What You May Not Know About Muscle Soreness

Life by DailyBurn
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What You May Not Know About Muscle Soreness

You just crushed a really hard workout. You upped the load of your training, or you stepped out of your routine and tried a new activity. You feel great—until you wake up the next morning, barely able to move.

Enter delayed onset muscle soreness, better known as DOMS. It’s an acronym that athletes and fitness buffs wear with pride.

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As its name suggests, “DOMS is muscle soreness that becomes evident six-to-eight hours following activity, peaking around 24 to 48 hours post-training,” says Jon Mike, CSCS, NSCA-CPT and PhD candidate in Exercise Science at the University of New Mexico. While the symptoms will often start to diminish at about 72 hours, “the precise time course and extent of DOMS is highly variable,” Mike says.

DOMS is most pronounced when you introduce a new training stimulus—a new activity, increased intensity or volume—or if you are new to physical activity in general. “Your body is making adaptations to better prepare your muscles to do that activity again,” says Lauren Haythe, certified Kinesis Myofascial Integration Practitioner and yoga teacher. That’s why on Day 1 at the gym, after doing squats or lunges with 10-15 pound weights, you can be brutally sore the next day. “But, as you continue on, you can build up from there, and you won’t be so sore,” she says.

RELATED: 7 New Recovery Tools You’ll Love to Hate

While all kinds of muscular contraction can cause soreness, eccentric contraction—where the muscle lengthens as it contracts—is most often associated with DOMS, according to Mike. This includes movements such as running downhill, lowering weights or lowering down into a squat or push-up position. “There is also some evidence that upper body movement creates more soreness than lower body exercises,” says Mike.

Muscle discomfort is the most common characteristic of DOMS, but there are other symptoms. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), these may include reduced range of motion and joint stiffness, local swelling and tenderness, and diminished muscle strength. These symptoms appear gradually following exercise (not to be confused with acute pain that may arise during physical activity).

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Muscle Soreness: Myths vs. Facts

No pain, no gain. Lactic acid build-up. An indicator of muscle growth. These are all phrases that we tend to associate with DOMS. While you may think you know everything you need to know about the condition that has you waddling like a duck, you may be surprised by what’s actually happening in your body.

Myth #1: DOMS is caused by the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles.

The verdict: Not true. During exercise, your body needs energy, and it breaks down molecules to get that. As a result of this metabolic process, your cells naturally become more acidic, which makes your muscles feel like they’re burning. But this isn’t caused by lactate. Lactate is actually a by-product of the metabolic process and serves as a buffer that slows down the rate at which the cells become acidic. “People produce lactate all the time, even at rest. It clears your system 30 minutes to 1 hour after working out,” says Mike.

A study in Clinics in Sports Medicine found that DOMS is the result of microtrauma in the muscles and surrounding connective tissues, which causes inflammation. The reason that eccentric muscle contraction (think lowering a dumbbell back down in a bicep curl) is more likely to be the culprit is because it places a higher load on your muscles compared to concentric contraction. “It’s the active lengthening of muscle fibers under load. It’s like you’re pulling on a rope, and there’s so much force that the rope starts to tear and pull apart,” says Mike.

RELATED: The Truth About Lactic Acid

Myth #2: It’s not a good workout unless you’re sore the next day.

We often wear our DOMS as a badge of honor and believe that if we’re not sore, we’re not doing enough during out workouts. But that’s just not true.

“It doesn’t mean that you’re not getting as good of a workout because you’re not crippled the next day,” says Monica Vazquez, NASM certified personal trainer. “You should feel [soreness] 24 hours to three days after the activity. If, after three days, you try to do the same exercise and you cannot because you go immediately to muscle failure, you’ve done too much,” she says.

According to Mike, studies have shown that soreness itself (using a scale from 0 to 10 to assess the level of soreness) is poorly correlated as an indicator of muscle adaptation and growth. There are many factors that influence how DOMS presents itself in individuals. “There is great variability, even between people with similar genetics and even among highly-trained lifters [and athletes],” he says. So while comparing notes (and commiserating) is all part of the process, soreness and DOMS isn’t the best gauge of how effective your workout was or who’s in better shape.

Myth #3: The more fit you are, the less susceptible you are to DOMS.

