DOMS – What exactly are they?

We’ve all heard the dreaded phase ‘DOMS’ We all know the pain associated with them and the fun of not being able to walk after a big legs workout! But what exactly are DOMs?

DOMS = Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

Delayed onset muscle soreness is muscle pain that begins after you’ve worked out. It normally starts a day or two after a workout. You won’t feel DOMS during a workout.

Pain felt during or immediately after a workout is a different kind of muscle soreness. It’s called acute muscle soreness

DOMS usually occur after an unaccustomed exercise. It’s normally worse after starting a new program or returning to training after a break.
Pretty much any exercise can cause DOMS, but one kind in particular, known as an eccentric exercises, often triggers it.

This happens when the nerve endings of the muscle become lengthened during the eccentric portion of a lift (Lowering very slowly into a squat for example).

This damage creates micro-trauma and the soreness is a normal part of the inflammation process.

DOMS are NOT ❌

  • An indicator of an effective workout
  • A build-up of lactic acid

While there is nothing wrong with being sore after a workout, it is never the goal.

Chasing DOMS can actually slow your progress, here’s why;

You may potentially skip sessions (because you’re too sore) which results in less volume which in turn = less gains
You may also struggle with form if too sore and as we know poor form = increased risk of injury.

What can you do to prevent/recover from DOMS?

  • Warm up properly
  • Prioritize sleep 7-9 hours
  • Cut back on training volume / frequency
  • Eat sufficient protein and calories
  • Active recovery to increase blood flow
  • Massage or foam roller