Many of our clients ask us 'why after two consecutive days of attending a Pilates Circuit class do I feel sore after the workout'? It is important to clarify what kind of soreness they are experiencing. Is it 'good pain' also know as muscle pain or 'bad pain' like an injury or a response to non-optimal loading? The easiest way to differentiate between the two is good pain takes only a day or two for the soreness of their muscles and to ease, where as bad pain often lasts longer and does not leave you feeling stronger but rather the opposite!
As a Physiotherapist this good pain or more accurately known as DOMS which stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, is something we are continually aiming to push our clients towards when they are wolfing on a strength and endurance type program. DOMS is a normal and necessary part of strength and endurance training and cannot really be avoided especially if you are the person who wants to push yourself through your limits in a certain workout or activity.
DOMS specifically occurs when you try a new set of exercise, change your exercise routine whether its intensity or the frequency. What’s happening is your muscles tends to get micro tears because they worked hard than usual then results to being sore the next days. These micro tears is not too bad as it looks “having tears in my muscle” it is actually good. When your muscle tears it will regenerate itself and that is the time they also get bigger and stronger. Researchers said that it is normal to have DOMS for two to three days, in which the first two days is much severe.
It is very alarming for people whom have tried to exercise the first time but not to worry it is just a way of your body trying to adopt to that certain loads in a workout.
Will you still experience DOMS even if you work out every day? YES! As long as your exercises are being altered and it challenges you more you will still feel the hard work you’ve put through. Most people also thinks that they have really worked hard if they feel so sore the next day but it is not the only thing that implies of having a great workout.
An example of “DOMS-inhibiting” exercise is eccentric type of contractions in your muscles, in which your muscle tends to contract while they are lengthening or stretching. (e.q. forward lunges, running up and downhill or even in the stairs)
There is no specific treatment for DOMS rather there are ways to prevent it from occurring too often or too much. You may want to gradually change the frequency or intensity of your exercises, thus your body won’t have to work too much than usual. There are also ways to gracefully recover from DOMS. You can have a remedial massage- helps to move blood and fluid circulation in the body which can help in the micro tears in the muscles. Use foam roller before you work out again or just by simply getting your muscles warmed up before another war begins. Another is getting enough sleep, a lot of people take sleep for granted and it is one of the vital recipes in getting your body ready for a good workout and properly building it.
If your body or muscle soreness does not get better after three to four days and you feel still very heavy in your body, it is wise to consult a Physiotherapist.
Otherwise, enjoy DOMS as much as you can it means you are in the right track in exceeding your limits in your workout regimen.