What is is DOMS (And How Do I Prevent It )

 

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You should see a physio for… Delayed Onset Muscle Sorness (DOMS)

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That’s DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. DOMS sets in a couple of days after a workout, leaving you achy and stiff—and it’s totally normal, so there’s no need to panic. On the bright side, DOMS signals that you worked muscles in a way you haven’t recently and that your body is getting stronger, so greet it with open arms (if you can lift them that far).

DOMS is muscle pain that sets in after you’ve engaged in physical activity. It’s often called “muscle fever” because, depending on the severity, your muscles might feel weak and sickly in. Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is muscle pain that begins after you’ve worked out.

It normally starts a day or two after a workout. You won’t feel DOMS during a. DOMS is associated with fatigue and a build-up of lactic acid, along with metabolic waste build up as a result of the by-product of glycogen usage. DOMS is also thought to be associated with eccentric exercise related movements (being under tension whilst lengthening) eg. downhill running. Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a painful condition that affects every lifter and athlete at some point.

No matter if it’s your first time experiencing delayed muscle soreness or your millionth, you’re probably wondering how to relive it, and how to prevent it. Here’s what causes sore muscles, and what you can do before and after your workout to find relief!DOMS stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, and they’re that nasty feeling you get the day after the gym, or sometimes up to a week after, if you’ve really gone hard!

Contrary to popular belief it’s not lactic acid stuck in your muscles. DOMS, or ‘Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness’, is the pain and aches felt in muscles several hours or days after exercise and strength training. It is something everyone has to deal with but some of us suffer from this more than others.

Muscle soreness. “While stretching is a must after exercising to reduce the risk of injury, it won’t prevent DOMS.” Fortunately while DOMS can be unavoidable at times, there are treatments to try. DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness.

It is a condition that causes significant muscle aches and soreness, typically around 24-48 hours following a challenging bout of. Also known as ‘muscle fever’, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) refers to the sore muscles you experience typically a day after unfamiliar exercise. When you’re a beginner and start a workout routine, it shocks your muscle and leads to a cramp-like pain.

List of related literature:

There are two main theories relating to DOMS.

“Sports Rehabilitation and Injury Prevention” by Paul Comfort, Earle Abrahamson
from Sports Rehabilitation and Injury Prevention
by Paul Comfort, Earle Abrahamson
Wiley, 2010

DOMS is a dull aching sensation that follows unaccustomed muscular exertion.

“Tidy's Physiotherapy E-Book” by Stuart Porter
from Tidy’s Physiotherapy E-Book
by Stuart Porter
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2008

DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) is a natural response to abnormal loading with pain, due to inflammation, appearing up to 12–24 hours after the exposure, and peaking 1–3 days after, before gradually decreasing.

“Introduction to Ergonomics, Second Edition” by Robert Bridger
from Introduction to Ergonomics, Second Edition
by Robert Bridger
Taylor & Francis, 2008

Exercise training typically protects against DOMS.

“Neurology in Clinical Practice” by Robert B. Daroff, Gerald M Fenichel, Joseph Jankovic, John C Mazziotta
from Neurology in Clinical Practice
by Robert B. Daroff, Gerald M Fenichel, et. al.
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2012

DOMS must be distinguished from the burning discomfort of maximal exercise that causes noxious substances to accumulate in muscle.

“Athletic Training and Sports Medicine” by Robert C. Schenck, Ronnie P. Barnes, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Robert S. Behnke
from Athletic Training and Sports Medicine
by Robert C. Schenck, Ronnie P. Barnes, et. al.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 1999

It is important to note that DOMS is not necessarily harmful.

“The Athlete's Shoulder E-Book” by James R. Andrews, Kevin E. Wilk, Michael M. Reinold
from The Athlete’s Shoulder E-Book
by James R. Andrews, Kevin E. Wilk, Michael M. Reinold
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2008

DOMS is a sensation of muscular discomfort and pain during palpitation or active contractions that occurs in a delayed fashion after strenuous exercise.

“Nutrition and Enhanced Sports Performance: Muscle Building, Endurance, and Strength” by Debasis Bagchi, Sreejayan Nair, Chandan K. Sen
from Nutrition and Enhanced Sports Performance: Muscle Building, Endurance, and Strength
by Debasis Bagchi, Sreejayan Nair, Chandan K. Sen
Elsevier Science, 2013

Such delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is accompanied by stiffness, tenderness, and swelling.

