A friend waddled up to my desk at the day job the other day. “Do you know how to get rid of DOMS?” she asked gingerly. Due to the fact I’m a dispicably annoying human being, I was instantly jealous of that day-after-exercise muscle ache she was experiencing. I love that feeling. I actually went through a period of time when it didn’t feel normal to wake up without DOMS from my workout the day before (and then I remembered my previous allegiance to cake and things got back to normal).

Anyway – you’ll probably be familiar with this post-workout pain, which can last as long as a week after your workout (Google says 72 hours, and I wholeheartedly disagree with such an optimistic figure). For me, DOMS always seem to hit me worst around 48 hours after my sweat sesh. The first morning after is a real “ooof!” when getting out of bed, but the next day? Movement is like self-inflicted torture! Stairs, lifting bags, stepping off kerbs and the mere act of breathing all hurt very much.

So what is it, and how can you help soften the killer blow of DOMS a little bit?

Well, in my best non-scientific, non-medically qualified voice (ready?)…..

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness can be attributed to the micro-lesions in your muscle fibres that happen during a workout (you make tiny tears in your muscles which quickly repair when you work them out). Orrrr it’s something to do with calcium stores and inflammation. Or it’s lactic acid stuck in your muscles.

Basically, it’s nothing dangerous, it will go away, and it flippin’ hurts.

DOMS Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness TipsNow you’ve had such a detailed explanation of what they are, here are my top tips for easing your ouchy DOMS!

  1. Take a warm bath with Epsom Salts
  2. Enjoy a stint in a steam room and sauna (I know, it’s a hard life)
  3. Drink a protein shake straight after your workout
  4. Get back to the gym and do another workout (I know, it will be like hell hath rained down upon your body, but trust me, it’ll help relieve the pain. Eventually.) Your DOMS from a workout after DOMS are never quite as bad if you ask me.
  5. And if you’re REALLY taking it seriously, or if you’re like an Olympian or something, then may I recommend an ice bath straight after your workout. And may I also take a moment to recommend that, if this applies to you, that you may like to read something a little more scientific than this blog post.
  6. If all else fails, just eat some cake. Cake will forgive you for everything.

HB, promise me one thing though! Don’t detest the DOMS, celebrate them! They’re a sign you worked out good and proper, gal!

One quick note though – if your DOMS last more than a few days, then best check you haven’t actually pulled something. DOMS are a dull ache, or at least an ache, where as having pulled a muscle is a far sharper sensation.

I remember doing a kettlebell class once where I couldn’t then move my hamstring the next morning. I was convinced it was DOMS until it lasted two weeks since my workout…. so yeah, just be sure to monitor DOMS if you feel anything funny like a snap or twist, or pain is sharp rather than achey.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be setting up a fake GP surgery in my shed and handing out non-verified health information by the armful. Form an orderly queue now, ladies.

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