Sunday morning: November 18th, 8:57 am.
Location: Avalon, California. On the Island of Catalina
“Man my head hurts. I think I had a little too much to drink last night.”
This was the exact conversation I had with myself as I woke up Sunday morning. The previous day, I ran my first ever half marathon, more on that in a couple weeks. Our squad did really well, and we had a fun night out celebrating our accomplishments. After my brief conversation with myself about my possible hangover, I came to my senses, smelled bacon and eggs, and realized that I should probably get up and enjoy the goodness that was breakfast.
“Ooooooooouch” is what I said outloud as I stood up to go upstairs. My calves and hips were a little sore from the race, but not “too” bad. I would say my head hurt more. As the day went on, both my head and my muscles started to feel better and… I thought nothing of it. All I knew was when I got back to the Long Beach Port, I couldn’t wait to get home and sleep.
Monday morning: November, 19th 4:45am
Location: My bed. Newbury Park, California.
The alarm went off, I pushed snooze once. Ok, I pushed snooze twice. Actually, I pushed it THREE times. Don’t judge. It was time to get out of bed, brush my teeth, make a shakeology chocolate smoothie, and head to work.
“HOLY SHIT!” Yep, that is what I said out loud, loudly, as I stood up. I am not sure why I was so shocked, because personally, I am always sorest two days later. Many of my clients feel the same way and I always get asked why that is.
“Tyler, why am I always more sore two days later?”
The answer is something called DOMS, the acronym for “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.” DOMS varies from person to person and can kick in as soon as 6 hours post exercise, or if you are like me, feel the peak of DOMS 36-48 hours later.
“What causes this crazy soreness?”
“Origins of the soreness and accompanying symptoms are complex and it is well-established that many types of physical activity can cause delayed soreness. Most believe soreness develops as a result of microscopic damage to muscle fibers involved the exercise. This type of damage likely results from novel stresses that were experienced during the exercise. One common misconception about DOMS blames lactic acid accumulation, but… lactic acid is NOT a component of this process. DOMS appears to be a side effect of the repair process that develops in response to microscopic muscle damage.” –William Braun, Ph.D., and Gary Sforzo, Ph.D. , American College of Sports Medicine
“Ok, Tyler that is great and all, but what can I do to help with this?”
As a trainer, my opinion (and I AM an expert in this) is to get the body moving. I am not saying to jump right back into an intense workout while feeling sore, but I am saying that getting the body moving and the blood flowing is key. Here is my quick list of some simple ways to get the blood flowing:
- Go for a walk
- Walk the dog
- Foam Roll (My favorite)
- Take a yoga class
- Shoot some hoops
You get the idea. The absolute worst thing to do is to stay stagnant and not do anything. Get the body moving.
“Will this happen every time I workout?”
It really depends on the intensity of the workout. The more consistent you are when it comes to your workouts, the more your body will adapt to the stress. However, it should be known that no matter how well you warm-up or cool down, it is very unlikely you can avoid DOMS. That being said, depending of the program, the intensity in which you push yourself, and your stretching at the end, you can experience varying degrees of DOMS.
As with any workout, it is important to warm-up properly before you do any exercise, and just equally as important, to leave yourself time to cool down and stretch those muscle. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) can and will take place. Just remember to keep moving and let the body recover. I will be sharing proper warm-up techniques, tools, and why it is important to let the body recover after strenuous exercise in future posts.
Top 5: Exercises you should and can expect DOMS
- Deadlift: This complex movement has a lot of eccentric stress. It works numerous muscles. This is essential lift is important to have in your routine, but expect a little soreness in the legs, glutes, back, and shoulders.
- Abdominal Roll-outs: Whether you use a ball, a roller, or a barbell, this movement will cause soreness for sure. Laughing will let you know how sore you really are. No Joke!
- Running: Especially on pavement can cause DOMS. Depending on speed, incline, and your running gait, running usually causes soreness to some degree.
- Bench Press: This basic lift is a favorite among many in the gym. A day or two after chest day you will hear members in the gym commenting on how sore they are.
- Pull-ups: This bodyweight movement leaves me sore no matter how often I do them. My back, shoulders, and biceps are always areas that feel a little tender after a session of pull-ups.
- BONUS Exercise: Anything with these. A literal pain in the ass!