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et me tell you about a recent conversation with one of my friends over IM. This guy used to lift with me back in college, but he is working on his own business right now and hasn't touched a weight in almost a year. So they guy goes out and gets a gym membership and starts training again last Monday.

This is how the conversation went down:

friend: my muscles hurt friend: chest and tris are killing me friend: i can barely move friend: i didn't push that hard friend: i just did as much as i could friend: what can i do to recover faster?

My friend here is suffering from a little something called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS.

What is DOMS?

DOMS is sore, stiff and painful feelings in muscles, which occur 24-48 hours following intense exercise. DOMS is almost always guaranteed to set in when an individual trains too hard during their first couple workouts after a long layoff. This discomfort is more prevalent following overloaded eccentric (the negative portion of the rep) muscle activity, where the muscles are placed under a load that is typically too heavy to lift, or super-slow eccentric activity where the muscle fibers are forced to flex and contract at the same time.

A typical example is when the load becomes too heavy on a bench press, the spotter lifts the weight for the trainee, and lowers it slowly under control. This just tears up and really damages muscle fibers.

The following are thought to be responsible for DOMS:

Small tears in the muscle or connective tissues between the fibers, usually from excessive intensity or eccentric training.
Overly aggressive exercise by an untrained individual or by a detrained athlete, in the initial stages of a new program.
Muscle spasms or cramping, which may starve the muscle of the nutrients it needs to recover.
Dehydration during and after a workout. Be sure to drink your electrolyte fluids!
The build up of lactic acid and other waste product production during training. Many experts agree that lactic acid has nothing to do with DOMS, but it may contribute a small amount due to lactic acid accumulation hindering delivery of essential nutrients to the muscles.

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