It’s true that you will start to feel less sore as your body adapts to your workouts and learns to distribute the workload across your muscle fibers more effectively. That’s why you should regularly change up your exercise routine.

However, there is also a genetic component to how sensitive we are to pain and soreness. “People can be no-responders, low-responders or high-responders to soreness,” says Mike. If you’re a high-responder, you will experience DOMS more acutely than someone who is a no- or low-responder when given the same training load. While you can’t change your genes, it is important to know where you fall on the spectrum to understand how your body may respond to changes in your workouts.

Myth #4: Muscle damage is a bad thing.

Yes, DOMS appears to be caused by trauma to your muscle fibers, but it’s not a definitive measure of muscle damage. In fact, a certain degree of soreness seems to be necessary. “When muscles repair themselves, they get larger and stronger than before so that [muscle soreness] doesn’t happen again,” says Vazquez. While these mechanisms are not completely understood, Mike notes that some muscle trauma is needed to stimulate protein production and muscle growth.

Myth #5: Pre- and post-workout stretching is a good way to prevent and treat DOMS.

Unfortunately, no. A review of studies for the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews on the effects of stretching before or after exercise on the development of delayed-onset muscle soreness found that pre- and post-workout stretching did not reduce the effects of DOMS in healthy adults. In fact, research has found that static stretching prior to working out does not safeguard you against injury and may actually decrease your power and strength.

While you may not be able to avoid soreness altogether, ACSM suggests advancing slowly with a new workout, giving your muscles time to adapt and recover. Vazquez recommends always including a proper warm-up (including dynamic stretching), and cooldown period as part of your routine.

RELATED: 10 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Workout

Stop Waddling: How to Recover from DOMS

There are a number of ways to alleviate those can’t-make-it-up-the-stairs symptoms. A sports massage is one good way to reduce the effects. “A massage will move the fluid and blood around in your body, which can help heal the microtrauma in your muscles better,” says Haythe. A study in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation found massage to be beneficial on both gait and feelings of post-workout soreness.

Other common ways to treat DOMS include foam rolling, contrast showers (alternating between hot and cold water), Epsom salt baths, increased protein intake (to increase protein synthesis) and omega-3 supplementation (to reduce inflammation), and sleep. New research in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that supplementing with saffron may also help to alleviate DOMS. Regardless of your preferred Rx, Haythe recommends looking at your diet to make sure you’re taking in nutrients to help your body heal. “Find a diet that can really help you feel the best that you can feel,” she says.

When It’s More Than Just Soreness

There may be times when you overdo it with your workout and feel bad. Really bad. But when should you be concerned?

“If your level of soreness does not go down significantly after 72 hours and into the 96 hours mark,” says Mike. ACSM advises that if the pain becomes debilitating, you experience heavy swelling in your limbs or your urine becomes dark in color, you should see your doctor.

If it’s an injury, you’re more likely to feel it immediately during your workout— something that should never be ignored. Soreness, on the other hand, will appear gradually, often the next day. “An injury will likely limit your range of motion and last longer than three days,” says Haythe.

When all is said and done, DOMS shouldn’t be avoided or revered. And it shouldn’t be your only gauge of your level of fitness or strength. “People think that the only part of their workout that matters is the hard part,” Vazquez says. “But, you can do more of the hard part if you don’t injure yourself.”

Long-term, Haythe says, “You’ll build more muscle, strength and endurance if you give your muscles a chance to take a deep breath and recover.”

—By Christine Yu for Life by DailyBurn

About the Author

Life by DailyBurn
Life by DailyBurn

Life by DailyBurn is dedicated to helping you live a healthier, happier and more active lifestyle. Whether your goal is to lose weight, build strength or de-stress, a better you is well within reach. Get more health and fitness tips at Life by DailyBurn.

 

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58 responses to “What You May Not Know About Muscle Soreness”

  1. Sandy says:

    Suggestions for tendinitis

    • John Higson says:

      Get a registered physiotherapist to give you deep friction massage on the affected tendons.It’ll hurt pretty badly,but it’ll resolve pretty quick too!

      And don’t waste your money on essential oils as pushed by Sierra,it won’t have any effect except to increase someone else’s bank balance and lighten your!

