By Katie Watson

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Doms…doms….doms! It’s the beginning of the new year and many of you have begun working hard on your health goals. You’re probably feeling the effect of those hours you’ve put in at the gym or those home workouts! If your legs are screaming at you on Tuesday for Monday’s workout, I have some tips that will help.  

DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, usually occur 6-48 hours after a workout and can last for several days. The soreness you are feeling is a sign that you have, indeed, torn your muscle fibers. Which when trying to build muscle or get stronger is what needs to happen in order for the body to build it back stronger than ever. However, you don’t want this soreness to be extreme or long lasting and prevent you from continuing with your new workouts. 

Tip #1 – Stretch

muscle soreness

Stretching before and after your exercise is not just to warm up and cool down, but to help your muscles and tendons return to a balanced length and tension of their fibers. To help them return to a more neutral state. For example, after completing a shoulder workout your trapezius muscles may still be up by your ears, tight and ready for action. You want to stretch them after the workout to allow those traps to relax back down to a neutral state and stop being on high alert.  

Tip #2 – A Warm Bath

Warm Bath and/or Epsom Salt bath – Taking a warm bath has been shown to help those muscles relax even further. You don’t necessarily need epsom salt to alleviate sore muscles, the warm water will suffice. However, epsom salt contains magnesium, an essential mineral, that assists in several metabolic functions in the body, including protein synthesis, the process of using amino acids to build muscle. The faster your body can repair the torn muscle fibers the quicker you’ll be back to moving pain free and exercising. Getting enough magnesium in your diet will also help you recover better and faster.

(PDF) Magnesium supplementation in top athletes – effects and recommendations)

muscle soreness

Tip #3 – Massage Time!

Getting a massage right after an intense workout can help you recover faster. I don’t know about you, but I cannot afford a massage after every workout. I wish!  I do have this nifty massage gun that has been a real game changer for me in my recovery! Before I had this I wasn’t sure if I could keep up with my exercise routine because I was so sore! But once I started using this neat little tool I have felt a HUGE difference in my recovery and being able to get back to it. (No, I’m not paid to say this and this is not sponsored, I genuinely love it!) It is the PulseTech Percussion Therapy Gun from Nordic Track.

muscle soreness

Tip #4 – Self Myofascial Release

Going along with massage, self-myofascial release (SMR) or foam rolling, can also be beneficial in reducing pain caused by DOMS. SMR not only helps with the pain from DOMS but also improves range of motion caused by DOMS and other restricting factors. This is a great tool whether you suffer from DOMS or not. 

Tip #5 – Light Strength Training

Getting blood flow through the sore and stiff muscles is important because blood is the delivery service of everything the muscles need to repair themselves.

I have found that on day 2 or 3 of my own DOMS, instead of doing a barbell squat I’ll do bodyweight squats for 5 or 6 reps in my warmup, and that is enough to get some blood flow moving in those sore muscles again. Getting blood flow through the sore and stiff muscles is important because blood is the delivery service of everything the muscles need to repair themselves.  Give yourself a few days and then try some body weight exercises to get those muscles moving again. 

Well, there you have it, my 5 trainer tips on combating DOMS so you can keep moving towards your fitness goals. 

If you have any tricks up your sleeve you have found helpful with DOMS, tell me in the comments! Let’s help each other out!

For more tips and motivation, follow me on Instagram @upliftedbykatie.

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