The “DOMS” Effect

Do you wonder why your muscles are killing you the day or two after an intense workout? Well this is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
DOMS is very common and generally happens when you first start or you have increased the intensity of your exercise program. When you feel this, you know you have been working hard in your sessions!

It is quite normal that even the simplest of tasks such as sitting on the toilet seat tend to cause your muscles to scream and you are probably cursing the name of your trainer for doing this to you 🙂
This soreness is a response to increased exertion and is part of the adaptation process which leads to greater stamina and strength as the muscles repair and build. It is also a different feeling to the one you get when you are in the middle of your workout and is generally at its worst for the first 2 days after the session.

What causes DOMS?

The soreness is caused by the eccentric contraction of the muscle (lengthening) which results in microscopic tearing of the muscle fibres. For example, the eccentric phase of a squat is the downward motion, which is lengthening your quadraceps and glutes etc.
So the movements that cause the muscle to forcefully contract while it lengthens seem to cause the most soreness.

Treatment Methods?

Nothing has been proven 100% to reduce the DOMS effect, but there are several methods that you can try and see what works best for you.

  • Get a massage
  • Jump in an ice bath
  • Do some gentle stretches
  • Use the R.I.C.E treatment – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate


Always ensure you do a thorough warm up prior to exercise and cool down afterwards. This will not prevent DOMS entirely but it will reduce the intensity and duration of the soreness.

If you are unsure about how to start an exercise program safely you should consult a professional Personal Trainer to guide you to your health and fitness goals.

If you would like to discuss starting an exercise program please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Dedicated to your health,