Delayed muscle soreness, or DOMs for short, is the pain you feel in your muscles following a workout. It starts around 8 hours from your workout and peaks around at the 48-hour mark, but these times can be different for different people. While the exact mechanism is not understood, the father of hypertrophy, Brad Schoenfeld, explains “DOMS appears to be a product of inflammation caused by microscopic tears in the connective tissue, elements that sensitize nociceptors and thereby heighten the sensations of pain.” In short, DOM seems to appear after connective tissue microtrauma. This usually happens to novice lifters when they first start training and lifters with any experience who change up their training.
Here are some ways to ease the pain of DOMS or increase the rate of recovery from it:
Foam rolling - either after a workout or on rest days, yes this will be painful.
Mobility drills and light stretching - before a workout, after a workout, or on rest days.
Steady-state cardio like jogging, swimming, or bike - increases circulation and therefore helps with recovery.
Active recovery - yes it might be easier to just sit at home and not do anything because of the pain, but active recovery like walking or doing household chores will get the blood moving and help you to recover.
Getting a massage - Massage has been found to play a critical role in reducing inflammation in the body.
Getting adequate amounts of sleep - sleep is when your body recovers, so getting adequate amounts of sleep ensures your get optimal recovery.
Hot and cold contrast showers - again this increases circulation which flushes out chemical irritants that might cause pain and delivers oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to injured muscles.
Staying Hydrated - A lack of electrolytes contributes to increased DOMs.
When you work out your circulation is increased so your body can deliver more oxygen to your muscles, and considering your 80% blood volume consists of water it wouldn’t be wise to hinder this process by dehydration.