T Nation

DAMN DOMS

I am having trouble getting my cardio sessions in when I train legs twice weekly (hip dominant and quad dominant) and experiencing DOMS. I no longer push every set to near failure or seek soreness as a sign of a good workout. Nevertheless, I find my quads aching right now and I usually perform two moderately intense cardio sessions and one light cardio session each week. I do use Surge and it usually helps eliminate this problem. And I have to run for me to get the body composition I want to maintain. I have tried to omit cardio and control things through lifting and diet alone, and it just doesn’t work for me. I can be as disciplined as possible with everything, and still fail to achieve the leanness I get when I include the running. Besides, I just want to be able to run for an extended period of time with good form and reasonable ease. Any suggestions? Damn this lactic acid!

The DOMS is not a result of lactic acid. It’s more likely a result of damaged components of the myofibril (i.e. T-Tubules, sarcoplasmic reticulum, cross-bridges, etc.), which will also lead to decreased force productions. It’s likely that the rupturing of structures like T-Tubules will lead to calcium leaking into the intracellular space. This will cause muscle soreness. That’s just one explanation.

Other posibilities include:

  1. small tears in muscle tissue or damage to its contractile components, which will cause the release of creatine kinase, myoglobin, and troponin I;
  2. osmotic pressure changes;
  3. overstretching and possible tearing of portions of the muscle’s connective tissue harness;
  4. acute inflammation.

Since your cardio sessions are low to moderate in terms of intensity, I would continue to do them. The soreness will pervade for only a short period of time. Begin with a jogging warmup, and then continue with your regular protocol. Avoid downhill running and you’ll be fine.

LACTIC ACID! If i had hair i would pull it out. AWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

Timbo,
Why do I need to post when you are full of such good information? Nice work on this forum brother!

Ironic,
Read my 100 Reps to Bigger Muscles article and apply it to your overly sore muscle groups. The program will increase capillary density and lead to greater nutrient perfusion which will result in less soreness and accelerated recovery.

I agree with Chad about the “100 reps” protocol. I also wouldn’t stop doing the running as it is a form of GPP. It will actually help you recover from the DOMS at a faster rate by helping to restore the damage that Timbo explained. Think of it as active recovery!

Timbo! Thanks for the reasonable explanation. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard the lactic acid story.

C-Dub, my man, you really know how to make a Rock’s head swell:-) Thanks, man. Now, I’m counting on you and your article last week Build a Huge Chest in Six Weeks to make my puny pecs grow! I knew those cables would be good for something:-)

Anderson, it’s funny that it’s such a common explanation. In general, even in undergrad ex phys courses you’ll still hear wrong mechanisms to describe things (not necessarily DOMS). It’s not until you reach the higher ranks that you really start to uncover the real deal.

Timbo, this is true in other fields also. There are a lot of myths about how the brain works, for example.

Even when I was brand-new to lifting, didn’t know one muscle from another, the lactic acid story sounded wrong. I would think, So there’s MORE lactic acid three days later when I’m even more sore? (I didn’t have Surge or any knowledge of post-workout recovery nutrition back then.) And I have had DOMS last as long as 10 days. I have had calves so sore I could NOT straighten my legs and put my feet flat on the floor, all supposedly because of lactic acid.

I luv the lactic acid burn. But since I came from a cycling background we would train in anerobic thresholds. You need to flush your muscles out the next day after workin legs.

I usualy ride the bike the next day for a very easy spin(not a slow spin)80-85 rpm’s for 20 mins. And not raising your HR above 65%.

Anderson, don’t worry, my friend, you’re not alone. Dr. Coyle was just discussing the philosophy of our field today in class. It’s quite disappointing actually.

You see, many self-proclaimed exercise/fitness enthusiasts have dumbed-down our information so that the lay public can understand it. This is quite unfortunate. And the simplistic versions are the ones that resound and stick in people’s heads.

You can rattle off the issues left and right:
*Complex vs. Simple sugars
*Low-Intensity burns more fat
and on and on and on. It’s Crap!

HOw 'bout this? I’m trying to do HHIT-sytle sprinting every other day for fat loss. My legs hurt so much from this that I have trouble with the next HIIT session. I can usually only muster up a fast jog.

Goldberg, maybe it’s the lactic acid? :D)

I really don’t see anything advantageous to being so sore that you cannot exercise or exercise properly and with proper intensity.

You may consider evaluating your nutritional and supplemental regimes as well as recovery techniques.

Rage against the Machine, perhaps you should consider alternating moderate-intensity and high-intensity interval sessions if you want to continue with the same frequency.

I think lactate takes only about 20 minutes max to return back up to baseline ph.

There’s nothing wrong with lactate. Actually, lactate can be converted to glucose via gluconeogenesis.

It’s the hydrogen ion (H+) associated with lactic acid that causes the drops in pH and the problems.

Sprinting makes me really, really, really sore. I think I get less sore/recover faster from lifting than from sprinting, because I’ve done a lot of lifting over the years, and very little sprinting. I bet that if I (and you) keep it up, though, I will eventually not get sore from it.

I am thinking about starting some “energy systems work” this evening, i.e. sprinting, and I’m trying to psych myself up for the torture it’s going to be.