Introduction to Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness 1 Jun 2020
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) also called muscle fever, is the pain and stiffness everyone is familiar with after strenuous exercises. It is noticeable worse 24 to 72 hours after exercise and it can occur anywhere in the body. However it is more memorable when it affects the lower body i.e. the legs, due to it being so inhibiting.
For a long time the cause of DOMS was thought to be the build up of lactic acid and toxic metabolic waste in the muscles. However this theory has now been thoroughly rejected. While the cause of DOMS is not well understood, the current consensus is that DOMS is a result of inflammation triggered by microscopic tears in connective tissues that sensitise nociceptors and heighten pain.
The pain of DOMS and the sever soreness may decrease capacity to perform in subsequent workouts. In addition to physical symptoms for some people it can decrease motivation to exercise. So is the pain worth the gain? The short answer is no. DOMS doesn't mean you will build more muscle although it may enhance it a little.
Brad J Schoenfeld, 2010, The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy & their application to resistance training, Journal of Strengthening & Conditioning Research, vol 24, (10)