If achy thighs, quads, or calves have left you limping a day or so after a super legs workout, you’ve experienced sore muscles after gym AKA delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). You probably asked yourself later, should you workout when sore ?
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a feeling that no one likes. Here are some tips how to keep your stiff muscles in check.
Stiff, sore, and weak muscles can reduce the ability to repeat exercises in consecutive workouts, therefore forcing a rotating training schedule. Acute causes of DOMS are up for debate, but the answer is likely multifold and can involve the inflammation, accumulation of lactic acid, free radical damage, and connective tissue damage. However, since DOMS typically occurs after heavy eccentric or “negative” movements, it’s thought that structural damage leads to the inflammation and pain.
Should you workout when sore ?
Plan to relieve the DOMS of one training session before working the same muscle groups again. If the pain is severe, you may have to take several days off to massage, stretch, ice, heat, and medicate your tender muscles. Stiff muscles restrict your joints’ range of motion, causing neuromuscular function to become dysfunctional. This nerve-to-muscle miscommunication causes irregularity of otherwise familiar movements and can result in injury. Periodized training that modulates training intensity, exercise types, and volume can help curb the performance detriment of DOMS.
Nutritional approaches include:
1) Taking 2-4g leucine from high-quality sources like whey isolate from a complete protein post-workout to reduce muscle damage and promote protein synthesis.
2) Taking caffeine pre- and post-exercise to improve neuro-muscular recovery.
3) Adopting a diet packed with omega-3 fatty acids from sources like fish oil, and eating more leafy greens. This can reduce inflammation and provide you with an influx of free-radical quenching antioxidants and nitric oxide–releasing nitrates.
DOMS isn’t a joint pain, tingling, numbness, or bruising; if you experience these symptoms, seek medical advice.