How often and how long should you experience DOMS?
Delayed onset muscle soreness aka DOMS, is when you experience muscle soreness 24-72 hours after a workout. It is a breakdown of your muscle, which allows your body to build stronger muscles. Typically people experience DOMS after a hard workout, or when there is something “new” introduced into their routine of higher volume, range of motion, weight, or mode (running after walking for months as your activity). Our bodies adapt over time, so you should really only experience DOMS the first few times trying a new activity, or if you are irregular with activities.
Is DOMS a measure of a good workout?
Although delayed onset muscle soreness is when our muscles break down to build back up, we don’t want to or need to experience it regularly. (Click here for the pathophysiology about delayed onset muscle soreness.) DOMS takes 1-3 days to recover from. For that time, pending the severity, you have to back off on what you are doing exercise wise to allow your body to recover. It is not ideal to have to allow your body 1-3 days between every workout prior to being able to work that muscle group again. When we add new or increase in stimulus to our workouts or routines, we can expect DOMS, however, to stay consistent, you want to gradually build up over time, you allow your body to adapt and stay on track with your goals.
How should you manage DOMS?
To manage delayed onset muscle soreness, you will feel better if you move. I am not saying do a hard workout the following day, but going for a walk, getting up frenquently (1x/hour) and working on mobility will feel much better than doing nothing. It depends on the severity on how soon your next workout is, but you will want to allow your mucles time to recover. The first workout back should not be as intense, especially if you still have mild sorness.
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