DOMS, officially known as delayed onset muscle soreness is a very funny thing. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with it, whereby I cannot live with it but I certainly cannot live without it either! If I have DOMS streaking through my muscles I know they have been worked hard, yet when I do have it the pain can sometimes be extremely, well painful! About 3 weeks ago after what can only be described as a Spartan leg workout which would have most people exhaling the lining of their stomach out, I was unable to sleep on my front for about 10 days. My thighs were in so much agony that I legitimately couldn’t sleep face down, I couldn’t really negotiate stairs very well and I certainly couldn’t get myself up from the sofa without letting the entire house know that my legs are still in bits! Enough was enough, there had to be a way to stop myself walking like a duck! So, what can we do to help this? There are certain things which I have found to help ease the pain of DOMS in my legs, some simple yet oh so effective! Try these yourself and see if you can regain the ability to walk within 2-3 days post-training.
Yes I know, I sound as though I am winding you up right with some kind of sick joke! You have just ripped your muscle fibres into pieces and now I am telling you to hit cardio. Well, not right after training. The day after your workout, try going for a 20 minute stroll just to get the blood pumping through your muscles. Doing this will force extra nutrients into the muscle to help with recovery and it will also help stretch the muscles. Recently, I have found my legs have recovered much faster as I have introduced some walking into my daily activity. I am not talking Olympic speed walking here, just a nice stroll to get the legs in motion!
Now this will apply to those who are either willing to pay for a massage, OR have a very kind partner who is willing to massage your legs. Personally I cannot say enough about the benefits of having a good, deep tissue massage on your legs especially, to help ease DOMS. Be warned, the first 5 minutes is agony because your legs are so tender. After that, it will eventually begin to help numb the pain. I believe this helps promote blood flow into the muscle, again leading to faster nutrient uptake and it will also help stretch out the fascia to further aid muscle growth for the future!
Since I was a nipper swimming was never something I particularly loved, and to this day I don’t really go mad for it. However, getting in 15-20 minutes swimming once a week after your leg workout can really help ease the pain of DOMS. Like walking, you are stopping the muscles from becoming too stiff and you are forcing blood into the area, yet you are using the water to make it as relaxing and as pain free as possible.
There are 3 tips I would highly recommend for you to try if DOMS in the legs is killing you!