You've Got a Case of the DOMS

You’ve Got a Case of the DOMS

I am sore as shit!  Mary kicked my ass yesterday.  I took today as a rest day since this week was so nuts with work and my sleep hasn’t been great.  So thinking about how sore I am, and it will probably be worse tomorrow, I looked up DOMS and CrossFit and found this little gem in the CrossFit Journal.

If you’ve done a higher volume bodyweight workout lately (Cindy, Mary, Barbara, Nicole…) you know how I feel right now.  I used to do these types of workouts regularly and could handle them well.  In fact it’s when I felt my best, I may not have been as strong, but I my capacity with the movements and volume was fantastic.  I’d love to get back there again.

Check out this article, it’s a great read and explains a lot about muscle soreness and how it’s necessary for maximum muscle adaptation.  Not only does it explain that, but it also talks about ways to progress and avoid overdoing it with your workouts, CrossFit or otherwise.  But what I found really refreshing is that the article specifically addresses why bodyweight workouts make you the most sore.  Perfect!

Think about the types of CrossFit workouts that make you sore. What are they? The thing that has surprised me most about CrossFit is the degree and depth of soreness that one gets from the high repetition bodyweight workouts. I remember the first time I did the pull-ups/pushups/squats of Cindy (it wasn’t even a full Cindy – only 12 minutes). I thought I was reasonably fit, but that was close to being the most soreness I have ever experienced in my life! I was initially surprised that the heavy strength days (workouts with rep schemes like 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 or 3-3-3-3-3) while tiring, didn’t produce the same level of soreness as some of those other bodyweight workouts. So what might be the explanation?

Research has shown that faster eccentric contractions tend to cause greater strain and thus greater damage within muscle. This is why many people really notice soreness after workouts that involve explosive and/or jumping type movements. With a high repetition bodyweight workout such as Cindy, I think the degree of soreness can probably be attributed to two things: first, the high number of total repetitions/work done (20 rounds of Cindy equates to 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 squats) and, second, the relatively high speed at which these repetitions are performed. Compare these numbers to a heavy back squat day of 3-3-3-3-3. Yes, the tension in the muscle will be higher with the heavier weights but the total repetitions with the heavy weight are only 15 and, critically, those repetitions cannot be performed at the same speed as during an unloaded Cindy, thus resulting in potentially less intramuscular strain and thus damage.

Bottom line in my mind, is that you need to hit all these ranges in your programming.  I’m sore a shit from 10 rounds of Mary.  That tells me that I’m not accustomed to the high volume, fast, full range of motion demands of that workout like I used be.  Funny thing was I was just thinking about how I haven’t been sore in a while and we’ve hit some pretty hard workouts.  Maybe the answer was I needed to spice it up with some bodyweight movements and workouts, like Mary.

The other part of this article I found really helpful is this segment:

Remember that muscle damage and soreness are essential and probably unavoidable pre-requisites for optimal muscular adaptation. If you have an aversion to feeling sore, you can either stop doing CrossFit (not an option for most!) or reframe your attitude. How? Try any or all of the following:
1. DOMS can make you feel less guilty about taking rest days.
2. DOMS is a sign that your body is adapting.
3. DOMS gives you valuable delayed feedback about your performance in the exercises concerned.

Enjoy! Happy Friday!

Food for your brain

Great read for a friday.  F*&k It!

The “Fuck It” diet – Margaret Cho