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Archive for April, 2014

Why do I get pain after exercising?

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014


Many of you out there will be used to the burning sensation and stiffness that is sometimes experienced after a good exercise session.  This normally is experienced 24-48 hours post exercise and can last up to a few days, this state is commonly knows as DOMs… or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.  Some people love this feeling as it signifies to them a hard workout, others struggle with it a little more, finding it painful and it effects their life.  Either love it or hate it, every so often a spell of DOMS will crop up and it is worth understanding it in order so you can minimise the effects on your life.

Delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS) normally comes on particularly with those who are new to exercise or those who have introduced a new routine (often when it targets previously little used muscles).  So here is the science… the key reasoning behind why people get DOMS is that during intense exercise microscopic tears appear in muscle fibres or connective tissue. This then results in a level of cellular degradation and a resultant  inflammatory response.  This is then experienced as the pain and stiffness that is DOMS!

So is there a way to avoid DOMS? First thing to consider is to look at how much DOMS you can cope with if at all, for example if you are a brain surgeon and will be operating in the next few days, having stiff or un moveable arms might be a very limiting factor for your work!  In these kind of cases you should be aware of the key things that may lead to higher levels of DOMS.

One of the key training methods that can lead to higher levels of DOMS is the use of eccentric training, this is where you spend longer in the negative phase of a lift.  Additionally if you engage in very high intensity exercise such as hill sprints or if you progress through a programme too fast this may lead to a higher level of discomfort post exercise.

There has been some discussion that correct hydration, post workout nutrition and full cool downs can help to reduce the effects of DOMS.  As your training age increases (the number of years you have been training, so basically your experience level) you are less likely to get this sensation as your body increases its ability to cope with the demands of your exercise programme.

All in all you will either love or hate delayed onset muscle soreness… some of you will even hate to love it!  But it is all into the management of your training programme to make sure that your training not only gives you the results tat you want but also fits into your life and does not cause any problems that might stop you training and constantly striving towards getting the results that you desire!

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