What are sore muscles


In order to prevent muscle soreness, recovery massages are performed on professional athletes, as part of a global post-workout care also including cold packs, rehydration and restoration of energy reserves

More about sore muscles

Post-workout sore muscles, also called DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) are lesion-free delayed muscle pains experienced after an unusual effort that caused an inflammatory reaction of the connective muscular tissues, resulting in diffuse cellular micro-injuries. These micro-injuries lead to very small bleeding and therefore to an increase of muscular pressure that causes delayed pains and contractures within 6 to 48 hours after a workout

These pains and contractures are often mistakenly associated with the production of a muscular waste called lactic acid, whereas it has a physiological origin related to a cardio-respiratory adaptation to the effort causing an increase in the cardiac output proportional to the level of effort and therefore to the exercise process, i.e. aerobic or anaerobic

More about adaptation to effort

 Exercising at maximum heart rate (220-age) will use all energy processes until muscle reserves are depleted. Exercising at what is called the MAS (maximal aerobic speed), i.e. at 75% of the maximum heart rate, is known as aerobic training.

The effort-limiting factors at maximum power are muscle mass, strength and muscle contraction speed; they can be improved through strength and speed exercises, with an aim at optimising motor command qualities and muscle mass development.

Nutrition is also involved since the muscles are high in protein - indeed, 60 to 70% of the body proteins are stored in the muscles. In order to increase their mass, protein synthesis should be improved, requiring an increase in the protein intake in the diet, a fact well known by athletes.

Natural performance limitation due to the adaptability to exercise should be distinguished from muscle sores due to the adjustment of your abilities in terms of intensity, duration or technique.


Docteur Patrick Bacquaert

Médecin chef de l'IRBMS

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Sport is good for your health, and the objective is to avoid injuries and microtraumas and to recover as quickly as possible to enjoy the benefits of sport and maintain one's fitness and wellness
Post-workout muscle soreness can be avoided or lessened so that it becomes tolerable and is not an obstacle either to everyday life or to going back to the stadium as soon as possible