  2. janet says:

    Magnesium Potassium L-Aspartate with a good glass of water after exercise will flush out the lactic acid and prevent pain. Good for muscle pain from fibro myalgia too. An old weightlifters remedy.

    • Guest says:

      The article states that “People produce lactate all the time, even at rest. It clears your system 30 minutes to 1 hour after working out,” so it seems that the introduction of a substance to “flush” lactic acid is unnecessary. Thoughts?

      • janet says:

        .try it sometime…….

      • Alice Ehrler says:

        I agree as I did read the article as well; however, in contrast, I DO take magnesium citrate after my workouts and before bed and it DOES seem to significantly help.

        Cheers!

      • frgough says:

        Yeah, the people need to read up on cellular respiration.

      • female avatar would fit says:

        I’m in pain constantly and on many Rx’s for many conditions. My diabetic neuropathy doesn’t help matters either. I’m going out on a limb here, but think that it may take longer to flush out of some people. People who are like me, regardless of age, suffer from pain the same day , and at least the next one to two days after exercise.

    • female avatar would fit says:

      Thanks Janet. I had not heard of magnesium potassium L-aspartate. Where do you get it? I have Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, spinal stenosis and a bunch of other conditions and could use some help after exercise. I’m 62 now and can’t do it all the exercises I used to do, but try my best to keep exercising at least 3 times a week. I appreciate your information.

      • janet says:

        I had been reading some books by Adele Davis and fibromyalgia used to be referred to as a condition called fibro cystis and among the supplements she recommended were magnesium an potassium in a L-aspartate form for quick availability. I took my list of supplements to the health food store. The owner was a body builder and he said that the mag & potassium would be beneficial to clear out the buildup of lactic acid and other fluids out of my muscles and that he and other body builders used it to solve muscle pain after work out. It took several weeks for relief to be really noticeable but it helped alot. As a person with fibro I can not do vigorous exercise but it helped me get through day to day activity for many years. Of course the condition does grow and develop and at some point I had to add a more potent medication to meet other problems but the KMag still noticibly assists with allowing supple movement after activity. This isin no way a prescpition but just a sharing of my experience.

        • female avatar would fit says:

          Thanks for sharing. I am so sorry you have fibro. It’s not a lot of fun. I’ll run this by my doctor when I see him next. I’m on 18 Rx’s, and need to know if this would be a problem with my heart med or any other one I’m on.

          I’ve tried magnesium that has malic acid and is supposed to help. After taking it for 6 months with no results, I decided to save the money and go off it.

          Before fibro, I had fallen at work and nearly got knocked out when my shoulder arm and then my chin hit the floor. I was tried on steroids that should never be given to women. Not that it mattered since I started early menopause when I was 24. Some were shots, but I would take a few days of steroids and started throwing up. My regular doc demanded that my ortho doc never give me any more steroids or NSAIDS, as both had caused bleeding ulcers. It’s scary seeing bright red blood in the porcelain throne.

          From 1995, when I was first diagnosed, I have been on every conceivable NSAID there is. I would throw up or would tolerate them for a while and then severe rectal bleeding would occur. So they put me on narcotics in 1999 and I have tolerated them just fine.

          Thanks again and good luck with your fibro.

  3. JGSI says:

    Taking any supplements to ease the discomfort of DOMS is again more placebo than true effect…. if weightlifters do it then it must be so sort of group justification.
    Muscle soreness is a fact of life.. it is a good thing, live with it. If it happens every time you exercise, probably you are just exercising too infrequently. If it happens if you exercise every day, then something else is wrong – go sort it – either in your head or by a better routine. As a cyclist I rarely get classic DOMS, but after a race day, I’d be unhappy not getting tired legs .. probably meaning I left too much at home and not enough on the road.. if I have consecutive days racing, then I have to target and use my brain.

  4. John Higson says:

    So the article states that Lactic acid is not to blame,it’s other factors like micro-tears and Ca+ ions etc,and the first comment is about how to flush out lactic acid! You madam,are a halfwit of the first order!

    • markmac123 says:

      Evidence? Supporting links?
      Or are you just an asshole of the first order?

      • John Higson says:

        Did you read the article? Or are you just trolling the comments? I would refer you to my exercise physiology textbooks but I can’t be arsed aRsehole!

