One of the most uncomfortable effects of vigorous training, especially those who engage in resistance training, is delayed-onset muscle soreness or DOMS. It’s that intense feeling of extreme muscle soreness coupled with exhaustion and sometimes nausea. It’s called delayed-onset because these symptoms are typically felt a day after intense training. It is now believed to be an inflammatory response to damage to the muscle and connective tissues brought about by exercise. The good news is that there are ways to avoid such an excruciating experience. Here are 10 of them.
Always Warm Up before Going Full Blast
The whole point about warming up before any workout session is to prepare the muscles, joints, ligaments, and other components of the musculoskeletal system. Before hitting the workout floor, it is best to perform a lot of warmup exercises for a good 10 to 15 minutes. This helps extend the joints to their maximum range of motion and minimize injury to these tissues.
Consider Foam Rolling Before and After Training
Followers of myofascial relief will be glad to learn that their favorite device – the foam roller – can also be used to prevent delayed-onset muscle soreness. Just like warming up, foam rollers can help loosen up tight muscles and joints so they become more efficient during workouts. Similarly, foam rolling can also relieve muscle knots which typically develop after training.
Take Branched Chain Amino Acids before Training
Amino acids are essential for building tissues, especially muscles. When muscle tissues get damaged because of training, your body will need readily available amino acids to help start the rebuilding process. This helps minimize the occurrence of delayed-onset muscle soreness while also helping ensure more resilient muscle tissues for succeeding training.
Load Up on Caffeine
While there is no conclusive evidence that shows caffeine can mitigate delayed-onset muscle soreness, it is a general observation that those who do drink a cup or two of their favorite caffeinated beverages like coffee or tea can improve their muscle strength as well as endurance. When combined with warm-ups and foam rolling, this can be a great way to prevent DOMS.
Avoid Abrupt Stops
There are individuals who stop their training sessions in a rather abrupt manner. This ‘shocks’ the muscle tissues and can lead to significant tear in the musculature. As such, abruptly stopping one’s training sessions should be avoided at all cost. Instead, a gradual easing of the intensity of the exercises should be observed.
All cells including muscles require a liquid environment to help prevent overheating and ensure optimum metabolic functions of the cells. When cells overheat, they are more prone to damage. Drinking water every 10 to 15 minutes should do the trick.
Replenish Lost Electrolytes during Workout
One of the reasons why delayed-onset muscle soreness occurs is because of electrolytes lost through sweating and deep breathing. Just like drinking water, you should also replenish your electrolytes by drinking an appropriate sports drink. Eating slices of avocados and whole bananas can also help as these are rich in electrolytes.
Get a Cold and Hot Shower Right After Training
Known as contrast hydrotherapy, taking a hot shower expands your blood vessels allowing them to be filled with blood. Following it up with a really cold shower constricts the blood vessels and forces the blood to move to the tissues. What this essentially means is that by taking an alternating hot and cold shower, you are pushing nutrients in the blood to the muscles so they can start the repair process.
Snack on Carb-Rich Before and After Workout
Before you go on a workout, make sure to consume a snack that is rich in carbohydrates, moderate in proteins, and low in fat. This will help give your body the energy that it needs to push itself through the training without necessarily using up the proteins that your muscles need. The same is true after working out. You should always go for a post-workout snack that’s rich in carbs following a carb-to-protein ratio of 4:1.
Consider Wearing Compression Clothing
People wearing compression clothing have a much lower chance of getting delayed-onset muscle soreness. These types of garments can help increase the flow of blood to the muscles which, in turn, can reduce the risk of creatine kinase buildup. This substance is one of the culprits for muscle soreness. So, if you can prevent such a buildup, then you won’t have DOMS.
Delayed-onset muscle soreness can affect anyone, even seasoned bodybuilders and weightlifters. The good news is that there are always ways by which you can prevent this from happening or at least minimize its intensity.
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