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The Truth About DOMS


Okay, I thought it would be a good idea to post a topic all about Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness(DOMS).

I figured for all us newbies, that it would be nice to read all about it in one thread. So if all you seasoned vets out there can indulge us for a few minutes and answer these questions and anything else you think we should know about it, we would be much obliged.

How much/long is good and how much is whoa baby cut back on your workout?

What are some preventative measures to ensure that you are not too sore?

Once you have it, what are some tips on dealing with the pain?

If you are still sore and it is time for the next workout, do you still train the area?

I think that is all folks, so fill your boots and fill in any blanks I left.



Only thing I can say about DOMS is that it is NOT a measure of how succesful a workout was. It is only a measure of how sore you are...

Granted, I like being sore after training a new movement/muscle, just so I know that I hit the right muscle, but otherwise, DOMS is not a measure of how well you worked out.

Very little is known about it...


DOMS is most prevelant in new workout stress. It will go away in time. Meaning, as you squat more and more often, even when you increase the load your DOMS will not be as harsh. Now if you make a drastic change in volume/weight/scheme it might pop up again, but it will lessen over time.

There isn't much to prevent it. You should ease into any workout--ESPECIALLY as a newbie. I read your other post and I'm not sure supersetting and short rests are the way to go for such a new trainee. Some have suggested certain vitamins, but I think most of that is hit and miss.

For the pain, avoid and medication. Ice therapy. Cold/hot showers. Epsom salts in your bubble bath would do you wonders. And, don't be afraid to work that area again--even while sore. Be sure and change the parameters. Lower the weight and up the reps is a good way to flush the area and speed recovery.

Remember, as a newbie DOMS is a part of training, but don't judge your workout by it. It doesn't mean you had a great workout because you limp out of the gym after squats. You need to ease into it. You need to slowly raise the volume. You need for tendons to catch up with muscles. You need CNS acclamation.

It's a journey. It's a long term thingy. Have fun


they will be there forever. if you dont find them waiting to join you on the road.. well you are on the wrong road

from 24 to 72hrs is the common gap of time when doms say "hello" :slightly_smiling:

they will come.
you can use supplements like creatine and glutamine, also BCAA to fast the recovery. but nothing more.

working out the antagonist of the doms-ed muscle can help (active recovery)

no pain no gain
also (but may be it works only on me) sex

if i can move i can train


archaic thinking post.

You don't have to be sore to have had a good workout.
creatine and glutamine do little--probably nothing--to offset DOMS
No pain, no gain is the dumbest thing ever put on a shirt
Possible the endorphines released during sex mask the DOMS affects momentarily, but nothing more.
Not that I have a problem with sex, but your post is bogus. And this throw in because it was a female poster shows the weakness of your whole thought process.


may be.. or not :slight_smile:
from the point of view of science, by now we dont know nothing about DOMS.

one of the "best" probabilities is the relation of DOMS with CNS impact of training...

and on the other hand during training the trained muscle come out microdamaged, these take our body to produce igf that stimulate lean mass hypertrophy,

are DOMS related to that micro damaged? this is by now unknown, but... may be :slight_smile:

also the reverse is true.
but, and it is not a small but from a BB point of view, DOMS are stronger when you drastically change your training workout. and changing is a relly important factor to get improved hypertrophy.. so it's a simple logical exercise:
changing->improve hypertrophy
changing->more DOMS
more DOMS->improve hypertrophy

i have say they cancel DOMS. but both help to faster recovery. and faster recovery mean lesser soreness

ahhh the lost art of humourism...

and it is not a dumb thing.+
it is philosophy
it simply means that great goal are hard to reach, and sometimes you have to pay a little of pain in the life

i know. and again i haven't talked about cancelling DOMS. i suggested a working trick to reduce it

she is a female? really? i havent noticed that. i havent read her bio. sorry.

bogus? why? i haven't talked about miracles that will cancel her DOMS. she asked for a trick i have given one.

also long run stimulate endorphine. but i dont like to run....


I would like to see any research that shows aided recovery from creatine/glutamine

Personally, not a fan of either

Other than that you've presented nothing except 1970's BB logic to advance your case.

It is not necessary to drastically alter your workouts to increase hypertrophy

We hold seperate opinions. I'm comfortable with mine. You seem ok with yours. Peace


A couple of tips for reducing DOMS:

1) Don't over-emphasize the eccentric contraction. Lower the weight under control, but not super-slow.

2)Cryotheraphy. Ice the trained muscle group after your workout. See CT's article on recovery or CW's Perfect 10 article.



  1. IMO, perfect training wouldn't have DOMS. although, that doesn't mean that DOMS is evident of bad training. even the best coaches have athletes who get sore. little is understood about DOMS, but what we do know is that it's not strictly evident or important of or for any progress.

