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Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Updated on February 23, 2011

Many times, when a person exercises, they will feel sore after a certain period of time. This often happens when a person is new to working out. The soreness can also be contributed to an exercise that has not been done before, therefore, the body needs to adapt. This soreness is known as delayed onset muscle soreness. (or DOMS abbreviated) The soreness usually occurs within 24 hrs after a workout has been done. The soreness associated with DOMS does not necessarily indicate a bad workout. The reason you are sore can derive from a number of possibilities. The three most common reasons are as follows, your new to working out, a new exercise has been performed for the first time, or you had a very intense training session and it prompted delayed onset muscle soreness. Do not fear this soreness. This will occur to nearly everyone at one point or another. If your a bodybuilder or a powerlifer, then this will be more prevalent as the workouts are generally very intense, but short. The soreness as mentioned, occurs about 24-48 hours after the workout. The time can be sooner though. The soreness can last for days, and sometimes over a week.

New to working out with delayed onset muscle soreness

If your new to working out, then your almost guaranteed to get DOMS. This will,however, depend on how intense the workouts are though. For example, if your new to benching, and perform 3 sets with moderate weight, then expect your chest to be sore. Delayed onset muscle soreness can occur in any muscle group, but it will be more prompted to occur if you are performing compound movements. These compound movements could be benching, deadlifting, squatting, shoulder press, and other various exercises. Smaller exercises can still make DOMS happen,however, the soreness won't be as bad. The soreness will also last longer in bigger muscle groups, and shorter in smaller ones usually. Have no fear though, as soreness almost always occurs for people new to working out. Just be careful not to over train. Another problem to avoid is, NEVER workout with a particular muscle group when you have DOMS until it goes away. Wait for it to subside. If you do not, then your over training. You can,however, workout again as long as your doing different muscles that are not sore. For example, your chest/shoulders are sore, you can still workout the legs the following day. Just avoid working muscle groups that still suffer from it.


New to a specific exercise

Even if you have been working out for a while, delayed onset muscle soreness can still occur. This is especially true when your introduced to a new exercise. When your body gets used to the same workouts consistently, doms may be reduced. However, if you perform a new exercise, doms may reoccur again. For example, you have been doing leg exercises such as leg extensions, leg curls, and calve raises for a long period of time. One day, your introduced to squats...Squats are a very strong compound movement and can definitely prompt doms if you have never done it before.(assuming you worked hard enough)

Doms associated with bodybuilding, powerlifting, and general weightlifting

When training 3-4 days a week intensely, delayed onset muscle may occur after every workout. This will vary in individuals, but most weight lifters will suffer this soreness after every workout. This is even more true when your progressively increasing weight weekly. Your body keeps getting more workload, and this muscle soreness will likely occur continuously. The only time this may not occur, is if your doing something that's very light weight, and your body is fully adapted to it.

Is Delayed onset muscle soreness a good indicator of a good workout?

Doms does not always indicate whether or not you had a great workout. Many people may simply not get this soreness sometimes. You can still get stronger without getting it. If your body is so used to a specific exercise, then you may not get it even if your slowly increasing the amount of weight. A lot of people like to think that it does indicate a good workout, which it often does, but does not mean you absolutely need to be sore every time.

Do you get delayed onset muscle soreness every workout?

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    • David 470 profile image

      David 470 7 years ago from Pennsylvania, United States

      Thanks for the comment TonyShepard.

      I get DOMS most of time except in biceps, except I been able to do incline curls which now got me doms in them.

    • TonyShepard profile image

      TonyShepard 7 years ago from Dallas Texas

      Funny you should post this article. Every time I work out I get DOMS. It is pretty intense up until the late evening when I begin workout and what ever soreness is left I just push through to completion. Thanks for another informative article David 470.

      Kindest Regards,

      Tony S.