Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

Hey T-folk. Now, I’ve always had the problem of taking AGES to heal (extended DOMS). I get a good quality shake soon after training, eat HEAPS, get 7-8 hours of sleep… as far as I know I’m doing it all fairly correctly. So I start Ian Kings Great Guns workout, but since I began two weeks ago, I’ve only been able to do two single workouts! i.e. I’ve been to the gym twice! It literally takes me 6 odd days to heal, and I’m worried about training back and chest as it’ll have some effect of slightly re-trashing my arms, and also generally slow their recovery time. Does anyone else have this problem of DOMS/recovery time lasting for yonks???

when i first do a workout, i’m usually sore for 3-4 days, but then on the subsequent workouts after that i tend to be sore for 1-2 days at most. That is interesting that you stay sore for so long. You may have a very high level of fast twitch fibers which may take longer to heal, or a poor genetic healing ability. either way you should work out less frequently in my opinion.

Well, It depends on how much training experience you have. I remember when I started out training I couldn’t walk properly for a full week after a squating session.

Soreness used to be a problem for me, as well. I’m not familiar with the workout for arms you’re talking about, but I’m guessing its pretty high intensity! I can think of a few possibilites for your situation:

  1. You’re eating heaps, but are you eating enough protein? One gram per pound of bodyweight makes a huge difference in recovery!

  2. Are you getting enough vitamins/minerals? You need to exceed the RDA’s across the board, perhaps taking a multi twice per day, as well as extra anti-oxidants.

  3. With regards to supplementation, a few are very important to recovery. L-Glutamine is excellent. 5 grams before your workout, and five grams with your creatine immediately after, would be good, plus another 2 servings with meals. HMB has really helped me with muscle recovery. And ZMA, taken at bedtime, is supposed to help with recovery. Plus, it helps you sleep.

  4. Maybe the workout protocols you’re using aren’t for you? If you’re doing different exercises all the time, you will always be sore. Are you doing a “heavy duty” program? Perhaps you should focus on volume for a while, focusing on a pump. Conversely, if you’re a volume trainee, try reducing your sets and training with higher poundages.

Hope something above helps you out. Walking around sore all the time is no fun at all!

All the best in your training!


I have found that taking extra creatine helps a lot - over time. In season I take about 50% more than out to account for the double sessions (lifting in the mornings practice in the afternoon.) I almost never get sore now, I have also found that stretching before and after helps. Your pain may be from minor muscle strains if that pain lasts so long. Check out Ian Kings article The Lazy Man’s Guide to Stretching. Strength Training, Bodybuilding & Online Supplement Store - T NATION

I used to have the same problem. That’s why Ive been studying recovery for the last few years. I think your approach should be as follows…after training get in a pw drink as rapidly as possible (pref in the locker room or in the car)…and any old shake wont do. You need something similar to what we recommend in the post workout puzzle articles. In addition, take 500mg vitamin c, 400IU vitamin e, and even a multi vitamin after training. Next, after training, try to ride a stationary bike at low intensity for 20 minutes (at like 50-60% HR Max which is 220-your age). In addition, dont train on consecutive days. Finally, supplement your diet with fish oils and flax oil by replacing some of your normal fats with these guys. If this doesnt work, maybe you could just give up training…just kidding :slight_smile:

Lower your volume – do less sets and less exersizes. No you won’t grow less, you’d probably grow a lot more, though.

I don’t know what your training age is, but I found that the longer I train, the less I get sore. Also, when I drastically change my workout from what I did before, I get much sorer. Ian King’s program is very unique with all the tri-sets, very different from what I used to do. Therefore, I got some ugly soreness. You might try reducing the volume and see if that helps.

Man, I never get doms anymore. Not that I miss them. It seems that if I keep my frequency up (every bodypart 2x/week) doms just doesn’t happen. Also eat lots of protein and plenty of water. I do take a multi-V and 1000iu v-C twice a day too.

A post-workout anti-oxidant stack really helps me. Make sure it comes form many sources, including green tea.

