What is the best recovery tool?
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Do you ever get muscle soreness a day or two after a big training session? Is this hindering your ability to train on a scheduled day? Today we are going to discuss which recovery tool is the best to reduce delayed muscle onset soreness (DOMs).
FIrst of all, what is DOMs? DOMs refers to delayed onset muscle soreness. After an intense session of training, you may experience this condition. DOMs usually happen within 24-48hours after exercise. The exact reason for DOMs happening is unclear. However the most accepted theory is that exercising causes mechanical damage of muscle cells and inflammatory processes.
Secondly is it possible to prevent DOMS? This is a question that a lot of people ask because no one wants to feel pain. The answer is that evidence suggests DOMS can be minimised through massage, stretching, or by wearing compression garments. But which one is the best? Before we reveal it, we will discuss how each one affects DOMS.
Massage: It is one of the most traditional and common methods to reduce DOMS. It is usually done immediately after or within 2hours for 20-30min. Since DOMS is caused by muscle cell damage, massage will increase muscle blood circulation and reduce muscle oedema. This allows muscle tension and stiffness relief. Therefore reduces pain.
Compression garment: A relatively new trend of recovery tool compared to massage and stretching. It is suggested that by wearing a compression garment, there is reduced space for muscle swelling and oedema. The study shows that compression garment was worn over a 24hours period during and after intense exercise.
Stretching: Stretching muscles is suggested to restore blood flow along muscle fibers and therefore promotes healing. Typically an individual would stretch either before or after exercising for 30seconds to 2minutes.
Finally, it is suggested by evidence that massage is the best option as a recovery tool. According to Baloy, 2016, Stretching is suggested to be the least useful. They found no reduction in pain level for DOMS. Compression garment comes in second. It is suggested that there are good effects by wearing compressions during and after exercise for 24hours. Massage is the winner for this contest. They found the best and significant pain reduction within 72hours after exercise session.
Take Home Message:
For the majority of the people, massage would work the best. However, not everyone has access to this kind of service. Therefore it is not a bad idea of trying out a compression garment since it is the second best option. Lastly although evidence suggests that stretching has no effect on DOMS, it is still important to stretch since it provides a benefit to reduce muscle tightness.
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