“Principles of Anatomy and Physiology” by Gerard J. Tortora, Bryan H. Derrickson
from Principles of Anatomy and Physiology
by Gerard J. Tortora, Bryan H. Derrickson
Wiley, 2018

In human beings the best prevention for DOMS is moderate daily increases in the degree of training.

“Equine Internal Medicine E-Book” by Stephen M. Reed, Warwick M. Bayly, Debra C. Sellon
from Equine Internal Medicine E-Book
by Stephen M. Reed, Warwick M. Bayly, Debra C. Sellon
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2009

Training prevents or reduces DOMS.

“Musculoskeletal MRI E-Book” by Clyde A. Helms, Nancy M. Major, Mark W. Anderson, Phoebe Kaplan, Robert Dussault
from Musculoskeletal MRI E-Book
by Clyde A. Helms, Nancy M. Major, et. al.
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2008

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

[email protected]

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48 comments

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  • I have watched a couple post about stretching the pec muscles and I like how you all talk about their attachments and how it effects your posture.
    BUT with the pec minor NO ONE says that when it gets tight that it will effect nerve and blood flow to your arm. I have this issue with numbness in my fingers and it is from compression of my brachial nerve. I know that most people think having numbness in your fingers they think they have carpal tunnel but most likely their pec minor is really tight.

  • Be very careful with this. I fucked my nerve up in my arm doing the upward stretch for the pec minor. Don’t push through a nervy stretch sensation like I did.

  • as SOON as i get into these stretch positions my hand will start to get pins and needles, note im not putting too much pressure on the wall, but a nerve is being impeded. What should i do please help!

  • After trying this one time I felt I difference. My right shoulder has been feeling stiff lately and I feel it the most when I do chest flys or shoulder exercises. It doesn’t hurt but it’s uncomfortable.

  • I just got into rock climbing and my upper back was killing me. I did these stretches combined with another two sets of Jeff’s videos and I can feel the difference in my shoulders and chest. Thanks Jeff!!

  • I really enjoy watching your videos. I am currently having some lower calf leg tightness, and it seems that I’m getting lots of vericose veins, also. When I’m on my feet all day it’s worse especially the next day, it seems. I woke up last night, and this morning with Charles horse pains. My question is, if my blood pressure medication seems to relax the pain, would this mean the pain may be venous rather than structural in origin? If so, then would these exercises still benefit me, or would you give different exercise regime for arterial pain? Tia.

  • I bent my elbow the wrong way, don’t even know how was just sitting on the table and unconsciously pressed it the wrong way. Been a week now and I feel something but my friend told me it would ok to go light, eg push ups?

  • Help: Shoulder pain from trying handstand pushups too soon!! My rotator cuff, bending my left arm behind my back /trying to touch my shoulder blade…so painful. I’m doing shoulder warmups and cool downs to help it, any suggestions?

  • Hey Bob and Brad, I’m very active (crossfit and run almost on a daily basis) I never experienced any serious injuries only the normal soreness pain and some joint pain associated with age (I’m 38). that being said, about a month ago I after playing one game of bowling I couldn’t lift my left foot and my big toe was flexing inward. After researching online base on my symptoms I had “drop foot” and it lasted for about 3 days it really freaked me out. I currently feel mild pain and tightness in the engaging muscle when I raise the ball of my left foot from the floor ( pressing gas pedal motion). My question is there any recommendations, stretches, exercise, ect. to prevent drop foot? thank you, just subscribed.

  • I have an annular tear in L5-S1 and the disc material has come out which is pinching the nerve…I have numbness in my back down through the right leg…Tingling sensations and radiations but no pain except for my right calf which is sore…Please suggest something…

  • Maybe you can do an introduction explain and doing the bad and good ways to do it, (with visual help) and then elaborate more the main idea (like reasons to do it the way you suggest)

  • Y do I feel a tingling going down my fingers when I do the pec stretches and my shoulder blades r pinching automatically when I do this and they hurt

  • Thanks so much for this video! I finally fixed my scapula wringing and rounded right shoulder, but then I got worried because I started getting sore in my right chest. Now it all makes sense. You helped me figure out why I was getting sore in my peck now and how to help it. Your the best Jeff!

  • Several years after video but, Jeff thank you so very much fixing my winged scapula. Main problem for me!!! This effort through your videos is highly appreciated!! Thank yooooou!!!

