there, DOMS that; when soreness strikes

Centr Team

We think the timing might be just about right to talk about those achy muscles of yours, hands up who’s feeling them? Maybe it’s your core after Da Rulk’s sit thrus or maybe that Luke Zocchi’s HIRT session has woken up (screaming) pretty much every muscle in your body.

That muscle soreness, that stiffness when you move, that workout pain that you feel for a few days after a training session, is what we call Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS. But try not to worry, you’re not broken! It’s actually pretty normal to feel DOMS and it’s a great way to know that your muscles have been pumping and starting to benefit from your hard work and efforts.

What exactly are DOMS and why do we get them?

DOMS is usually felt 24-48 hours after exercise and can last a few days. It can be felt as stiffness or soreness, tender to touch and can also come with limited movement. Yep, the struggle is real when you’re walking downstairs after you smash out a few killer sets of squats!

We get DOMS because we sometimes make small, microscopic tears in our muscles and connective tissue when we exercise. Tearing your muscles might sound pretty harsh, but the body is clever and jumps straight into repair and rebuild mode, not only fixing the small tears, but improving the strength of the muscles for future activity.

Good DOMS vs bad DOMS

Good DOMS are the ones that we want to feel, the ones that are our body’s way of responding to the hard work we’re putting in during exercise. They’re the ones that are localized to the muscle group we have been working. For example, if you feel your core after sit thrus, that’s okay, you’ve worked that muscle group hard and your body is responding to the exercise. Give it a few days and the pain should disappear.

A few tricks that can help relieve good DOMS

  • Gently move – try some Pilates with Sylvia Roberts, Foundation Training with Eric Goodman, a Flow session with Tahl Rinsky, or a cool-down with Luke Zocchi or Tiffiny Hall to get the body moving and blood circulating through the muscles
  • Hydration – fatigue can be a sign of dehydration, so make sure you drink plenty of water

  • Ginger and turmeric – both are natural anti-inflammatories so try out a few recipes that include them

  • An Epsom salt bath can help to relax the muscles and joints

  • Rest – the body goes through many recovery processes during sleep so try to get an early night and aim for eight hours of sleep

Bad DOMS are the ones we don’t want you to feel, so please look out for any of the below

  • Pain in your joints, not just your muscles

  • Pain that you feel during exercise rather than after exercise

  • Stiffness and muscle aches that you can still feel seven or more days later and isn’t getting any better

Typically, any of the above can be put down to exercise technique and making sure your form is spot on or double checking you’re completing the exercises in line with your fitness experience and level - let’s not run before we can walk! To master your form, and learn more about how to maximize your body’s performance, check out the Explore section and browse for Technique Training.

The good news? Your body can adapt quickly to new challenges, so the exercises that gave you DOMS this time around shouldn’t be as bad next time.

If you think you’ve got bad DOMS, and your symptoms aren’t getting any better, please see your doctor or physical therapist (physiotherapist) as soon as possible to rule out any worries.

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