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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


Posted on April 4, 2011, in Move It Monday. Bookmark the permalink. 57 Comments.

  1. For me the best way to relieve all the aches and pain wold have to be a long massage!

  2. OUCHIE! I’m experiencing it right now. Unfortunately it’s from something less than glamorous: yard work. My hamstrings are very tight and very sore, and very angry.

  3. Lauren Simmons

    My favourite method of pain relief is a new find called “The Stick” ( Recommended to me by my chiro/ART for my mechanical foot pain, it’s a hand-held massage tool with small round plastic pieces that you rub into your tight muscles. The technique/sensation is much like foam rolling, but more hands-on and for smaller muscles. Foam rolling still works for my quads/glutes/hams, and of course it hurts while I’m doing it, but the next-day relief from both The Stick and foam rolling is worth the pain of doing them and saves me the trip to the chiro or massage. I ran the Harry’s Spring 8k in Toronto this Saturday at race pace and then ran another 11k on Sunday, so I’ve got a date with the Stick tonight :)

  4. I’m a huge fan of Sombra – it’s a natural heat/cool therapy kind of like icy-hot. Takes away alot of joint an muscle pain and tightness! I’m also a big fan of foam rolling pain away.

  5. OOh Em Gee I want! That would save me right now as I’m ramping up my running! My fav pain relief is yoga and a glass of red wine. Rub downs from the hubs certainly doesn’t hurt. ;)

  6. Susan thanks for these posts. I’ve been back at the gym 3-4 times a week for a month now. I’m yet to do any serious weights, I’ve been wanting to get my km and speed up on the treadmills. However a friend and I have been boxing Wed nights, lots of fun.

    I ditched my old trance 6’s for a new pair of Brooks Trance 10 they are so comfy and my shins are hurting less and less the more I run. But can I be doing any serious damage pushing through the pain in my shins?

    • Not from shin splints, no. They’re most commonly a sign of doing too much too soon and happens in almost all newbie runners. Should go away after a few months! Remember the 10% mileage rule – only increase your weekly mileage by 10% at a time :)

  7. Far infrared herbal patches are great. Also, being married to a massage therapist is nice :)

  8. Good old massage and stretching!

  9. For me, a walk around my neighbourhood (as painful as it sometimes is) is often exactly what I need to loosen up my muscles after a tough workout. :)

  10. Hey who cares what it smells like if it works, right?!
    My fave would have to be ice and… good ol’ asprin.

  11. I love getting massages, but foam rolling is probably my favorite because it’s much cheaper!

  12. I loooove professional massages, but stretching is pretty awesome too ;)

  13. I like stretching while in the shower. Having super hot water on my muscles and just simply bending down to touch my toes always makes me feel relaxed.

    Yes, I’m weird =)

    Nicole G

  14. I like taking a warm bath with Eucalyptus oil in it…very soothing!

  15. Massage- using LUSH’s Wiccy Magic Muscles massage bar! So tingly and relaxing! :)

  16. Thanks for sharing! I haven’t heard of all of these. I love salonpas patches and biofreeze for my knees when they bug me. Lately I’ve been managing my pain with lots of icing and heat. It works pretty good if I’m consistent with it.

  17. My aching shoulders just perked up and did a happy dance at the sight of all those pain relievers. A long hot shower is definitely the best pain reliever for me – I can’t do icing, it just makes me feel more in pain! My best friend swears by Traumeel (some sort of anti-inflammatory from the health food store), but I haven’t tried it.

  18. I often have pain in my lower back, so for me, it’s lots of stretching, a special cream from my osteopath, same kind of Rub-a535, I keep moving around, mostly walking, but if it’s really bad and I have time and money, a visit to my osteopath just makes miracles!
    I love love love Arnica, it is a natural product really helpful when you tend to be really clumsy and knock yourself everywhere! If you don’t like the smell, try in natural products like Boiron, it doesn’t really smell

  19. My favorite method of pain relief is a nice hot shower and a couple tylenol (and/or aleve). I have RA so that always helps with my joint pain. If my hands are really bad washing the dishes rocks!

  20. Massages are always lovely on pain :)

  21. Great post. I heart Rub A535 – I went snowboarding a few years ago and let me tell you – that little tube saved my life. OMG – I would’ve been a tense/stiff mess without it.

    Anywho, if I had unlimited funds I’d hands down choose massages for relief of sore muscles, however – the more frugal side of me says that stretching and the RICE method seem to be more practical. :)

  22. A long deep stretch and self-massage works wonders, I find :) Thanks for the give away and thank you for documenting your journey! Take care!

