DOMS… it’s not a street drug, dude.


Get your head out of the gutter dudes…

DOMS stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

Have you ever noticed that you are WAY more sore 2 days after a killer workout than you were the day after?

That’s DOMS!

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) describes a phenomenon of muscle pain, muscle soreness or muscle stiffness that occurs in the day or two after exercise. This muscle soreness is most frequently felt when you begin a new exercise program, change your exercise routine, or dramatically increase the duration or intensity of your exercise routine.

This sort of muscle pain is not the same as the muscle pain or fatigue you experience during exercise. Delayed soreness is also unlike the acute, sudden and sharp pain of an injury such as a muscle strains or sprain that occurs during activity and often causes swelling or bruising. The delayed muscle soreness of DOMS is generally at its worst within the first 2 days following a new, intense activity and slowly subsides over the next few days.

What Causes Muscle Soreness After Exercise?

Delayed onset muscle soreness is thought to be a result of microscopic tearing of the muscle fibers. The amount of tearing (and soreness) depends on how hard and how long you exercise and what type of exercise you do. Any movement you aren’t used to can lead to DOMS, but eccentric muscle contractions (movements that cause muscle to forcefully contract while it lengthens) seem to cause the most soreness.

Using a Foam Roller After Exercise May Help Reduce Soreness

One technique I’ve used with some success to reduce my own muscle soreness is to use a foam roller regularly as a part of my cool down. This has been particularly helpful for me after a long run or after I start a new type of exercise (like Crossfit) or a new weight training routine.

Tips for Dealing with Muscle Soreness After Exercise

If you do find yourself sore after a tough workout or competition, try these methods to deal with your discomfort.

  • Use Active Recovery. Performing easy low-impact aerobic exercise increasing blood flow and is linked with diminished muscle soreness.
  • Rest and Recover. If you simply wait it out, soreness will go away in 3 to 7 days with no special treatment.
  • Try a Sports Massage. Some research has found that sports massage may help reduce reported muscle soreness and reduce swelling.
  • Try an Ice Bath or Contrast Water Bath.
  • Use R.I.C.E., the standard method of treating acute injuries.
  • Perform Gentle Stretching.
  • Try a Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory. Aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium may help to temporarily reduce the muscle soreness.
  • Try Yoga. There is growing support that performing Yoga may reduce DOMS.
  • Warm Up completely before your next exercise session.

** If your pain persists longer than about 7 days or increases despite these measures, consult your physician.

Did you learn anything new today?

Have you experienced DOMS?

Do you have any other tips and tricks for dealing with muscle soreness?




19 thoughts on “DOMS… it’s not a street drug, dude.

  1. afoster0421 says:

    Arnica Cream is A-MAZING!!!!! It’s a natural anti-inflammatory and it’s found in cream form so you can you can combine the anti-inflammatory and massage suggestions you share in your post. I used to only be able to find arnica in natural food stores but I’ve started to see it pop-up in more main stream establishments – just check the actual percentage in the cream. I have definitely found that getting back on the horse (a smaller more tame horse though!) within 24 hours like you suggest is also a pretty sure way to combat DOMS. great suggestions!!!


    • RatherBeRunnin' says:

      Focusing on anti-inflammatory foods (ie. cherries, walnuts, etc.) would have a beneficial effect on muscle soreness. I try to eat cherries every day and a lot of runners incorporate beets into their smoothies… so it’s worth a shot!


  2. Debbie @ Deb Runs... says:

    Great recovery tips! I’d also add drinking plenty of water to keep the blood flowing to help speed up recovery. As much as I hate them, ice baths are probably the best for me for post-marathon soreness. DOMS rules my body for days after a marathon where I’ve really pushed myself for a specific time!


  3. says:

    Your DOMS suggestions are great… I need to watch a video on how to use my foam roller. I try to but get frustrated.
    Today I learned about NEOs – Near Earth Objects – at a conference. It was VERY interesting!


  4. lissa0269 says:

    I always have a protein shake with some glutamine powder mixed in right after a training/run session. I am also a HUGE advocate for the foam roller! I can’t speaking highly enough about it’s benefits and uses! I’m gonna be reblogg this 🙂


  5. Pandora Viltis says:

    I get DOMS after every session with my personal trainer, who does crossfit-type workouts with me. And I do yoga 3-5 times a week, which I woukd say helps with all sorts of things, including DOMS and my running (especially for my hip flexors and ankles). I also use tons of Icy Hot patches and sleep in compression socks after long runs. Oh, and SLEEPS helps 😉


  6. unsportywomencanrun says:

    Great post. Love the foam roller, it’s fantastic to get rid of the soreness. I’ve noticed a big difference in recovery time since incorporating a few yoga poses into my stretch routine. Husband insisted I try a post-run/workout recovery protein shake. I didn’t know it was working so well until I ran out and didn’t use it for a few weeks. That stuff really works.


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