Imagine one just finishes their grueling and intense workout and goes home to rest and recover. The very next day they feel a dull and aching pain in the muscle group that they worked out on yesterday, the pain is very intense and it is hard for them to move that muscle group. They think of giving up since the pain is unbearable and think to themselves “Hey why would I want to feel this way every time I workout” and most likely give up on their fitness goals. If you are reading this you may be one of those people that usually give up when they feel that pain known as DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness, however I assure you if you stick and fight through the pain you will grow!
Question: Does Muscle Soreness Equal Muscle?
I truly believe that DOMS or delayed onset muscles soreness does equal muscle growth. I will justify my claim later on, but first lets get started with the science about DOMS and how it equals muscle growth.
What is DOMS?:
Delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS is the pain and stiffness you feel when your body is under new stress. This stress can be achieved from lifting something your body is not accustomed to. This can be from lifting something heavy or from endurance lifting. If your training correctly and efficiently, you should feel DOMS after each and every grueling workout. The pain and stiffness usually increase in the hours after a workout and then peak around 24-48 hours late. In most cases DOMS is gone within 6-7 days.
The Science Behind DOMS:
We all know that DOMS is known to occur most often after an unaccustomed workout or when the intensity is higher then what is one used to, but what causes it?. Well it is believed that this type of workout causes microscopic tears in the muscle and the infiltration of immune cells. This along with the secretion of myokines sensitizes the nerves running through the tissue. The result of all this is a dull ache in the muscle.
So How Does This Soreness Equal Muscle Growth?:
Well its quite simple. DOMS is the indicator of microscopic tears in the muscle, these tears occur when one goes to the gym and breaks down the muscle. Remember you do not grow in the gym, you grow at home when you eat, rest and recover! Therefore when you eat, rest and recover the body itself recovers from these microscopic tears and the result is a bigger and stronger muscle. However if one is not fully recovered or not giving oneself the proper nutrients needed for recovery process, the muscle will not grow and stay the same. That is why its important to recover and rest after a hard gym session. Trust me, if your body recovers from DOMS you will grow!