  • I have had pain on the insides of my elbow for 10 years now. I’ve been to physios, acupuncture and self massage with hot and cold packs. Nothing worked. This video popped up and I thought I’ll give it a try. 3 days in and 90% of the pain is gone. I’m sure 100% of the pain will be gone by continuing with this exercise. I can’t thank you enough Jeff for sharing this video. This has helped me immensely.

  • Its funny, I never had this pain in my life… only now since 3 weeks recently when i started to bench heavier. went from 340lbs/155kg 4reps to 385lbs/175kg 2rep spotted presses.

  • Can someone tell me why me outside of my elbow crackles when I lift my elbow up and down I cam hold my elbow and I can make loud crack than sometimes my the inside of my elbow gets stuck than I can move it back slowly than it will stop

  • Thanks Athlean x ive been suffering from this pain since 2 days and couldnt figure out what to do..but with your excercise my hands came normal after just 15 mins

  • When standing I cannot lift my left heel off the ground and can feel no tension in my calf regardless of what exercises I perform. This was the result from a back injury and I have a permanent limp. Any suggestions how I can improve the situation?

  • I’m trying these stretches but I can’t seem to really feel any real deep stretch, just a mild sensation at best, but I do have really bad rounded shoulders and scapular winging.
    Am I just doing these incorrectly (don’t think so) or is this a sign that thightness in my chest is not the problem and that I should focus more on reinforcing other back muscles to fix the problem?

  • Is there anyway to stretch the PEC MINOR without lifting your arm? My pec minor is part of the problem, but when I stretch it my raised arm causes the impingement provocation.

  • thanks for this. this is definitely one of the ways i screwed up my shoulders, trying to stretch my chest. i would stand doing cable flies, arms fully extended, in between sets trying to stretch my chest. also learned recently stretching before and during a workout, very bad idea.

  • Jeff, you fixed my tennis elbow. Any suggestions for pain in back knee? Nothing is broken, stepped wrong way while playing tennis.

  • I already screwed my shoulder by doing just what he said we shouldn’t. Now I’m looking at his videos hoping they are viral. Thanks for your work Jeff!

  • i tried doing the first one but the pain in my solarplexus chest area got wors now it really hurts to lift my arms up someone please help

  • Brilliant!A week of Massage and stretching wasn’t working so much on my golfers elbow. Straight away this felt right and after 3 days it is pretty much gone.

  • Would it be comparable to bend over and hold a kettlebell while also preventing torso rotation? I think that for the forearm it should be the same exercise, replacing your body weight with the ketllebell. But the shoulder would clearly stand at a different angle.

  • So my gym finally opened after the COVID lock-down. Two months of sitting home, nothing to do except tell myself, “Well, they closed the gym, so I might as well just eat whatever I want.” As it turns out, it IS possible to pack on 30 pounds of fat in just two months, and without eating sweets. Anyway, I went to the gym for the first time in two months yesterday, jumped on the treadmill, and within two minutes had the worst muscle cramp of my life on the lateral side of my left calf. Not sure if that’s considered calf muscles or not, because it was half way up my lower leg, all the way on the lateral side of my leg. In any event, I could only make it about ten minutes on the treadmill before it became so excruciating that I couldn’t continue. Within about 15 minutes of stopping the pain went away, and haven’t had a problem since. I’m about to head back to the gym for a second try, but want to see if there is some sort of stretches I can do to avoid that happening again.

  • Had elbow pain in both for bout a year, from gym and BJJ. Done alot of self treatment as I’m a Sports Therapist but only minimal result. Tried this one and my elbows felt better a day later. That was 2 weeks ago, done my usual training since, still no pain, certainly not as before. Thing is, I wasn’t that keen on Jeff before but reZults r reZults lol yo from Scotland!

  • Hey all, I hope I can add something to this as well! I’m a PT who’s passionate about trying to uncover the root cause of common issues and I’ve been finding that Golfer’s Elbow may have everything to do with hidden neck dysfunction. I’ve put together a short video showing how to figure this out for yourself and what to do about it. Hope it helps! https://youtu.be/tLE5ZqeZNQw

  • I’ve had a lot of soreness in my right scapulla and clicking in the shoulder. I realised I also have a very tender pec minor right up under my arm pit. I’ll put these stretches to work. Thank you.

  • I love these videos! I’ve been watching them for about 3 or 4 years now for my own therapy as an athlete as well as a form of entertainment because y’all are so amusing. I’m actually trying to go back to school, currently a teacher, for pta with the goal of going back for my dpt a few years later. I truly love how informative you both are, and I especially enjoy the visual aid you gave, Brad, with the green band being a chain. I will certainly continue watching these videos as I pursue my own career in pt. Keep up the great work!

