Hello from GM HQ!
Dr. Sarah Bailey here. I hope all you fitties are keeping well. Today I have an exciting update from the Gym Medic HQ. I am going to featured by the British Association of Sports & Exercise Medicine in their next e-circular #BASEM!! Keep your eyes pealed for a post about this soon.
Let’s get down to business! The struggle is real. 24 hours after a HUGE leg day weights session & HIIT training the DOMS has set in hard. A big back session & long car journey has left me very achey!
What is DOMS you may ask? DOMS is delayed onset muscle stiffness/soreness, some even call it muscle fever! In most, DOMS is stiffness and pain felt in the muscles which usually presents about 24-72 hours after an intense work out. If you have experienced it you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s a NIGHTMARE.
Usually most people develop DOMS after not being consistent with their fitness routine or through participating in unaccustomed, strenuous exercise. This was inevitable for me this week as I was on call for 12 hours a day and missed a number of timetabled sessions. Safe to say I certainly suffered the consequences today.
I want to take you back 6 months ago. Just imagine the situation. I’m on a busy ward round, chasing after the consultant who is speeding to yet another ward. I drop my list. But OH, I have DOMS and I can’t bend down properly to pick it up. The whole team thought I was mad, as what unfolded was a slow motion lunging dance as I tried to regain the list and keep up with the pack. It was TRAGIC!!! SO gang, I’m thinking, can we prevent DOMS after our workouts? Or is it just something us gym bunnies are going to have to deal with?
Let’s get down to the facts. It’s important to note anyone can gets DOMS. Even the best athletes can develop it if they up their training programme, however there are a number of ways one can prevent it from ruining your training schedule.
- The Repeat Bout Effect describes how muscles become accustomed to certain exercises very quickly and so the more you do them, the less likely you are to get DOMS. It’s obviously important to change up your training programme, but perhaps if DOMS is a problem for you, stick to one programme for 8 weeks. This will help minimise your time out of training due to pain!
- Dehydration. Dehydration is also an important factor. Dehydration has been shown to worsen DOMS, so remembering to drink H20 before, during & after your work outs is vital! I think this was a huge factor in my DOMS this week.
- Micro-tears. DOMS is thought to be caused through a build up of products produced from muscle micro-tears and tissue break down. Some of which are inevitable, especially when combining weight training into your work outs. However the important factor here is to not EGO-lift. By this I mean, only lift a weight which is appropriate for you. DO NOT look around the gym and try and beat the person next to you. Lifting out of your comfort zone is more likely to precipitate injury & DOMS.
- Massage. There’s very little evidence out there to actually suggest sports massage improves DOMS. It certainly helps with other problems related to exercise, however DOMS specially, there’s not much out there to prove it works.
- Is there a cure? So unfortunately there’s no specific cure for DOMS. Trials of interventions including ice baths, foam rolling, light weight warm ups, glute activation, hydration and antioxidants have however shown some benefit.
- Is prevention better than cure? In short, yes prevention is better than cure when it comes to DOMS. Try and increase your work out intensity slowly and steadily. Though in the long term it may feel like you are making less progress. It will in fact mean that you will be able to train more regularly and consistently. Keeping hydrated and staying with an exercise regime for around 8 weeks as previously mentioned may also help.
Don’t hesitate to put your comments and experiences in the comments box below! I’d love to hear how you guys all combat the dreaded DOMS.
In the meantime I’m going to try and foam roll away this DOMS. I live in hope it will disappear before tomorrow’s ward round. And hopefully by listening to some of my own advice, DOMS can be a pain of the past…perhaps I’m being too optimistic. Wish me Luck!
Over & Out
The Gym Medic (aka. Dr. Sarah Bailey)
Facebook: Dr. Sarah Bailey