If you’re a workout beginner or returning to a new exercise routine, you most likely have experienced a case of delayed onset muscle soreness, otherwise known as DOMS.

It can take muscle groups time to adapt to new routines or a new training style. This can often leave your body feeling sore and lethargic. It’s important to understand that DOMS is a normal part to starting a new program and training load. 

If you are wondering how to overcome DOMS faster, keep reading to find out why you are feeling sore and how to recover quicker. 

What is DOMS?

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a sore, aching and sometimes painful feeling in the muscles after unfamiliar and unaccustomed intense exercise. 

When you experience DOMS, this means your body is suffering from inflammation from triggering certain muscles and can often be due to temporary muscle damage. 

What are the leading symptoms of DOMS?

Generally, soreness starts 24 hours after following the activity but usually peaks within 48 hours. There are a few common symptoms of DOMS which include:

  • Dull, diffuse pain and tenderness.
  • Achy and sore muscles that are tender to touch.
  • Decreased range of motion in nearby joints.
  • Decreased strength of the exercised muscle. 

If you experience any of these symptoms, there are a number of days to speed up muscle recovery.

Stay Hydrated

During training your muscles are working harder and demand more oxygen. It’s important to keep consuming water during your workout to replace the amount of fluid lost during your workout. 

Get enough sleep

Sleep is a powerful tool for both muscle recovery and preventing DOMS. Aim for a minimum of 7 - 8 hours per night to help your body rejuvenate. 

Get a massage

Massages are one of the most effective ways to reduce pain and aid muscle recovery by easing inflammation. You can also massage your own muscles by rubbing your muscle groups to help ease symptoms. 

Take time to increase circulation

As you have small muscle tears, when you increase circulation and blood flow, you shorten the duration of DOMS. Ways to do this can be through an epsom salt bath, stretching or foam rolling.

Having DOMS is a positive sign that you have properly completed your strength training and an indication you are building lean muscle mass. DOMS generally gets better on its own after a few days when you don’t target that same muscle group for a few days. It’s important to use your rest days effectively and focus on listening to your body.