Avoiding muscle aching, is it possible?

What is muscle soreness?

We are talking about a muscle that is sore or stiff when you feel muscle pain 24 to 48 hours after training. Scientific literature calls this phenomenon Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), which is explained by microtraumas suffered by a muscle that was stressed during training or an activity. Certain types of training are more likely to cause this kind of pain. 

When you experience muscular aches related to training and want to avoid them in the future, you have to question the nature, the volume, and the intensity of the training. 

Nature: The human body has a tremendous capacity to adapt to specific demands that are imposed upon it. When a new activity or movement is attempted, muscles will be solicited in a different way. Adaptations may also occur with changes in positioning or tempo of movement. 

Volume: This refers to the amount of load or effort required during training, such as duration, number of repetitions or sets, etc.

Intensity : It includes the amount of load (weight used), but also the speed of execution, which influences the speed of muscle contraction.

When these parameters are changed, we may find ourselves exceeding the capacity of our musculature to adapt. The demand may be too great, as our body is not used to these new changes, and this is where pain can develop the following day.


Gradual Adaptation

Knowing this, avoiding DOMS becomes simple. The parameters mentioned earlier must be monitored; when adding a new exercise or changing the nature of the activity, it must be done progressively. In concrete terms, you can start by reducing the amount of time performing the activity, or do intervals. Allowing more rest, or even starting with a simplified version of a new exercise are other options. Regarding the volume, it must be gradually increased, especially when you change the load or any other parameters. 

In addition to being mindful of these parameters, a good way to reduce muscle soreness is to warm up well. Before training or doing an activity, perform a less intense variation of the task you are about to do to properly prepare the body and “start” its adaptation. Some examples of this are very light jogging before the beginning a faster run, performing exercises without load or in a smaller amplitude before lifting heavier loads, etc. 

While it may be inconvenient, muscle soreness is not harmful. However, by exceeding the adaptability of the body, one may not necessarily achieve the desired gains and may also be at a greater risk of injuries.