  23. A glass of wine and a warm bath in my jetted tub is my ideal! I don’t often take the time to do this unfortunately.

  24. My favorite form of pain relief is a hot bath with Burt’s Bees Therapeutic Bath Crystals!

  25. I have been using arnica for years and just love it!

  26. A long hot shower followed by a glass of wine! Stretching and regular yoga classes also seem to help me avoid any long periods of soreness.

    Great post!

  27. A massage would be the ultimate pain relief, but I usually just settle for a heating pad and some pain relievers.

    Also, I love arnica! I use it on joint pain and deep bruises, and it works so well :)

  28. I keep my heating pad and aspirin in my nightstand :-)

  29. My favorite method of pain relief is a massage followed by a hot bath. Nothing beats it for me!

  30. I usually take a walk and a hot bath when I’m dealing with muscle soreness.

  31. Baaaa! Pain relief do I need you! My quads are sore pretty much all the time now, marathon training is not for wimps. After running for 3 hours I find it hard to go home to my husband who has been taking care of 3 little girls, and say “honey, now I’m going for a 45 min epsom salt bath”. Yeah right, I pretty much grin and bear it, but perhaps some A535 would help. Tonight is 9 hill repeats, I think I’ll pick some up this afternoon. What about blisters, can I complain about those too?
    Love this little giveaway.

  32. I’m a big fan of yoga to help with soreness. It opens up my hips and helps with sore calves from running!

  33. Maybe we’re just old-school but we live by Advil liquicaps here at our house. We always keep a HUGE bottle and it works for headaches, sprains, soreness, all sorts of aches! I’ll also use some Biofreeze if it’s an achey muscle post-workout pain.

  34. Massage. foam rolling and stretching.

  35. A glass of wine and a hot bath are my favorite remedies. A good massage never hurts either ; )

  36. I go for semi regular therapeutic massage – it’s not relaxing, it’s body work, but it is VERY beneficial.

    topically, I use biofreeze all the time.

  37. While I often try the “drink a giant beer” method, the one that works best for me is Icy Hot. True story: last week, I walked into a meeting and felt the need to say: “I apologize in advance for the fact that I smell like Icy Hot. I worked my shoulders too hard yesterday, and I forgot that I had a meeting when I put it on!”

  38. Wow, great giveaway!

    I would say a stiff drink but since I’m pregnant that’s not an option! Chiropractic adjustments have been my savior in the past and now that I have a whole new set of back issues I’m happy that I have a Dr. I know and trust.

    Arnica is pretty amazing – I used it a lot last year when I had some bruising issues caused by a blood disorder (low platelets).

  39. FOAM ROLLING, Icy Hot roll-on and hot tubs. I love sitting in hot tubs to help soreness!

  40. A hot shower usually helps me. And coconut milk ice cream makes me happy, so that really eases the pain too :)

  41. My favourite way of relieving muscle pain is actually a few steps. A hot shower, a little yoga and some massage (even better when I can bribe the boyfriend to do it for me!)

  42. given the NASTY fall that I just had running I would LOVE LOVE LOVE this one!

    I do yoga, accupuncture, arnica, hot baths, ice, you name it, I do it all.

  43. Massage, hands down!

  44. Thanks so much for this post!
    I have so many aches and pains from years of teaching, dancing and working out. I foam roll (when I force myself too), get deep tissue massages, visit my chiropractor on a regular basis, ice daily, stretch, yoga….

    I hope you are well on your way to feeling better and keeping your spirits up friend!


  45. I’m a big fan of icing, foam rolling aaaand a stiff drink. ;-) Wishing you a very quick recovery!

  46. A heating pad and a nap!

  47. you hit the nail right on the head with “the drink” comment—nothing beats a cold beer to take away that soreness!

    loving your blog, loving the progress you are making in coming back from a seriously devastating injury. your courage and poise? just wow.

  48. Massage works best for me… I kind of like the feeling because it tells me I worked out a lot, but it sucks when I am sore. ;)

  49. I use a combination of things, massage and heat probably work the best :)

  50. I would say for pain relief I do stretching. But I suppose it really depends on the type of pain I’m having at the moment. Sometimes, a bowl of self serve frozen yogurt does the trick. ;)

  51. definitely icing and then heat works best for me! and foam rolling if it is a tightness issue.

  52. i haven’t read your blog in so long! i was scrolling down and i saw the muscle rub…and i thought it said

    wow. i need to get a new contact prescription :D

  1. Pingback: Them Healing Vibes | The Great Balancing Act

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: