What are DOMS?

DOMS stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, and is a pain and stiffness felt in the muscles after strenuous exercise. When you work out the muscles will contract and relax continuously. This lengthening of the muscle fibres will cause micro trauma to these muscle fibres. The muscle will build itself stronger to prevent those micro lesions in the future, and that’s how we grow lean muscle! However the combination of a small amount of inflammation caused by these micro trauma’s and an activation of nociceptors (pain receptors) can cause the sensation of stiffness and soreness in the muscle after a workout.

Mostly DOMS appear within 1-2 days after your workout, but anything between 12 hours and 5 days is still normal. At Fitin20 we see people being sore after 36 hours the most, but we are all different and have seen and heard all variations to it by now.

We advise not to work out when you have intense DOMS, when it is mild you are good to go for your next workout session. Two days between sessions is usually enough recovery to be able to do your next EMS session.

Common myths about DOMS and what is really true


Myth #1: soreness is a good indicator how effective my workout was

Many factors influence how DOMS present itself, and for each person they are different. For example: 2 persons with the exact same genetic makeup and the exact same workout can still feel a different amount of DOMS afterwards. Some people are low responders (don’t feel any DOMS after workout or very mild), while others are high responders (very sore). Different workouts can also give different DOMS results. As another example: a HITT training might not give you any muscle soreness, while a boxing training leaves you in pain for several days, while both workouts actually have given you excellent fitness results. Just two examples of factors that decide much more if you would get DOMS, are your ability to absorb magnesium and your hydration status.

Conclusion: DOMS are not an indicator of how effective your workout was.

Myth #2: when you are very fit, you will be less susceptible to DOMS

While it is true that you will not be as intensely sore when you are extremely fit, as compared to you first start of your exercise journey, it doesn’t mean you will not feel any soreness any more after a workout. If you would do the exact same workout, the targeted muscle fibres indeed don’t respond as much to the workout anymore. That’s why we like to change it up at FITIN20 with different workouts, exercises and tools to keep all those muscles shaping and building. And that’s why you are still able to keep feeling sore after each workout. The intensity of the first sessions will go down however after 3 or 4 sessions as you get stronger and stronger.

Conclusion: starter or level expert, we can all get DOMS!

Myth #3: If I am very sore in a certain muscle group I might have damaged it in a bad way

A little bit of soreness has been proven to be good to build stronger muscles. However not getting any soreness does not mean you are not progressing. As a low responder look more at your overall progress. Are you stronger and are you seeing the results you are after? Are you feeling strong and happy? Did you answer yes to all? Perfect! No need to be sore!
On the other side of the fence you find people with intense soreness after a workout. Since we train 40% of muscle fibres that you can’t reach with a normal workout, EMS training can give some more intense DOMS the first couple of sessions, but they will adjust and get stronger quickly being better equipped to handle the exercises. That’s why at FITIN20 we start you on a basic workout and with your fast improving strength, make the workout more and more challenging and fun! It is such a great feeling to be able to do an exercise (not naming names, but PLANK!) that you thought was impossible before.
If your DOMS are accompanied by ligament or joint pain, we advise to seek doctors advice as something else might be going on coincidentally at the same time.

At FITIN20 we can design your workout around any joint soreness or limiting injuries to still build and shape your muscles and even help you recover from those injuries.

Conclusion: muscle soreness is not a bad thing, neither is not getting any!