Delayed onset muscle soreness also known as DOMS. This is a common sensation felt after lifting weights. Most trainees actually base the success or effectiveness of their training sessions on how sore they get. However, this is not a good way to judge your workouts. Typically DOMS is characterised by muscle tenderness, stiffness and soreness and can actually slow down your progression in the gym if they occur too often due to being too sore to train again the next day.
Most of us like that feeling of waking up the next day a bit stiff after working out just enough to remind us that we've put in some good work however nobody likes that excruciating muscle pain when you can't even sit on the toilet! (ouch!) This level of DOM's is usually caused by training something completely new or just over training in general and can last up to 7 days.
Here are some tips on how you can help reduce and prevent DOM's and recover well after your workouts.
Step 1 - Sleep
Sleep is the number one factor to recovery. It's your body's only chance to completely shut down and rest. So get your 8 hours in guys. Try to "switch off" about 30 mins before you go to bed. Get into the habit of leaving the phone downstairs, make sure the room is dark and even try to read an enjoyable book before you fall asleep. Give your brain some down time, time away from the internet and the mundaneness of social media. Allow yourself to switch off before actually going to bed and you will be amazed in how different you sleep and how much better you actually feel the next day!
Step 2- Hydration
Exercising while dehydrated can cause greater damage to muscles and reduce the body’s ability to repair itself. So keeping your body hydrated throughout the day with a minmum of 3 litres of water and an extra litre when exercising will help in a speedy recovery.
Step 3 - Nutrition
Follow a nutrition plan that is complete in all macronutrients. A well nourished body will be better equipped to fuel your workout and recover efficiently!
Protein plays a crucial role in the recovery of broken down muscle fibres after resistance training.
For someone resistance training on a regular basis the recommended amount of protein daily is 1.0g - 1.5g per pound of body weight
Meal timing is also important, consume a well balanced meal with 2 hours of training.
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Step 4 - SMR
Self-myofascial release is performed in a sports massage or by using a foam roller. This technique has been proven to
reduce stiffness and release tenderness in a muscle. Be careful with foam rolling if you have never done it before. Check out some Youtube videos on how to foam roll certain parts of the body.
Step 5 - Active REcovery
Call it hair of the dog if you like! While you may want to become a hermit until the muscle pain passes, a better strategy for the body is some activity!
Your body wants to move so after suitable rest jump straight back in...
Step 6 - Yoga
Regular yoga sessions can help lesson or reduce Doms by maintaining the elasticity in the muscle fibres & release the myofascial surrounding the muscle tissue which in turn will reduce the risk of scar tissue & reduce your recovery time. Adding at least one yoga session into your training week will not only help with the pain of Doms, it will also reduce the risk of injury! Win Win!
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