Defining muscle soreness

“Wow! What an unbelievable Leg workout! I feel great, though completely exhausted. I just wonder how I will feel tomorrow ?”. In my mind I knew all too well what laid ahead of me, and the intrinsic questioning was a plea for help. That next day I pressed one leg on the ground only to understand that when my weight bared down my leg defiantly escaped the scene, it was as though my brain and leg in the middle of the night negotiated a separation. We all can recall this  feeling or for those that are yet to feel the wrath of training pain (Enjoy !=)). That  excruciating pain followed by a sudden and spontaneous case of  immobility , looks to the average joe like baby who is taking his first steps at birth. The known term for this pain is DOMS ( Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and you will be familiar with it in your life.


Post muscle camp with Andy Bell and Ben Pakulski was just one of those weeks that taught me the lessons of muscle soreness, entail and physical exhaustion and training psychology.

So what and how does muscle soreness occur otherwise known as DOMS :

As noted by Wikepedia “Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), also called muscle fever, is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise. The soreness is felt most strongly 24 to 72 hours after the exercise.It 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”.

As unpleasant as DOMS may be the question has to be asked, how do we reduce its lasting effect ?

As a personal trainer you hear all kinds of post workout soreness relief methods from your clients, affiliates and coaches, from lavender pillows all the way to panadene fort. It is not to say these methods don’t work or it must have supported scientific backing to be considered, though as a personal trainer I feel I should shine a little light o this subject and highlight some remedies I have used.

Methods I have used :

  1. Post training slow walk and sauna with myofascial treatment
  2. BCAA supplement powder 15-20 g post workout
  3. Magnesium cream at night in arterial points ( Back of knees, neck)
  4. Magnessium salt bath
  5. Post workout tiger balm massage
  6. Compression pants worn at night
  7. Hot and cold showers

Science Assess DOMS:

Muscle soreness

“Multiple treatments have been advocated for the treatment of DOMS. The efficacy of these treatments is inconsistent, and both positive and negative results are reported. It appears that anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, or ketoprofen have shown some potential in alleviation in some but not all symptoms of DOMS. However, variation in dosage and mode of damage used make generalization of results difficult. Treatment using more conventional therapies such as icing, massage, or stretching is also inconsistent. There appears to be some potential for the use of icing as a treatment. Other variations of treatment including acupuncture, herbal remedies, and HBOT appear to have limited effect. Although some treatments such as antioxidant therapy appear promising, further work is warranted. In fact, much room exists for the implementation of more well-controlled, randomized studies to assess the effects of many of the aforemen- tined treatments”. (Declan A.J et al. 2003. 17(1), 197–208)

To learn more about DOMS click the link below:

Is no pain no gain a true measure of a great workout


Declan A.J. Connolly, Stephen P. Sayers, and Malachy P. Mchugh. (2003) Treatment and Prevention of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2003, 17(1), 197–208 .  National Strength & Conditioning Association. Retrieved from  16/1/15



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