The morning after a workout when you swing your pins out of the bed for the first time only to realise they feel like you slept in a vat of battery acid. We’ve all experienced the deep burn in pretty much every fibre of your legs that has made the stairs, the bathroom, dropping anything and yes even the front door step your worst enemy. But what it is and how do we make it go away?
Firstly – it’s perfectly normal. Experiencing muscle ache after strenuous exercise is nothing new and nothing to be afraid of (obviously acute and debilitating pain in an isolated muscle might be something more). Generally, the pain most people feel, particularly in their legs, post WOD is DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness. The dull aches, the sharp pain, the stiffness and the tenderness are all a reaction of your muscles to the work you have put them through.
DOMS tends to be at its worst in the 24-72 hours after which it will slowly subside.
So how do we get over DOMS?
You don’t. There is no guaranteed immediate solution to muscle soreness (believe me if someone invented the pill that cured DOMS they would be minted).
However, there are things we can do to help us recover faster and get back to pain free legs.
The first is obvious – eat and sleep well. The body needs both the fuel and the time to heal those aching muscles. Getting some decent food into you, decent meaning nutritiously dense, and clock up some serious sleepy time and you will be kick starting your bodies recovery process.
Move – getting the blood flowing through the muscles will help to shift any toxins and inflammation out of them.
Time – there are something’s we just have to have patience with. Eat well, sleep well and move and in time your legs will feel like they belong to you again.
There are various other methods believed to assist with DOMS from ice baths, contrast showers to foam rolling and stretching. There has been extensive research in to all of them and there are a hundred pros and cons to all of them. Personally, I like ice baths and contrast showers and find them to work quite well. Foam rolling isn’t my jam but this doesn’t mean it won’t work for you – I guarantee you will get DOMS more than once in your life, have a play with various recovery methods and see which works for you.
Just remember the worst thing you can do – take a week of training to recovery, sit all day not moving because your legs are sore and eat a load of shit food.