  • Just do a bunch of chins ups ( 20 sets 1 to 5 reps) can do everyday for a few weeks to inflame the elbow so your actively increasing the inflammation? This will cause more pain but body is suppose to heal itself adding more inflammation?

  • You can just turn your hand outwards which will force your shoulders to stay back and apply force with your hands and leanforward to go deeper into the stretch

  • So, from what you are explaining, my torn labrum in my left shoulder may be the cause of my elbow pain. I also feel this pain all through the top of my forearm. I will try this SIMPLE exercise that WILL IN NO WAY endanger my well being, or fill the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies (yes @hhhk20, I also know how they work). Thank you, Jeff, I really appreciate this.

  • This Interview will definitely resonate with a lot of coaches and their clients. It should be on a must watch/listen list for them like you said Steve. Quinn is an extremely smart guy with a “Schoenfeld approach” of answering questions. And of course you killing it with the analogy game, haha.

  • Crazy, I stumbled across Jeff’s channel a little more than a year ago, and have since lost 13kg. The past three months,, I’ve noticed elbow pain ever so slightly increasing and remaining constant throughout the week. It finally reached a point four days ago where it was starting to worry me a little so I typed in “elbow pain from weightlifting” into youtube search and guess who popped up? Thanks again, Jeff…I’ve done this every morning for the past three days and haven’t noticed any pain at all today for the first time in several months.

  • Great video. I suffer from this problem. Is there an exercise that I can do to help fix it whilst stuck at home during lockdown? I don’t have the bar shown in this video.

  • If you got pain on the inside of the elbow it is usually caused by doing bicep curls with a straight bar. Do the curls with an EZ bar or dumbells and you won,t get the pain. This was shown to me nearly 50 years ago and I will still never do a curl with a straight bar.

  • My tendons rub against the bone on the inside of my arms, I can’t do 20 push-ups anymore without a sizeable amount of pain around the funny bone area. I’m super excited to try this out, hopefully it will fix the problem.

  • My right elbow started hurting on my second set of bench press today and I have no clue why. It only hurt on the eccentric part of the press though. I’ll try this out and see if it works, thanks Jeff.

  • Brilliant! It’s very helpful when you “draw on yourself”. I hope I can find more videos like this on your channel. It makes it very easy to understand.

  • For the people in quarantine who don’t have a barbell:

    Get a pull-up bar and a resistance band a thick one, you need it for this. Anchor the resistance band on the pulling bar bu wrapping it through itself once. Grab the top of the band 1-3 inches from where it’s anchored on the bar, now lean back and do this exercise.

    I just did it this way, keeping the same principles of the exercise he showed us and for me it works just as well. The only problem is the rug burn you get from holding onto a stretched resistance band, but that might be a good thing for developing some thicker skin, literally.

  • Im really glad I came across this! I have a question and I am hoping you can help? Im now 44 years old. Last spring I started working out really hard, pretty much focusing on bi/triceps, forearm, chest and abs. I did it 4 6 days a week and didnt allow much downtime, even spending my daily drive to and from work (an hour each way) basically trying to rip my steering wheel off. By the end of last summer I was down to near my ideal weight and my arms had a lot of progress.

    However my elbows and wrists basically put me out of commission. It’s now been close to a year (WITHOUT WORKING OUT) and everything but my right elbow is 98% healed. The elbow however will not heal, and any time I do simple tasks with it I get a lot of pain on the outside of my elbow. I’ve been thinking about getting a Cortisone shot to rid of the pain and then try to follow workouts like this to heal it naturally.

    Do you have any recommendations for a great elbow brace/support? The pain I get is very much on the outside of the elbow, the second place you pointed to. Being summer, i really need to put some work into my yard, etc and I am hoping to find a way to do this asap without the debilitating pain that can get bad enough to keep me up at night. Id love a recommendation.

    Would a brace with the open ring around the elbow be best for me, an elbow or forearm band, or compression sleeve???

  • Hey Jeff, are we supposed to keep both legs together and lean forward staying in place or we keep one leg bent and forward while doing the stretch?

    Thank you. Regards.

  • Gonna try this:) my right elbow sometimes clicks during bicep curling. Also when I rotate my right arm my elbow clicks,Any insight?

  • I slept at 10pm and woke up at 1am suddenly from a nightmare and when I woke up, it is my left elbow and bicep pain, mostly coz I slept on left shoulder after back day, oh God