Woman Sore After Workout - DOMS

DOMS: How Sore is Too Sore to Workout?

Categories: Exercises

Hurt-so-good or pushed-too-far? How to tell if you need a rest day…

The level of soreness that you feel after an especially hard workout is usually written off as a badge of honor; you pushed an extra mile on the treadmill, or increased your weights used on the curl machine. You’re feeling accomplished and strong. But what happens when you push just a bit too much, and that feel-good-soreness makes it difficult to walk up stairs or sit in the drivers seat? You’ll be as good as new after a restful nights sleep, right? Easy there…according to the orthopedists at The Central Orthopedic Group, your body might need more than 8 hours of REM.

What is “DOMS”?

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

DOMS can also be referred to as “Muscle Fever”. This is overall pain and stiffness that you feel in muscles several hours to days after strenuous exercise. You are more likely to experience DOMS after you have done an exercise that you are not accustomed to.

Man Lifting Weights - Showing Areas of Muscle Strain

Why So Sore?

It’s normal to feel a little burn after a few sit ups; that’s the natural release of lactic acid in your muscles, and typically disappears within an hour of your workout completion. But if you’re feeling soreness that begins 12 to 24 hours after a workout, you’re likely experiencing Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), which can last anywhere from 1-3 days. DOMS typically occurs when you try a new exercise style or if you don’t properly rest between sessions.


Can I Still Workout?

In short…yes. But not right away. Your muscles need time to recover. If you can’t walk down stairs or get up from a seated position without pain, you need more time to rest. The last thing you want to do is lose your balance and fall, which will cause even further injury to your body. Doing light cardio, such as riding a stationary bike, will help loosen up your muscles and reduce pain.


Is There a Way to Avoid DOMS?

The ideal way to avoid a DOMS diagnosis is to switch up your routine. This will target different muscle groups each day. Your arms may be sore from yesterdays workout, but if you commit to leg machines today, your arms have time to recoup for a day or two before you’re targeting them again. Allowing your body to heal and to rebuild is how you strengthen your body.


If you think that you’ve exceeded your limitations, or you’re simply taking too long to heal, contact the knowledgeable physicians at The Central Orthopedic Group. Our team of talented doctors are on hand to examine, diagnose and treat your injuries to get you active and on track in no time.