January 13, 2017
By Alison Powers, ALP Cycles Coaching
After spending 4 hours re-creating our Off Season Strength Program last month, I was sore. My glutes, upper back, and hamstrings all had signs of DOMS. DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) is a common result of physical activity that stresses the body and more specifically, the muscle tissue, beyond what it is accustomed to. As a cyclist, my muscles are used to contracting concentrically- meaning they push and the muscle shortens. This means, I (and most cyclists) get sore easily when starting a new activity that makes our muscles contract eccentrically- strength training, running, etc.
After participating in some kind of strenuous, particularly something new to your body, it is common to experience muscle soreness. This soreness, DOMS, can start as soon as six to eight hours post-exercise, and peak around the 48 hour (2 days) mark. DOMS is the product of inflammation of microscopic damage to the muscle fibers involved the exercise.
DOMS can occur anywhere in the body that has recently been exposed to unfamiliar or intense physical activity. While most exercise can induce some DOMS, exercise with a greater emphasis on the eccentric phase (muscles lengthen while force is applied - i.e. resisting the weight) plays the most significant role in the manifestation of DOMS.
One of the best ways to reduce the severity of DOMS is to progress slowly when starting a new exercise, workout, or training plan. Taking the time to allow the muscle to adapt to new stress should help to minimize the severity of DOMS, but it is unlikely that soreness can be avoided altogether. Proper warm-up is also important in preparing the muscle for the types of forces that may cause damage.
DOMS is not a bad thing- unless the soreness gets in the way of daily activities, then you may have over done it. DOMS means you are challenging your muscles to do something they are not used to doing- and that’s how you get stronger. To aid in recovery, post workout be sure to do a short cool down, consume protein (NBS recovery drink) to help your muscles start to recover, foam roll, and stretch. Allow the muscles time to recover from the training that produced soreness. Once DOMS is gone, you should be recovered, and ready to challenge your body again.
Happy new year and here's to DOMS and getting stronger.
Alison Powers only recently retired from cycling, finishing her final season on the UnitedHealthcare Women’s Team. Her career has spanned a wide array of wins, including the 2013 USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship where she won in memorable fashion by soloing after an early breakaway that obliterated the pro women’s peloton. Other standout results during the 33-year-old’s 2013 season include the win at Redlands Bicycle Classic, second at the Tour of Elk Grove, third at the US National Road Championship and the US National Time Trial Championship, and stage wins at Cascade Classic, Tulsa Tough, Tour of the Gila and Redlands Bicycle Classic. Hailing from Fraser, Colorado, Powers has been racing bikes professionally for eight years and is a true athlete with her career beginning as a teenager in mountain bike racing. In her mid 20s, she added in alpine ski racing before switching over to the road. In addition to being the current Criterium National Champion, Powers has two other national championships (Time Trial, Team Pursuit) and 2 NRC titles (2009, 2013).
About ALP Cycles Coaching
ALP Cycles Coaching is located in the mountains of Colorado, and is a cycling coaching company with over 25 years of professional sports experience. ALP Cycles Coaching is unique in that we have 4 coaches, Alison Powers, Jennifer Triplett, and Patricia Schwager who each brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. We work together to create a training plan that works for each and every person. Visit them online at http://alpcyclescoaching.com
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The last lap took everything she had. She crossed the finish line euphoric and then slumped over her bike, weaving to a stop and bent over, exhausted from the effort.
We all have a pain cave. The question is - how deep do you dig when you approach it? How willing are you to push beyond your perceived physical and mental limitations? And what is it you fear most that you tend to avoid because it shines a light on an area you need to address?
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