DOMS: Should I Train With Sore Muscles?
Starting a new training program is HARD. If you're new to working out or are returning to exercise after an injury, it’s no secret that you’ve probably felt the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
When you start to use your muscles in different ways, it takes time for them to adapt.
- What is delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)?
- Should I train with sore muscles?
- What training can I do when I have sore muscles?
- How to reduce the effect of DOMS
However, you shouldn’t be worried if you are not sore after a workout! Muscle soreness isn’t the only sign that your workouts are effective.
For those BBG ladies who have experienced the effects of DOMS after your workouts, here’s what’s happening in your body.
What is delayed onset muscle soreness?
Post-workout muscle soreness can occur when the muscle is worked a little bit harder than it is accustomed to. This results in small tears, called ‘micro-tears’, which can cause you to feel achy and sore 1-3 days after your workout.
Signs that you have delayed onset muscle soreness include:
- Your muscles feel tender to touch
- You feel stiff and have a reduced range of motion
- Your muscles may feel tired or weaker for a few days
If this happens to you after a BBG workout, don’t worry! Follow these recovery tips for your next workout, and you’ll be able to train again soon.
Should I Train With Sore Muscles?
I get asked this question a LOT by the BBG community.
Luckily, delayed onset muscle soreness shouldn’t prevent you from training for long.
Sore muscles are an indication that you have worked your muscles a little bit harder than their current capacity. You’ll need to give these muscle groups time to adapt to a new exercise style or increase in intensity.
With a day or two of rest and good nutrition, your muscles will repair themselves and become stronger for the next workout.
I don’t recommend training muscles that are still really sore, as they need the proper time to recover!
When you start BBG, I recommend scheduling your resistance workouts every second day to give yourself a day to recover between workouts. You can complete your LISS cardio sessions on the days that you aren’t working out!
What training can I do when I have sore muscles?
When you have sore muscles, it is still important to keep moving! Taking a walk or doing an active recovery session can help to reduce muscle stiffness and soreness.
If you need to get a workout in and you are still feeling sore, train a different part of the body! So if your legs are sore from yesterday’s workout, do an arms workout to allow your legs time to recover.
Remember, you can make the smart call to skip a workout if you are too sore. Giving your body time to recover is just as important as doing your workouts regularly.
When you follow my BBG program in the SWEAT app, you’ll find three resistance workouts, three LISS cardio sessions and two active recovery sessions for each week.
Take advantage of the recovery days and low-intensity cardio to help your body bounce back between your workouts. Muscle soreness shouldn’t prevent you from making working out a habit.
How can I reduce the effect of DOMS?
There are a few things that you can do to reduce the impact of post-workout muscle soreness.
1. Don’t go too hard too fast
When you start a new training program, I recommend following the training principle called ‘progressive overload’. Over the first few weeks of the program, you will gradually increase one or more of the following: the amount of weight you lift or the number of reps or circuits you do.
While you definitely should be challenging your body, it’s important to do so gradually.
If you’re beginning a new workout program, I recommend starting with a weight that allows you to complete the reps easily. Focus on your form and ensuring that you do each exercise correctly.
As you get more confident, you can increase the weight or number of reps to start pushing your body.
2. Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated before, during and after your workout can help to reduce muscle soreness.
I recommend carrying a water bottle with you to remind yourself to take regular sips throughout the day!
3. Take time to cool down
If you are in a hurry, it can be easy to skip the cool down at the end of your workout!
A cool down is one of the five things you should always to after a workout to improve your recovery time. Taking a few minutes to cool down also allows you to reflect on your workout and your progress.
There’s a cool down at the end of each resistance workout in my BBG program. It will take just a few minutes and can help to reduce the muscle soreness you may feel later.
4. Do a foam rolling session
Foam rolling is essentially a form of self-massage that can help to reduce post-workout muscle soreness.
Foam roller exercises can help to kickstart the healing process by breaking up the tight connective tissue surrounding your muscles and increasing blood flow to the area.
By increasing the blood flow to sore muscles, you allow more nutrients to the region, which can help with faster muscle building and repair. It can help reduce the soreness you feel too!
5. Take a warm bath
A warm bath can help to reduce stress and increase blood flow to your muscles as they recover, removing waste products and delivering nutrients to aid repair.
Use these tips to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness
Being fit and healthy isn’t something that you can achieve overnight — it’s a life-long process that you will keep working on!
It’s perfectly okay to skip a workout when you’ve pushed your body to its limits. Remember to use your rest days effectively to help your body to recover faster from your workouts.
Be kind to yourself and over time you’ll put healthy habits in place that will help you to keep moving toward your goals!
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.