11 September 2012

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, Part 2

Posted by Jody under: Fitness .

DOMS usually doesn’t do any lasting damage, but its relative, rhabdomyolysis, although rare, is a medical emergency. This happens when there is so much muscle damage, especially together with dehydration, that the kidneys cannot handle the waste products.

Real-life examples are the woman who ran a half marathon without training for it and without sufficient water, and the man who returned to the gym the day after a DOMS-inducing workout and was told to do the same thing again. They both received medical attention and recovered from kidney failure. The police cadet who collapsed during an especially brutal basic training workout where water may have been limited did not recover.

So what are the take-home messages about DOMS?

Start a new program and introduce new exercises gradually, to minimize DOMS.

Do the eccentric part of the exercise, but don’t be surprised if you are sore.

Either rest or work out very lightly while the soreness persists.

Know that you do not have to be sore after every workout to be making gains. Stay hydrated while working out. Go easy on the anti-inflammatories.

Go ahead and do the offending exercise again when the soreness subsides, but don’t push too hard for another couple of weeks to make sure muscle repair is complete. Then go ahead and increase resistance gradually and you’ll be stronger than ever.

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