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If you have ever exercised in your life or even if you have ever even carried a baby or a particularly heavy stack of books then you have probably experienced muscle soreness and DOMS. DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness and is different from regular muscle soreness basically since it takes a while before it sets in. In both cases though, the exerciser will feel a sore sensation, something like a bruise, along the muscle belly.

If you were to get out of your computer chair and spend a minute doing push-ups you might find it harder to type afterwards. This uncomfortable sensation would be regular muscle soreness. The sore feeling that you would have in the morning would be DOMS and in a severe case could discourage you from ever exercising at the computer again. Delay onset muscle soreness basically kicks in when your muscles have swollen with water a bit because of micro sized tears in the actual muscle tissue.

When you exercise there is always an eccentric contraction that accompanies the concentric contraction that the exercise usually highlights. It is interesting that the point of any exercise is usually the concentric contraction but it is actually the eccentric contractions that cause DOMS. This is a little misleading since the concentric contraction which is the focus of the exercise and the eccentric contraction that leads to DOMS do not happen at the same time. These two contractions happen at different times because they are taking place in the same muscle and a muscle cannot contract eccentrically, that is to lengthen, and contract concentrically, or shorten, at the same time. This being said, in the upward motion of a curl the bicep would shorten and the triceps would lengthen. In the downward motion the roles would be reversed and it would be the eccentric contraction of the bicep that would lead to DOMS.