Sore muscles seem to be part of the workout package for athletes and even the average Joe trying to get in shape. The phenomenon of muscle soreness is so common that many people are familiar with it and have their own method for dealing with muscle soreness.
This soreness sets in after about 24 to 48 hours and will likely be felt in the muscles that were used most heavily while exercising. This is not always the case though since muscles can build up a resistance to this soreness.
The soreness referred to here is different than other aches and pains that you might feel in connection to your workout routine. For example, if you are using a resistance machine to perform calf extensions and you set the resistance too high you will feel a sharp pain in your calves immediately after performing the last rep.
Two Types of Muscle Soreness
There are even some who suggest that muscle soreness can be separated into two categories. The first would be called DOMS, standing for delayed onset muscle soreness, while the second would be left as simple muscle soreness.
The two types of muscle soreness are probably related, the latter being a less developed version of the first. DOMS then, refers to the more intense muscle soreness that seems to set in within 24 to 48 hours following the exercise.
Although many athletes and exercisers cope with DOMS as part of their regular training the perspective of a sports medic on the phenomenon is more complex. There have been different theories in the past as to why muscles would get sore following a workout but none of the theories are universally accepted.
Since there is no clear reason why these exercises would lead to muscle soreness there is not a definite solution for how DOMS should be prevented or treated. There are, at best, a few suggestions that could lead an individual to better deal with DOMS in relation to his or her personal workouts.
DOMS is related to the amount of unaccustomed, stressed eccentric muscle contractions performed. This means that biceps would likely get sore following an unusually intense bout of bicep curls because of the lowering of the dumbbells rather than because of lifting them.
Treating Muscle Soreness
There have been numerous suggestions about how to treat and prevent DOMS. Light workouts on a treadmill, massages and stretching after the initial workout could offer some relief from DOMS.
One online source suggests that the only way to prevent DOMS is to build up a muscle’s resistance so gradually that the resultant muscle soreness is undetectable. This suggestion, if applied, would result in rather mild workouts that would leave the average exerciser unsatisfied.