When it hurts to walk, sit, climb stairs and laugh 2 days after a workout..
You’ve met my little friend, DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness. We’ve all experience this; you wake up a day or 2 later after a new or an intense workout and you’re questioning where this pain is coming from. It’s a love-hate relationship; you love knowing you worked hard because you’re sore..but hate how badly it hurts to do daily activities-WHAT GIVES!
There are 2 types of muscle soreness you feel during exercise: immediate and delayed. Immediate soreness is the quick, acute pain or discomfort you feel as you’re exercising or the burning sensation immediately after the rep is finished. Delayed onset soreness is the
excruciatingpain you feel 24-48 hours after the workout. So what causes this pain and how can you prevent it? I’m so glad you asked..
While lifting, your muscles go through 2 phases-a concentric contraction (shortening of a muscle) and an eccentric contraction (lengthening of a muscle). For example, during the lowering phase of a squat, your muscles are eccentrically contracting (lengthening). As you press up, your muscles are concentrically contracting (shortening). Movements that require the muscles to both contract and lengthen simultaneously contribute to DOMS.
The good news about DOMS is that once you recover, you won’t feel that degree of pain again because your body has adapted to that level of intensity. Once the level of intensity increases though, he. will. be .back.
Warming up before a workout, stretching after a workout and taking a rest day if the soreness is unbearable may help alleviate DOMS, but there’s no way to prevent it. Another technique that can help with DOMS is self myofascial release.
Self myofascial release, or a poor man’s massage therapist, utilizes a foam roller to ease tight muscles and “roll” them out (excuse the pun!). The fascia (fibrous tissue) that connects muscles to bones becomes so tight that your range of motion and/or flexibility can be limited. By rolling over the foam roller and pausing when you feel a “hot spot”, (and taking deep, slow breaths) you’re releasing and lengthening the tight fascia and breaking down scar tissue that connects the muscles to bones. The break-down of scar tissue increases blood flow to the soft tissue, thus, soothing tight fascia and improving range of motion and flexibility. A foam roller is very inexpensive and come in different shapes and sizes (and color if that’s important to you ).
Foam rolling how-to’s will follow!