Muscle soreness after exercise can put a real kink in your training. Find out what DOMS is, how to prevent it and what you can do to ease delayed onset muscle soreness if you get it.
Nearly anyone who works out regularly has experienced sore muscles after exercise. Sometimes you’ll feel it later that night, or the next morning … and in some cases, you may actually think you’re out-of-the-woods, only to wake up two days later with stiff, tender muscles that feel as tight as rubber bands.
It’s known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (also called “DOMS”), and it’s both loved and reviled by exercise fanatics. Loved, because many people view DOMS as a sign that yesterday’s workout was effective, but hated at the same time because in severe cases, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness can prevent you from comfortably hitting the gym again.
And in the case of calf muscle soreness — which plagues runners as often as weight lifters — it can literally make going down a flight stairs in the morning a three minute ordeal.
Symptoms of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
You probably have a case of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness if you experience any of the following symptoms:
Loss of mobility or reduced range of motion
Muscle tenderness, including when the muscle belly is pressed with the fingers
Loss of strength
Acute muscle twitches or spams
The extent and duration of these symptoms may vary from person-to-person and are largely dependent on the amount of resistance — especially eccentric resistance — placed on the muscles during exercise.