Anyone who’s pushed limits in the weight room is familiar with Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). The aching can start to kick in anywhere from a couple hours to days after training, and is usually strongest between 24 and 72 hours post-workout. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research offers two strategies for helping you manage the pain.
Twenty healthy females in their early 30s used a dynamometer to perform eccentric contractions of the upper trapezius muscles. DOMS set in about 48 hours later. Half of these volunteers got a 10 minute massage of the traps muscle group while the rest performed active recovery encompassing 10 sets of 10 reps shoulder shrugs using light elastic resistance. Muscle soreness rated 5 on a scale of 1 to 10 before treatment, and the intensity of discomfort was reduced by both strategies. Unfortunately, the effect only lasted for around 20 minutes.
True Strength Moment: When you’re up against a plateau and looking to push beyond, studies have shown that supplementing with Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) before training can help reduce the impact of DOMS. Try mixing a flavored BCAA powder into water for hydration support, or if you drink a whey protein shake before training stack it with an unflavored version.