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  • Writer's pictureJacky Wu

Why the "DOMS"

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

After the tentative walk down the stairs leaving the gym after a leg session, we’ve all experienced the love/hate cycle of performing basic tasks the day after, or even the day after the day after leg day:

Gets out of bed: “Ow, my legs. Yeah, good squat session yesterday!”Puts on pants: “Ahh, yep, okay, those deadlifts really did the trick!”Sits on toilet: “Maybe I can I just hold off. Stupid Romanian deadlifts!”Drops keys: “Oh, bloody lunges!”

This is the classic delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which tends to kick in from as soon as six to eight hours post-exercise, and peaks around the 48 hour mark, though there is much individual variation of this timeline. And while lower body soreness tends to be more inhibiting and memorable, the phenomenon certainly isn’t limited to the legs. DOMS can occur anywhere in the body that has recently been exposed to unfamiliar or intense physical activity.

What Causes DOMS?

The archaic theory for the mechanism of DOMS being a build-up of lactic acid and toxic metabolic waste products has largely been rejected. DOMS also appears to occur due to connective tissue microtrauma. It’s worth mentioning that while most exercise can induce some DOMS, exercise with a greater emphasis on the eccentric phase (the lengthening or stretching phase) plays the most significant role in the manifestation of DOMS.

Does Getting DOMS Mean I’ll Build More Muscle?

Quick answer: Not really. But though it may enhance it, to an extent and develop a pathway for the neuromuscular adaption

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