What exactly is DOMS?

The most common phrase in the fitness industry I hear is “I’m so sore”!!! But why does this happen? A little thing we call DOMS.

What is DOMS? Its stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It’s something everybody reading this has probably experienced at one point or another. It occurs between 24 – 48 hours following new or strenuous exercise. It is perceived as a dull aching pain in the affected muscle and can often be combined with tenderness & stiffness.


Generally the aching pain is only felt when the muscle is being used or stretched and we immediately go “ouch”. Passive stretching will increase the symptoms, adding to the sore feeling. DOMS can also result in a short term loss of muscle strength, reduced joint range of motion and sometimes swelling of the affected muscle groups.

What Causes DOMS?

Its caused by myofibril tears (muscle strains). The pain you experience is said to be a result of contractile tissue microtrauma and is generally increased with eccentric exercises.

Many people might think that lactic acid & DOMS are linked – but this is not the case. Lactic Acid generally clears within an hour, DOMS will be felt a day or two after a workout. The “best workout” won’t always cause DOMS either. New movements and new range of motion will be the likely cause.

Can you prevent DOMS?

Maybe not, but you can take the following steps to minimise the onset!

  • Take it slow and gradually build up the amount of exercise you do in your program – remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
  • Only increase your sets, reps and weights by more than 10% per week.
  • Be aware of the amount of eccentric exercise you are including in your workouts.
  • Ensure you do a thorough cool down following your workout – many of us would have seen sportspeople doing gentle running and cool down drills after their games – this is one of the reasons why.

If you follow these simple steps your body will be rested in no time and you won’t be feeling like this:


Best way to help DOMS?

Light cardio is the best way to combat DOMS! Going for a walk or light jog might sound like it might make the soreness you feel get worse, but it’s actually one of the best ways to relieve your aching muscles.

Alternatively you can exercise with your dog. Dogs need exercise as much as their humans do, and a walk does wonders for their cardiovascular health. Take the kids with you for a light walk and make it a family-inclusive activity to keep healthy. Don’t avoid moving or let the pain get to you, its okay to exercise when you are sore, just understand your movements may be limited and make sure you get a good warm up!

If you’re looking for some extra support to get into an exercise routine, speak to one of our personal trainers who can help you get on track to reach your health goal, and most importantly, love DOMS!

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Kristy Barr

Kristy is one of our Personal Trainers at our Baldivis club she is also a Member of the Bailey Fight Team.

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