  2. preventative measures are to build up intensity on new movements, not just jumping into them.

  3. what can be done to alleviate DOMS are minute. active recovery (not what cadev thinks it is) and contrast showers are probably the best answers you're looking for. these will play a small role, though. IMO, the best way to deal with excessive DOMS is to let it play itself out because you'll learn that you did something very stupid to get that sore and will be more motivated to not repeat such stupidity.

  4. dont train through soreness. some say it's okay, some say it's not. most make assertions not based in fact. AFAIK, DOMS is muscle and connective tissue related, not CNS related (CNS is what matters most). CNS also regenerates a bit slower than muscle and CT. if you're sore then your CNS is not recoved. now, this isn't a bad thing if you're training espouses the dual-factor theory (fitness/fatigue) and not the outdated single-factor theory (supercompensation). under fitness/fatigue it is often a good thing to train through soreness (the soreness will be very small, though). as a beginner, dont worry about the fitness/fatigue model and training through soreness. this is an indermediate/advanced thing.

hope this helps

P.S. training frequency per bodypart should be no less than once every five days. one reason some trainees get sore regularly is because they train too infrequently.

also, soreness is mainly achieved by doing a NEW movement. personally, i bench press heavy a lot. this is a staple lift that i do twice a week. i do not get sore from it anymore like i did when i first started doing it.

but if i did some incline bench press, decline close-grip bench press or whatnot at the same intensity that i do bench press i would get sore. that's because it's a new movement. weird how that works.

a hyooj guy with monstrous traps who has gotten that way via only deadlifts and rows will get really sore traps if he does a bunch of snatches.


mhh i have something in italian. i cansee if i try something complete in english may be on pubmed

BTW about creatine is quite simple and logicall. Creatine as CP is deeply involved in ADP->ATP cycle...

glutamine is a basic aminoacid that body needs. supplementing it spare other aminoacid to be used to sinthetize glutamine

why? i found creatina really usefull as ergogenetic.. and with glutamine i can "see" a empowering of immunological system (hope it is the correct english word...)

and then? do you need research paper?
ok i will try to find papers. but then.. which logic there is behind your point?

you can find something related to microdameged in the last post of CW:

please dont misunderstood me. i like this kind of dialog, i m here to learn :slight_smile:

i dont say that there is a need for drastically change. but variety is a powerfull factor. our body improve when new "problem" arise :slight_smile:

:slight_smile: i really happy to hear your opinion. i would like to better understand your basis if you like to continue this dialog. i'll look for papers and i'll take you informated :slight_smile:


why? to avoid the soreness or for something different?

true but also we haven't evidence of viceversa

please can you explain active recovery?



Creatine probably works, glutamine may: given what they are intended for, but I see little backing that they have any affect w/r/t DOMS and prevention or speeding recovery therof.

I've just never been a fan of creatine. Maybe I'm a non-responder??? I seemed to get the water gain, the bigger looking muscles, but it rarely translated to extra strength or reps or whatever the case may be.

I do seem to think that glutamine may be less good for workouts than it is for sickness. I found that I didn't get sick as often or hard when glutamining. Maybe it was just coincidence--who knows. I'm not sure how effective it is for lifting recovery. Truth be told, unless you do so many experiments, how do you really know what is affecting you and how. So many on this site just regurgitate.

How can I really know unless I can specifically monitor one particular aspect of my training. Quite frankly I have neiother the time or desire to get so caught up in the minutiae of this lifestyle. I lift to lift, not set records or be the biggest of the big.

I don't need you to produce old research papers, it just seems like alot of your info is based on training ideas from 20-30 years ago.

Slight alterations shouldn't cause major DOMS in anyone exce0pt maybe newbies. Personally, I like the feeling of a slight DOMS/tightness--who doesn't. I train very instinctively. I very rarely follow any program to a T. I also always listen to my body. Sometimes I walk into the gym with big ideas and it just isn't there. I shut er down and move on. Not to say I just quit when it's tough, but sometimes it's better to pass.


I've learned the harcd way in coming back from layoffs and injuries that it is necessary to take a workout or two to ease back into training. It is much more productive--and pleasant-- to do a short and very light weight full body workout and repeat three days later with slightly more weight than it is to just jump in and do a full hard workout and be too sore to move for the next five days.

At this point I seldom get sore from workouts though I'm always a bit tight for a couple days. I agree with the assertion that soreness is a poor gauge of workout efficacy. I could train for soreness if I were so inclined, but I'd much rather train for performance. The two are not linked.

So the answer to the main question about preventing soreness is that you should restrain the urge to push yourself immediately when working something new or in a substantially new way. If it is a radically new exercise or a muscle group that hasn't been worked in a few weeks, ease into it with a few sets of very light weight for moderate reps (eg 2 sets of a 20RM weight for 10 reps) and repeat a few days later.