        • markmac123 says:

          Uh yeah, half-wit of the first order, show me where she mentions “lactic acid” in recovering from DOMS. Hint:”Fluid and blood are NOT lactic acid. Troll

          Stop Waddling: How to Recover from DOMS

          There are a number of ways to alleviate those can’t-make-it-up-the-stairs symptoms. A sports massage is one good way to reduce the effects. “A massage will move the fluid and blood around in your body, which can help heal the microtrauma in your muscles better,” says Haythe. A study in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation found massage to be beneficial on both gait and feelings of post-workout soreness.

          Other common ways to treat DOMS include foam rolling, contrast showers (alternating between hot and cold water), Epsom salt baths, increased protein intake (to increase protein synthesis) and omega-3 supplementation (to reduce inflammation), and sleep. New research in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that supplementing with saffron may also help to alleviate DOMS. Regardless of your preferred Rx, Haythe recommends looking at your diet to make sure you’re taking in nutrients to help your body heal. “Find a diet that can really help you feel the best that you can feel,” she says.

          When It’s More Than Just Soreness

          There may be times when you overdo it with your workout and feel bad. Really bad. But when should you be concerned?

          “If your level of soreness does not go down significantly after 72 hours and into the 96 hours mark,” says Mike. ACSM advises that if the pain becomes debilitating, you experience heavy swelling in your limbs or your urine becomes dark in color, you should see your doctor.

          If it’s an injury, you’re more likely to feel it immediately during your workout— something that should never be ignored. Soreness, on the other hand, will appear gradually, often the next day. “An injury will likely limit your range of motion and last longer than three days,” says Haythe.

          When all is said and done, DOMS shouldn’t be avoided or revered. And it shouldn’t be your only gauge of your level of fitness or strength. “People think that the only part of their workout that matters is the hard part,” Vazquez says. “But, you can do more of the hard part if you don’t injure yourself.”

          Long-term, Haythe says, “You’ll build more muscle, strength and endurance if you give your muscles a chance to take a deep breath and recover.”

          —By Christine Yu for Life by DailyBurn

          • John Higson says:

            Are you talking about the article or the comments?? Because I’m talking about the first comment in the comments section and she definitely DOES mention lactic acid(her Disqus name is Janet)and ‘flushing it out’! Wow,I won’t mention what part of a horse you look like now,but in Britain we spell it with an ‘R’. Next time read the thread……

          • Dee says:

            You’re a typical Brit, always putting people down thinkin ur better than anyone else. If you’ve nothin good to say, get off the thread!! Typical English, ugh!

          • John Higson says:

            Just to prove your point, ‘thinking’ and ‘you’re’ or ‘you are’ are the correct English. Also,’anyone’ is interrogative I think,and ‘everyone’ would be more correct in this instance.’Nothing’ is also a more readily accepted form in written English than ‘nothin’

            ‘If you’ve nothin good to say, get off the thread!!’

            This of course is dreadful nonsense! In that case nothing would ever be corrected and blatant falsehoods would be allowed to fester forever on the interweb! I prefer to correct what appears to be errant rubbish in the expectation that I will be corrected in return.This is the way human beings progress beyond old wives tales and superstition.If you object to the superior tone(which I’m not sure exists) then fair enough,but to object to fair correction calls into question your comprehension.

            Who says I’m English? I only mentioned Britain or are you ignorant of the fact that we are not all English? Typical uneducated American!!!

          • Mm2015 says:

            Delivered

          • Nigel William Rodgers says:

            Hahaha. Brilliant.

          • rob combs says:

            How many of you nerds actually work out? Follow closely. Work out get sore…eat right rest feel better.

          • John Higson says:

            Just because we know some of the details doesn’t mean we don’t get in the trenches and get dirty! I’ve been working out for 33 years and believe it or not sometimes I get curious as to the effects of a workout and want to know why some things have one effect and some workouts have others.It’s called curiosity and it’s one of the signature traits of the human animal. I’m not erroneous in thinking you’re human am I?

    • frgough says:

      The article is wrong. Cellular respiration has two pathways: aerobic and anaerobic. When cell energy demands exceed available oxygen, the cell switches to anaerobic respiration, the byproduct of which is lactic acid. Which immediately begins damaging the cell.

