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Who's afraid of the big, bad DOMS?

All too often inexperienced trainers go into the gym with the sole aim of blasting their muscles until they can hardly move them anymore. They wake up the next morning hardly able to move them and think they're onto a winner.

Guess what - they're not. Muscle soreness doesn't actually indicate that you're making any progress.

There are lots of ways to prevent and recover from DOMS. Firstly, static stretching after a workout is important. This helps you cool down and is an ideal time to actually stretch - your muscles should be nice and loose thus respond to stretching well.

Icing post-workout can also be useful - this can be as simple as using a bag of peas or ice massage with a block of ice out of the freezer. Ice baths or cold baths are also useful in this regards. Contrast showers are also good.

Foam rolling, a form of myofascial massage, is also useful for lessening the impact of DOMS. Indeed it is particularly useful on the middle back and quadriceps. This is a much cheaper DIY version of sports massage which you can do every day if you wish.

Finally, active recovery is the best way to get rid of DOMS when they have occured. Sled dragging is something practiced by many powerlifters and football teams in America - helping to get blood into the muscles without being overly exerting.

If you don't have access to a sled then just be inventive and do an exercise at the gym which will flush some blood around your muscles. You can even train the same exercise again. Just because you have DOMS doesn't mean you're a potato.

The introduction of new exercises into a regime, or a rapid increase in intensity, will usually always bring about some element of DOMS - thinking ahead is the best answer in this regard. Techniques such as drop-sets and training to failure are best avoided in most cases.


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