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Confession … I don’t drink alcohol, so don’t know what a hangover feels like, yet each time I end up with Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (a.k.a. DOMS) I think to myself “my ___ (fill in the blank with the appropriate body part!) is having a hangover” as the thought of doing another rep of pullups or squats, is enough to make me have a little cry and fry up some bacon.
DOMS typically happens 24 to 48 hours AFTER a workout (hence the word ‘delayed’) and isn’t just for the newbies of CrossFit. It can happen any time you change up a routine – add weight to your barbells or movement, add height to jumps or length/duration to your workout.
DOMS is thought to be caused by eccentric (lengthening) exercise, which causes microtrauma to the muscle fibers. After such exercise, the muscle adapts rapidly to prevent muscle damage, and thereby soreness, if the exercise is repeated.
The good news? After performing an unaccustomed eccentric exercise and exhibiting severe soreness, the muscle rapidly adapts to reduce further damage from the same exercise. This is called the “repeated-bout effect” and as a result of this effect, not only is the soreness reduced, but other indicators of muscle damage, such as swelling, reduced strength and reduced range of motion, are also more quickly recovered from.
So, the next time you wake up and find yourself having to lower your head as if in prayer to put on your glasses or dry your hair because your arms aren’t able to go above your shoulders or wonder if anyone would notice if you didn’t wear socks with your slip-on’s as the thought of bending over low enough to put on socks or tie your laces is just too much, take a look at these tips to help relieve some of the DOMS.
Check out these past articles on DOMS:
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