You will still be sore but it won't be that debilitating type.


ok i understand the point :slight_smile:
i m talking of creatie and gluta to help recovery, not only related to DOMS.
as you say we know little of DOMS so it cant be told that a faster recovery will shorten DOMS.

what i have said is related to my personal experience.

i really like to test and check and try_:) i take a log of my supplements intake and also i do cycle to verify...

BTW i can understand you. mine arent scientific research

may be.
the first time i have used creatine i get the same effects. water, pump but no strnght. with time i get more results. also because i learn more about me.

i have found glutamine quite usefull.
but may be on me. or a placebo. again i haven't scientific evidence. the only think i have are papers on the effects of that substance against stress and sicjness....and my own experience.

hey i understood that! it is natural. the wonderfull think of life is the variety :wink:

i lift to set my PR. i lift to become bigger (not the biggest... just bigger than yesterday). i "love" to verify, change, test, count and test again :slight_smile:

i m just me :wink:

i have something more recent but not related to training. i mean related on the effects of that substance over the body.

i'm sorry but it is quite harder to find recent papars... it looks like it is not a really researched topics in the last decades.

may be. or not.
for example what is a slight alteration? and what is a newbie?

i think, as you said, that we have different ideas :slight_smile:
my workout aren't to much istinctive. i like to "log", to track and collect data. :slight_smile:

BTW thanks for that talking, i like that kind of post


Glutamine works... via IV. At this point it's believed that orally ingested glutamine is used by the intestines and doesn't make it to the blood stream in substantial quantities.



  1. this is simply a speculation because perfect training will never exist. i speculate that perfect training would elicit no DOMS because it's a result of doing too much too soon. although, too much too soon isn't a bad thing unless is to the Xtreem.

  2. no, the evidence has shown that soreness is not strictly evident of and important for progress.

  3. you stated that AR is training the antagonist. AR is training the muscle directly. it's very low intensity, get blood flowing. if you're sore when performing it then if you do AR correctly the DOMS will lessen during and for a while after the AR.


a few speculations, though, are that it's possible to get some by the gut from mega dosing, or by using very small quantities that dont stimulate GI uptake. just spec tho.

some people have reported what can be considered immune boosting effects. personally, i like to eat protein.


Most studies and personal experiences simply don't have the things in order they need to accurately tease out the result. If you take 5g/day, yup, right to digestive system and kidneys. If you take 20-40, give or take depending on size and other dietary considerations, much more is directly used for protein synthesis and whatnot. It's simple physiology. Oh, and please don't mention that glutamine study David Barr cited in his debunking the myth article - it had so many confounding factors it's almost not worth mentioning.

I and nearly all others I have use it experience significant improvements in recovery when using enough glutamine, especially when taken right before and during training/competition.



Why does almost everyone I talk to think we don't know anything about DOMS? We know a lot about it. It's associated with an immune response and the influx of neutrophils and a lot of other things that would take way too long to discuss here. It's absolutely not associated with accumulation of lactate (I know you didn't say that, just making sure it gets said) or even the accumulation of H+ ions. I'd suggest taking a look at a lot of the current research being done on DOMS. It's a fascinating area of study since the process is multifactoral and quite complicated.

This is true - soreness will be a byproduct of doing some of the things you need to do to succeed, though, no matter how you slice it. Rotating through different training parameters as needed for complete development and adaptation will by necessity elicit some soreness sometimes.

On creatine - it doesn't help with DOMS or even recovery significantly, though it does have a slight effect that will accumulate over time. It does not reduce inflammation (I don't know why anyone thought it would, but it's been studied), does not participate directly in protein synthesis or really much at all (though there is a tiny contribution) in the adaptations to recovery (this is mostly done using energy from aerobic metabolism), and has no effect on rebuilding of carbohydrate stores or restoring homeostasis within the muscle fibers.

What it does do (aside from direct participation in phosphorylation of ADP) is promote an anabolic environment through the decreased osmolarity of the cells (draws in more water) and by having a slight effect on stimulating the expression of many genes related to growth factors. The exact process of the genetic component is not known yet, but we do know that it happens.



So what I am hearing is this....

Doms is basically caused by too much too fast (guilty).

To recover, hot/cold therapy, anti-inflammitories and rest.

Don't train through severe doms, rest instead.

Lighten the workout, gradually increase.

Train more frequently instead of more intensely.

I have always been guilty of going in with both barrels blazing and I truly love lifting. I usually get soom soreness, but the legs killed me. I did the squats with just the bar, so it wasn't too intense. I think I will drop the supersets and give myself more recovery time during workouts.

The purpose of the thread is so that newbies can get some information in one place as when I searched for info on the site, I get many different threads addressing different aspects of DOMS, this one I think answers all the related questions in one place, quite nicely.