      • Yogilaura says:

        The byproduct, lactic acid, is from both aerobic as well as anaerobic pathways. It is a buffer in the blood to maintain pH and clears the blood relatively quickly after a workout and even quicker if performing an active cool down.

        • freemachine says:

          Wrong. Lactic acid is not a buffer. A buffer would have to be a combination of lactate (from sodium lactate, a conjugate base) and lactic acid (a weak acid). If you use the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation and set the pH to 7 and the pKa of lactic acid to 3.8, the ratio of lactate to lactic acid would be 1,585. So if you’re producing lactic acid, not lactate, where would all this lactate come from to form a buffer system that could maintain pH 7? This article has some very serious problems.

          (I’m a biochemist, so I’m pretty sure I know what I’m talking about here)

          • dhdn xxx nfcbnccn says:

            Oh

          • Lizzie says:

            Lactic acid is produced during exercise, not afterward.

          • Lizzie says:

            I get muscle soreness when I change to an activity that I’m not use to or if it’s been a few days since my last workout. I try to exercise 5 days a week. Cardio 2x and weights 3x. When I went on vacation and didn’t work out, the first couple of weeks were brutal
            Until my body acclimated.

      • ben says:

        Yes good point. Anaerobic is in fact the only thing that usually makes people sore, if you ar sore after cardio, you probably still went anaerobic. This burns proteins on top of carbs, and uses oxygen already in the cell, the creatine monohydrate that is in your cell burns up to create energy that the cellular skeleton uses to move. This is way breathing while lifting weights for less than 30seconds will not help you lift more, the oxygen in the blood does nothing. If you lift less while holding air in your lungs, it is rather because less oxygen to your brain. Soreness in general is irrelevant to muscle growth. Your muscles, believe it or not, are recovered completely in only 2 hours unless you pulled them or injured them. Your joints and lymph system take at least24 hours to heal after a workout that pushed you to failure, but muscle cells themselves are resilient, if you lift less while you are sore it is because of psychosomatic stress.

        • John Higson says:

          Nonsense from start to finish! Typical example of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing.

        • female avatar would fit says:

          Ben, it’s apparent that you don’t understand and neither does JGSI. Sometimes people for various reasons have problems with exercise. Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS (which is having the name changed to something else, spinal stenosis and and other conditions can really make exercise difficult. I used to be incredibly active. I walked or rode my bike. I could swim, dive; waterski, could rollerskating and ice skate till I was told to leave because the rinks were closing. A simple fall while delivering paychecks in a factory changed my entire life. After 30 days in a hospital, dying from sudden cardiac death the morning after my first shoulder surgery and being brought back to life, having two more shoulder surgeries, really weakened my immune system and changed what I was physically able to do. I’m 27% permanently partially disabled on my right side from that fall and have been so susceptible to germs and viruses since then.

          I guess after I’ve been 62 since Nov 2014, I have finally learned to live with my limitations. You might want to keep people like me in mind that aren’t a ball of energy and are not able to do all that a healthy person can do. Even Cher has CFS.

    • freemachine says:

      The article is wrong. If you were taking one of my biochemistry courses I would fail you in a heartbeat.

      • John Higson says:

        It’s my understanding that DOMS is not well understood,and that the exact mechanism is not known.Thus we get a confused article and a confused and inaccurate response in the comments!

        The most persuasive conjecture on DOMS that I’ve heard/read about is the presence or absence of Troponins (C?) which soak up excess Ca+ ions from the action potentials in the muscle cells.When you stop training for a period of time(depends on the individual) or haven’t trained before the Troponins are absent and therefore the Ca+ions act as free radicals and attack the sarcolemma(?).Whereas once training commences the Troponins are produced and prevent said damage.It’s an elegant theory and fits the know facts. Micro-tears in the muscles contribute inflammatory chemicals as well(Bradykinins,Histamines etc).Correct me if I’m wrong.

        Never did Biochemistry,only Physiology. Would’ve liked to have though….

