I thought I knew what muscle soreness was until I worked out with my football buddy.
I was in high school and a football buddy said we should go workout, so we did.
He took me through his workout. We did some chest. We did some back. We did some legs.
It all felt great.
The next day, I could barely move.
I was sore for the next week.
After about 8 days, I was able to lift my arms over my head.
Let me share with you what happened to me and what you need to do if it happens to you.
What is the pain that I get in my muscles after a heavy workout or activity?
This is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). The pain is from microtraumas to the muscle from pushing the muscle to a level it is not used to.
How do you know if the pain you are having is DOMS, compared to something more serious?
It is likely DOMS:
- If the pain in the muscle is over a broad area of the muscle and not in a specific targeted point
- If the day before or a few days before you did more activity or exercise than you usually do
- If you have minimal or no pain in the muscle when moving the joint unloaded
When you have DOMS, should you take a break or just work through it?
The answer to this question is not simple.
Yes, you should take a break from the area that is sore, but you should not back off from your full workout. For example, if you have DOMS in your legs, you can focus on low level cardio, like walking. Plus work on moving the sore area and perform some light stretching. You can still exercise the rest of your body, like doing an upper body workout.
What can you do about DOMS?
6 things to do if you have DOMS:
- Rest, but try to keep moving
- Try to do low level activity, like walking
- Increase your hydration by adding a few extra glasses of water to your day
- Try to have a hot soak and while in the tub, go through some muscle movements and light stretches
- Also try to eat clean and increase your fruit and vegetable intake
- Get your sleep. Try to get more than you need.
- If necessary, take an anti-inflammatory pain reliever.
When it comes to other pains, when should you continue to work out or get it looked at?
You can continue on if it feels like general muscle soreness and you have full range of motion of the joint when it is unloaded.
If the pain is affecting what you do on a day to day basis and is not getting better with time, it should be looked at by a qualified professional to determine what is wrong and to rule out anything serious. Qualified professionals will vary depending on the state, province or country you live in.
When it comes to a fitness professional, what should they do if they have a client that has pain and wants to continue working out or continue with their activities?
This my criteria:
- If the injury is affecting what they do on a day to day basis and is not getting better with time, it should be looked at by a qualified professional. Qualified professionals will vary, depending on the state, province or country you live in.
- If you do not feel comfortable or confident in training the individual, get them to see a qualified professional and ask for exercise guidelines from that professional.
- If in your professional opinion, they do not have the physical conditioning, training level, or skill needed, or could make an old injury worse with the training style you do (For example, HIIT bootcamps or Crossfit, MMA training, etc), get them to see a qualified professional and ask for exercise guidelines from that professional.
- If they have a chronic condition that could get worse or lead to a serious injury (For example: arthritis, heat disease, uncontrolled diabetes, etc.), get them to see a qualified professional and ask for exercise guidelines from that professional.
What is the best way to prevent DOMS?
Looking for the best way to prevent DOMS?> You Need to Do THIS Before Your Workout, Exercise and Activity
Rick Kaselj, MS