Techniques to fend off the dreaded DOMS
For anybody new to working about you have already quickly learnt and felt the effect of DOMS! Love it or hate it, delayed onset of muscle soreness is real and sometimes debilitating effect of muscle fibre breakdown.
What is DOMS?
DOMS or delayed onset of muscle soreness is a stiffness/tightness pain felt in the trained muscle 24-48 after performing high intensity exercise that the body is not familiar with. The pain is felt due to temporary muscle damage and inflammation of the area.
How do you I know if I have DOMS?
Can't walk after your leg session, can't wash your hair after an upper body workout, struggling to put your socks on after your first HIIT class? Yep you have DOMS!
Now if you're a newbie athlete or gym goer this is very normal as you have stimulated your muscle in a way that you haven't before or haven't for a long time. This can be the same for more experienced athletes that have changed their training program.
Is it bad to have DOMS?
There is nothing to be alarmed with if you are feeling the effects of DOMS. It is a good sign that your workout has created micro tears in the muscle fibres and your body is now reacting to repair that area. This process is helping towards the goal of stronger muscles and increased performance! The feeling of DOMS is not an indicator of muscle growth however. The more you train the muscle the less dramatic feeling of DOMS as your body is adapting to your training schedule.
Depending on the intensity of the training you may feel that you cannot contract the muscle up to 48 hours after the workout. This can be apparent after first time high volume training sessions or endurance events such as a marathon. In these instances it is important to take rest to recover.
What can I do to prevent DOMS and fatigue?
Routine and recovery are key to the prevention of fatigue and DOMS. There are three main themes within this which will help keep DOMS at bay;
Have you ever heard the phrase, 'put rubbish in and get rubbish out?'. Well this is fundamental in terms of performance. In order to rebuild the muscle fibres that have been damaged during training we must ensure we are fuelling our bodies correctly.
We have damaged the muscle which has caused a stimulus for more muscle to grow, but for your body to complete that action, it needs amino acids, or protein. A study published in 2015 in Sports Medicine concluded that the healing process of muscles is reliant on collagen and other proteins in order to repair. A decrease in protein consumption could result in muscle loss after an exercise-induced injury. It is therefore important to eat meals rich in protein to give our bodies the nutrients it needs!
In basic terms we can treat our bodies like we would want to treat our favourite garden plant! For the plant to grow it needs enough, sunlight, water, air and nutrient rich soil. Our bodies are much the same, provide it with enough water, oxygen and nutrient rich foods and you will grow like a weed!
As we discussed earlier
DOMS combine having limited movement and flexibility, the inability to contract the muscle leaving you feeling very stiff and in some level of localised pain.
A recovery massage will increase the blood flow and oxygen to the area. This will allow us to put that food to good use and allow more macro and micronutrients to the muscle giving it the fuel it needs to rebuild. A recovery massage is essentially 'speeding the muscle rebuilding process up' and giving the muscle its best chance to absorb the food that we want to feed it.
The pain that you may feel due to DOMS can also be attributed to inflammation around the muscle area. Now it may same counter productive to massage this area when it is so tender! but bear with us...The inflammation is due to fluid build up around the muscle. Some of this fluid build up contains harmful waste chemicals and cellular debris which can leak into your muscle tissue resulting in swelling and pain. An effective massage will flush this fluid build up away from the effected muscle and ease the pain.
Now most of us do not have the time to visit the massage parlour every day! Our recommendation is to use our percussive technology R-Gun which acts as your own personal professional masseuse. Use this on the effected muscle either immediately post work out or after 10-12 hours after a hard training session. There are a number of attachments and power setting to allow you to find your own desirable pressure.
After we have ticked off diet and massage the last part is easy, REST! Remember to leave you body adequate time to use the nutrients we eat in order to repair the muscle. The massage recovery will speed this process up but we need to give it time to fully repair before we attack it again. There are many types of rest techniques which we will cover in a separate topic but as a rule of thumb leave the muscle repair for 48 hours before directly targeting it again.