DOMS – Behind Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness


We’ve all felt that muscle tenderness feeling a day or so after a hard training session yet many folks don’t know what it is and what impact it has on our body. The official term for this muscle tenderness is “Delayed onset muscle soreness” or DOMS for short, it is known as this as the tenderness can happen up to a few days after a session. Scientists formerly thought this sore feeling was thanks to a build up in lactic acid in the muscles that were trained but this concept has been pushed aside by a new speculation on muscle tenderness.

The fact that this idea doesn’t hold and was pushed aside is often because lactic acid doesn’t last long in a particular area and disperses after exercise. The new speculation is that the muscle tenderness you may feel is due to pushing the body slightly further than the accustomed levels it is used to whilst training.

This causes small tears in the muscle fibres. When lifting heavier weight than you are used to, the strain causes the muscle to lengthen. What this means is that as you are lifting a weight your muscle is not just lifting the weight. When muscles are put under intensive loading, as due to weight lifting, small tears happen in the muscle fibres which causes your muscle tenderness. What this suggests is that the tenderness you are feeling is positive as you have pushed your body and now it is going to get stronger, essentially this is what a weight-trainer is trying to attain. Each time you train you are basically ripping your muscles apart and they are going to repair themselves stronger then before to accommodate this. What this does mean is that you mustn’t train the muscle grouping that’s sore till the tenderness subsides as you might overtrain causing a negative effect on the muscle. This suggests breaking up your gym schedule to compensate (train one day, have a day off to aid muscle repair).

When you first start going to the gym to lift weigh you may expect to feel sore for the initial few times you train as your muscles becomes acclimatized to the movements you do. Over time you won’t feel the tenderness as much as the muscles get to know the movements so delayed onset muscles soreness will begin to be a thing of the past, at least until you change your routine or increase the lifted weight dramatically.