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DOMS/AMS/Lactic Acid Build-Up



Aug 11, 2010
Muscle Soreness

I'm sure many of you know delayed onset muscle soreness (Has an acronym - DOMS),acute muscle soreness (AMS),and the burning sensation that you feel through/during the exercises.

What causes muscle soreness?
In very simple terms, in order to build strength you must overload the muscle. By overloading the muscle you cause micro-tears, when the muscle heals it becomes stronger. Movements that cause muscle soreness have been shown to produce localized damage to the muscle fibers. Chemical irritants such as histamine are released from damaged muscles and can irritate pain receptors in the muscle. Also, muscle damage often causes a slight swelling in the muscle tissue which creates enough pressure to stimulate these pain receptors. However, it has been shown that some swelling may persist even after the muscle soreness has disappeared. So, it is thought the pain receptors either gradually adapt to the swelling or to some other factors present.

Also it was shown that muscle soreness happens during eccentric part of lifts (negative lifts). An example would be when you do bicep curls, you stretch out (lengthen) your muscle while contracting it.

What causes DOMS?
Although scientists aren't 100% sure about it, it is said (This was shown as a valid statement) that delayed muscle soreness is due to microscopic tearing of the muscle fibers. People who are new to exercise or carry out an exercise programme which is more intense than they are used to, more often than not, suffer from DOMS. But not only beginners, a person of any other fitness level can suffer from DOMS too. This can be due to drastically changing your workout routine, or over-loading the muscle with the weight.

In addition to microscopic tearing, swelling may take place in and around a muscle, which can also contribute to delayed soreness. Such swelling increases pressure on the neighboring structures, resulting in greater muscle pain and stiffness. Eccentric muscle contractions tend to cause both microtearing and swelling.

Although your muscles hurt experiencing the delayed soreness, there is no permanent damage associated with DOMS. DOMS ususally happen within 12-48 hours after the workout, and exceeds for 3-5 days. In extreme cases, if that soreness doesn't go away within 7 days and/or exceeds 7 days, contact the doctor.

Some people say that muscle soreness is when your muscles grow. This statement is false. Muscle soreness doesn't in any way have relationship with protein synthesis (muscle growth).

So, should I train while my muscles are sore or/and experiencing DOMS?
If the muscle soreness is minor, then you can train. In any other cases when your muscles hurt when you contract them, you should not train, if you do - this might cause over-training. For all of those who want to know what overtraining is, read Travis Stenerson's article on it at

What causes AMS?
Acute muscle soreness (Has an ancronym - AMS) is experienced during the "pump" of the muscles. It usually disappears within a couple of hours after a workout. It is due to blood over-flow in the muscles. It usually makes our muscle a bit bigger but our muscles take its normal shape after the AMS is over. AMS doesn't have any relationship with protein synthesis neither.

What causes lactic acid build-up?
Lactic acid build up is most commonly associated with the intense burning pain felt in your muscles after an intense effort. Recently, a lot of attention has been focused on reducing lactic acid build so you can exercise at a higher intensity for a longer time and improving performance. For more info on lactic acid build-up, read my article at "Post Your Own Articles" Section of those boards called "Carbohydrate Process 911". You'll find it there.

For those of you who didn't figure it out yet, lactic acid build-up also doesn't have any effects on protein synthesis.

How can I eliminate the DOMS?
Stretch - there's not a great deal of physiological support for stretching as a way to eliminate the cause of soreness or repair the tissue damage, but it may make you feel better temporarily. The goal is not to increase flexibility, but to take the muscles through a comfortable range of motion.

Move - physical activity tends to temporarily eliminate the muscle soreness after a workout. It may be difficult to begin, but you'll feel better while you're doing it. Keep the intensity low.
Massage - muscle massage has received a great deal of support as a way to help muscles recover.
Hot tub it - another popular method for recovery, this brings not only relief but a feeling of relaxation as well.
Evaluate your program - occasional discomfort after a workout is not uncommon. However, severe pain, or intense soreness on a regular basis may indicate that your workout is inappropriate for your body's adaptation capabilities. Back off on intensity if necessary to ensure you don't over-train or get injured.

I'll repeat it again, muscle soreness doesn't have any effects on protein synthesis. And for all of you who has been scared of muscle soreness can forget about the fear. Muscle soreness doesn't have any negative effects on you unless this soreness exceeds for a long time. An example would be when you need to contact your doctor is when DOMS surpasses 7 days. And you're not supposed to be training while your muscle are sore, unless it is a minor soreness.


Oct 11, 2010
Reps Guss, that's a good read! Just throwing it out there but in my expirience BA helps with DOMS and lactic acid build up. One just has to get gauge their tolerance and get used to the flushing and tingles it causes.


Sep 22, 2010
Only problem with this is the Heat part. Yeah heat is good and feels great to the area, but it also increases inflammation. This increase will diminish blood flow to help get garbage out of the area and fresh blood flow in. 20 min (at least or it doesn't work) of ice, and not directly on the area (put a washcloth or towel between) will get vasodilation involved and help healing rate faster. So IMO try heat, stretching, and then ice. Try it, it works.


Senior Member
Oct 12, 2010
DOMS - I get it after taking a break for more than about 10 days. But once I get back to my training, they never seem to come back. Not sure why, but they don't.