It is common experience for novice athletes and sometimes even veteran strength athletes to notice a delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that appears twenty-four to forty eight hours after strenuous exercise.
A number of possible explanations have been proposed, including a build-up of lactic acid in muscle, muscle spasm and torn muscle and connective tissue. Based on present evidence, it appears that DOMS is due to tissue injury caused by excessive mechanical force exerted upon muscle and connective tissue.
How does one avoid being a victim of DOMS following exercise?
It appears that DOMS occurs most frequently following intensive exercise using muscles that are unaccustomed to being worked. Further eccentric exercise appears to cause greater suffering from DOMS that concentric work. Therefore, a general recommendation for the avoidance of DOMS is to begin an exercise training programme gradually. That is, avoid intense exercise (particularly eccentric) during the first five to ten sessions. This pattern of slow progression allows the exercised muscles to ‘adapt’ to the exercise stress and therefore reduces the incidence of severity of DOMS.