        • freemachine says:

          Calcium is a divalent metal (2+) and is unable to initiate radical reactions. Calcium is also not that reactive, thankfully. The hypothesis of micro-tears is valid, and I believe that this is the primary reason for soreness. Still, I had to chime in on this thread because lactic acid build up is a serious contributor as well, and I hate to see people discount that as a cause. You are correct about the other players is the inflammatory response, though they are less of a factor. For example, histamine, when in high concentrations, binds to the H3 receptor on presynaptic vesicles and auto-inhibits the production/release of more histamine. Therefore this pathway is highly regulated and not likely to be a factor in DOMS. Physiology is a great course, and I think everyone should take that in order to better understand how their bodies work. Biochemistry is also a great major, but so incredibly difficult because it’s a marriage of so many difficult subjects. Mastering it can be challenging if you have any weakness in chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, etc.

    • ce says:

      Dear John Hingson,

      I’m have started working out again. 🙂 I noticed that the only time I have plenty of energy is when I take DMG supplements. I’m addicted to them because they make me feel great. I normally take 3 before a workout (I exercise 3x a week). Have you heard of DMG? Thoughts?
      Thanks

  5. Amanda says:

    I kept telling Mr know it all boyfriend I don’t have to stretch before I workout. Naanaa I’m about to email this to him. Lol. THANKS

    • mnamna says:

      That’s a slight misinterpretation of what they wrote. Stretching may not prevent DOMS and ‘static’ stretching is not a great idea pre-workout, but some dynamic stretching prior to working out is a preventative measure to reduce risk of muscle/ join injury during workout.

  6. jj says:

    Someone suggested to me taking an asprin before a workout. I believe the idea was to help blood flow and somehow reduce soreness. Thoughts.

    • Alice Ehrler says:

      That’s a bad idea as it may lead to overtraining. Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory and sometimes feeling inflammation is good as that lets you know when to stop.

    • John Higson says:

      As Alice says,aspirin is an anti-inflammatory drug and probably shouldn’t be taken prophylactically, but it probably would help blood flow and reduce inflammation(not sure about blood flow).However,reducing inflammation,while it may seem to be a good thing on first viewing,may not actually be that good an outcome.There is a persuasive school of thought that says that the inflammatory response is vital to training effect(getting better or bigger) and it’s absence may preclude it(stunt progress).Anyone with better information,please correct!

  7. veganer says:

    Go Lobos. The University of New Mexico!

  8. Alice Ehrler says:

    Wow, some of the commenters in this article sure are rash. Perhaps you should be attacking the weights in the gym instead of each other. Maybe then you’d get some real results and get to understand what works best for you 🙂

    Cheers

    • Kuchka says:

      Good on you! I couldn’t agree more with your statement Alice.

    • female avatar would fit says:

      Most posting sites are like this. People have an innate urge to protect their own opinions. It’s something you get used to. So far, this has been tame by comparison.

      Alice, your feelings are well noted. Don’t let people get to you.

  9. Tony says:

    A reason eccentric muscle contraction or “negative reps” may cause more soreness, is that the muscles do more work. You can use higher weights or reps than normal contraction exercises for a given feeling of exhaustion.

    This may be explained by a concept: “muscle friction” which seems also explain why one can lift a given maximum weight, then hold a 20 percent higher weight without letting it fall, and a further 20 percent higher weight in a controlled fall (negative rep). Ie, the muscle (in terms of force X distance) – does more work. There may or may not be real friction in the physical sense, but it does give insight into why eccentric contraction, on its own, causes more damage.

    • Tony says:

      I should have said, “it may be that eccentric contraction, with more weights or reps causes more soreness – (eccentric contraction on its own – may not) …

  10. John Bikadi says:

    who cares, Just keep working out and stay healthy. the point here is everybody gets sore after a good workout, it doesn’t matter what you wanna call it

  11. Aroop Kundu says:

    nice article… one of the very few i get to see at mfp
    +1

  12. great post Christine glad to read. Good information about muscle soreness. Muscle soreness is a fact of life and it is feel many times when exercise.
    thanks

  13. Erika Hornyak says:

    This is a good article except for the write up on Myth #5. While I agree that static stretching prior to a workout can possibly decrease your power and strength, I think stating that it can’t help prevent injury is inaccurate generally speaking. I also am of the opinion that static stretching after your workout DOES help with DOMS. Why would people who have had a tough workout want to stretch after if not to help their body recover? During your workout your muscles are contracting and will stay tight and contracted to some degree post workout. You should be stretching them after your workout to lengthen and bring them back to their natural state and increase your flexibility.

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