Thanks for the replies folks. I’m already doing a lot of the things you recommend, although there’s a few new ones in there I’ll experiment with. Except the “stop training” part, yeah, real funny John… LOL. FYI, I’m 6", 170lbs, and trained for 3 years. I only ever train 3 times a week (figured that out pretty quick) as it just takes too long to heal, and I’m a fan of both high intensity and high volume. I mix it up all the time. I have noticed that I start to heal quicker as I become more acustomed to a program though. Good indication of when to change I suppose. Anyway, I’ll try the advice given, and if it doesn’t help, I guess I’ll just have to stop my whinging and deal with it…! [grin] Cheers.

Mark - DOMS is an ailment not only humans suffer from but one that addresses the equine athlete as well. A lot of factors you must pay attention to. I would pay careful attention to antioxidants. Glycogen repletion alone is not enough. A huge amount of free radicals are generated during exercise, the levels being proportional to both intensity and duration. Although well trained muscle is more apt to deal with the level of oxidation in the mitochondria, the problems really start to esculate when you get into really high intensities, high enough that drops in ATP and ATP intermediates begin to occur. Once Atp has been degrated by AMP, it is lost to the regenerative pathways that enable you to work.

Antioxidants should be a large part of the athletes diet. I personally take not less than 5 grams Vit.C. In addition I think other antioxidants and their co-factors such as vitamins A,E the minerals selenium, magnesium and zinc and glutathione. The major intracellur free radical protection system in muscle depends on adequate levels of glutathione. Glutathione is itself an antioxidant and forms the base of the ever so important enzyme "glutathione peroxidase." Intense exercise can deplete glutathione stores by up to 40-50% and repeated bouts can easily exceed the body's capacity to resynthesize.

Sorry to ramble on and on at this board but key antioxidants and falling levels of glutathione is a major link between a depressed immune function and overtraining. Kandi

Kandi, just wondering if you’ve also tried superoxide dismutase (SOD), since you mentioned glutathion peroxidase. I’ve been taking SOD for several years and have noticed a few changes. Of course, the research about fruit fly longevity and the same genetic traits in humans is always intruiging. Any thoughts? Did you notice a change after taking glutathione? And what preparation of glutathione do you take?

Finally! We have ONE guy who has had HMB work for him. I knew there had to be at least one somewhere.

Try HMB (yes HBM - this can actually work), PhosphatidylSerine (take 1hr before heavy training, reduces cortisol levels), 1000mg of vitamin C (take 1hr before heavy training, reduces cortisol levels) and a high-carb + whey protein isolate drink after a workout (hydroslate is HARD to find)

Hi Greg - Systemic availability of oral glutathione is not absorbed. Small fractions may be but is not enough. GSH has to be synthesized intracellulary. Therefore, provision of GSH precursors seems the best way to go. Gsh is a tripeptide whose link is composed of three amino acids; glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine. Seems cysteine tends to be the rate-limiting factor here in keeping the correct levels of GSH in the body. So with this fraction in mind you can use the supplemental form N-Acetyl-Cysteine. Biosynthesis is very dependent upon cysteine availability. Vitamin C also helps raise levels of GSH by helping to manufacture it. Lipoic acid can increase tissue GSH concentrations by increasing availabilty of cysteine. Milk protein isolates are a very rich source of GSH substrates for synthesis.
These are just a few examples; hope it helps.

Greg - I forgot to mention a a few other very important nutrients needed to make glutathione peroxidase. Selenium taken with vitamins E and C would enhance the process.

Another factor in DOMS that doesn’t get nearly as much attention is altered calcium metabolism within the muscle. This will be especially important for people with a high proportion of fast twitch muscle fibers, as the mitochondria serve to buffer perturbations in calcium with high intensity exercise, and FT fibers will have fewer mitochondria.

If you haven't tried Tribex or Methoxy, you may want to see if these help. In the Tribex study we did on elite cyclists, there was anecdotal evidence of reduced soreness after competition. Because ipriflavone has been shown to protect muscle from alterations in calcium metabolism, I hypothesized that this might be a factor. Since Methoxy is a stronger flavone than ipriflavone, it may be more effective in this regard. This is all conjecture though. We may look into this in the near future.

Taking SOD orally is useless because it is cell impermeable, where 2 of the isoforms are located. It probably never even makes it intact to the plasma.

Like Jon said, get your shake as quick as possible following your workout. For the timing of my post-workout supplementation, the difference in soreness is like night and day.