Daily Archives: April 4, 2011

Move It Monday – DOMS

Happy Monday! Or at least, I hope it was a happy one :)

Today’s Move It Monday is all about PAIN.

I talked recently about dealing with the pain of an injury. But today I’m talking about the kind that while a little less serious, is still annoying nonetheless.

You may have come across the term DOMS before. It’s thrown around a lot in the weight lifting world, and stands for “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.”

It’s usually experienced one to three days after a workout. Put simply, exercise (especially weight training) causes small tears in your muscle fibres. Muscle building happens when those tears are repaired with a little bit of extra muscle. On average, it takes around 48 hours for these repairs to happen. That’s when your muscles will feel sore and why it’s always recommended to wait a day between working muscle groups.


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If you want to get even more into it, DOMS is caused specifically by eccentric motion. That’s the part of a muscle contraction  where the muscle lengthens. Think of a bicep curl. Bringing the dumbbell toward you is the “concentric” part of the contraction where your bicep squeezes and shortens. Bringing the dumbbell down is the eccentric where your muscle is still contracted, but lengthens out. There is also “isometric” which is a static contraction. That’s like an exercise with no reps, such as a plank. The concentric and isometric contractions aren’t as responsible for soreness. The eccentric is.


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Now that you understand exactly what causes DOMS, it’s time to know ways to manage it. There are a few extra things to consider:

1. Changing your exercise program will likely increase your chances of DOMS. Your body is smart. It will grow accustomed to exercises to the point where those muscular tears no longer happen. Changing your routine will create those tears again, thus bringing on the DOMS!

2. It’s important to leave 48 hours between muscle groups. That means, if you did an upper body workout on Monday, don’t do it again until Wednesday.

3. You can workout if your muscles are still sore so long as you’ve let them rest for a day or two. If soreness lasts pat 72 hours without fading, see a doctor. You may have a deep tear or damaged something.

4. To prevent DOMS, make sure you warm-up, cool-down and stretch after your workout. Drink lots of water!!

5. If an area becomes inflamed, take an anti-inflammatory like Ibuprofen and ice it for 10-15 minutes. I regularly do this on my joints after running.

6. Remember to keep moving. Sitting in the same position for 8 hours after a workout will make your muscles stiff after a workout. Remind yourself to get up and move around even when you’re done your workout for the day.

One thing I also regularly use on muscles is RUB-A535:

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The company sent me some to review for the blog which I happily accepted. I’m already a regular user! It has a soothing, cooling affect. Much like Tiger Balm but not quite as potent. Years ago I used it often on my neck and shoulders which would get sore from mopping at Starbucks. These days I am using it on my left bicep and forearm. They’re always tense and sore because of my broken elbow and I find RUB-A535 helps soothe it out for my physio exercises.

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The company also sent me Arnica, which I have actually never used before. I’ve been using it directly on my broken elbow joint where I often get tender and bruised. I LOVE IT. I mean, it stinks to the high heavens, but I can take it for the relief it gives me.

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My elbow keeps getting bruised because I keep knocking it into things! I have bad special awareness these days considering my elbow is stuck pointing out at 90 degrees all the time. I even banged it on a knife the other day and cut part of my scar open!!

The kind “RUB Gang” have offered some goodies for you too friends!

RUB Arnica Prize Pack

  • Epsom salts
  • Yoga mat
  • Neck pillow
  • Stretching bands
  • Water bottle
  • Hot/cold packs
  • RUB A535 product

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what your favourite method of pain relief is. Massage? Acupuncture? A stiff drink? Chime in! Contest closes Thursday at 8am ET, winner will be announced in my post that night.

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