Structural Integration

5 tips to bounce back quickly from DOMS

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Anyone and everyone who has exercised at one point or another in their life has experienced Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS for short. It’s that achey feeling you feel in your muscles 2-3 days post exercise, and it can often be quite painful – limiting your movement to a point where stairs seems like Everest, or you find yourself looking for a toilet with grab rails to help you into position!

Some people actively look for DOMS, and feel they haven’t worked hard enough unless they experience it. Other people, on the other hand, refuse to workout for the next week if they get any soreness after a workout. So who is right – is DOMS something to be afraid of or encouraged? And what is the best way to get over it so that we can get active again?

The science behind what exactly causes DOMS is not 100% clear, but most people agree that it is caused by micro-tears to the muscles, which leads to inflammation as they heal, causing the pain. What we know for certain is that DOMS arises in the first 24 hours post-exercise, and typically peaks 48 hours after exercise. It leads to a temporary decrease in force production for the first 48 hours post-exercise. What is clear is that lactic acid accumulation is not a component of this process, and should not be blamed for your DOMS. Eccentric training (lengthening the muscle with tension applied - for example the lowering phase of a bicep curl or on the way down in a squat) definitely leads to a lot more DOMS than fast, concentric weight training.  

So is it bad for you? In a word, no. However, it will limit your effectiveness in any subsequent exercise or sport sessions over the next two to three days, which will limit the amount of work you can get through. Importantly, it has been linked with an increased chance of injury within this 48 period, through its inhibition of certain muscles and reduction in range of movement - so try to avoid playing a football match the day after doing a heavy legs squatting session!

Recent research points to the ‘repair’ process your muscles are undergoing as the source of the pain. As your muscles are repairing themselves, they release a substance called bradykinin along with other enzymes to create growth, which causes blood vessels to enlarge and nerves to become more sensitive. The combination of the sensitized nerve endings and the increased fluid in the area lead to the pain and ‘stiffness’ felt within the muscles.

The good news is that this ‘pain’ you feel is a sign you are getting stronger, and you are getting some benefits from the training you are doing as the body goes through the damage-repair cycle. A word of caution – more DOMS does not necessarily mean you are working harder, it can just mean that you are not training very smartly, and have overloaded a particularly weak area.

 

So what can you do to reduce DOMS quickly to get back into the gym? Here are a few tips:

  1. Warm-up and cool down before and after your session. Having an effective warmup and cool down has been shown to reduce DOMS in untrained individuals versus individuals who received neither. Your warmup should include the areas of your body you are about to workout, and you should be at least breathless by the end of it. Cool down should involve stretching, and a lot of:

  2. Foam Rolling: If you don’t know what a foam roller is, find out. Buy one, and make it your friend. Foam rolling has consistently shown to be effective at improving range of movement in tight athletes the day after high intensity workouts, and reduce DOMS. The more recent research points to a neuro-physiological affect on your muscles (desensitization of the nerve endings in your muscles) as the mechanism behind foam rolling, which may be why it is effective on DOMS.

  3. Manual therapy/Massage/Acupuncture: If your DOMS is particularly bad, speak to your friendly local physio about manual treatment and acupuncture to hasten your recovery. Both are effective.

  4. Active Recovery: Research has shown that lightly exercising the area the day after a heavy session can reduce the recovery time. For example, after a heavy squatting day, jump on a stationary bike the next day for a gentle 20minute cycle. Your legs will thank you!

  5. Nutrition and Hydration: Being well hydrated, and feeding your working muscles with good fuel should be the cornerstone of any workout program. Don’t waste your time in the gym if you are not paying attention to this outside of the gym. You will recover quicker, and you will make more progress if you do!

 

Final Word

It is unlikely you will avoid DOMS altogether when you start a new strength program. It is not something that you should be afraid of, or that should keep you away from the gym. However, pain does not need to be present in order for you to achieve progress in your conditioning. If anything, intentionally causing DOMS will only limit the amount of work that you can do in subsequent sessions, potentially slowing down your progress.

The ultimate goal of any training program is to find the optimal balance between work and recovery. The key to a great training program is to find that sweet spot where you are doing enough micro ‘damage’ to create a muscle adaptation, without crippling you for the next two days and making you miss your next session!

Recover well!


About the author

Declan Halpin is our UFIT Team Director and a fully qualified, registered physiotherapist. He is passionate about helping his patients achieve their long term goals through identifying their weaknesses and imbalances, and developing a strategy to eradicate them. 

Find out more about Declan right here.

Moving well again with Rolfing

Muscular pain, poor mobility, bad posture - there are many ways to treat these issues. Here is how Rolfing has helped hundreds of UFIT clients move freely and comfortably again. 

Rolfing is a hands-on therapy that takes a holistic, full body approach to let you move more easily and comfortably. Through manipulation of connective tissue, Rolfers improve postural alignment and structure over the long-term. Unlike massage, which often focuses on relaxation and relief of muscle discomfort, Rolfing focuses on improving body alignment and functioning.

Also known as structural integration, Rolfing has been used by many professional athletes to rehabilitate injuries, break up scar tissue, and increase range of motion to improve performance and avoid future injuries. Dancers and musicians often use it to increase comfort in their bodies while performing, as well as avoid repetitive stress injuries.

In the UFIT Clinic, Rolfing has helped clients needing postural corrections after weight loss or pregnancy, office workers with repetitive strain from sitting too long, and others with injuries or tightness from their training.

When you first visit Maria Hussain, UFIT's Rolfing specialist, she will get you to stand while she checks your posture and how your joints are positioned. While you may go to see her with a knee issue, she will quickly seek any imbalances in other parts of the body which may cause the knee pain - such as a lack of ankle mobility - and treat that first. 

Says Maria "Walking is the most functional exercise of the body yet often we don't walk correctly which can cause postural issues, joint immobility and pain as we place pressure on other parts of the body". 

ROLFING WORKS HOLISTICally BY TREATING CONNECTIVE TISSUE

Rolfing embraces a wide range of approaches including osteopathy, chiropractic medicine, yoga and the Alexander Technique. It manipulates the body’s Myofascial system - the connective tissue (fascia) - which is the biological fabric that holds us together and enables stability of muscles and bones while allowing movement, and is crucial in high performance and central in recovery from injury.

Says Maria: "My objective is to lengthen, stretch and soften affected tissue to improve posture and bring the body’s natural structure into proper balance, alignment and integration".

Injury, stress, exercise, and work related repetitive movements can cause fascia to lose its elasticity and become shorter, tighter and denser. Tightened fascia pulls our muscles and skeleton out of proper alignment which can cause pain, discomfort and fatigue. By fascial manipulation remarkable changes in posture and structure can be achieved.

Rachel Flynn, who visited Maria for treatment after a car accident shares her experience:

"At my first appointment I was hunched over and my entire body was in a state of shock. I wasn't aware of how I was carrying myself. Maria’s knowledge of the effect of a road traffic accident on the body has been key to my recovery. She explained what was going on with the myofascial tissue, which helped me gain confidence to start moving normally again. I'm exercising again and Maria continues to assist me by identifying movements I need to get my normal gait back and minimise pain. Aside from that, Maria is such a helpful person and has been a great support on getting me the best results in recovery".

An aligned and balanced body can ease strain patterns in the entire system and improve breathing and increase energy, boost self-confidence and relieve physical and mental stress. Rolfing has also been shown to reduce spinal curvature in people with lordosis (sway back), and enhance neurological functioning.

WHO IS ROLFING FOR?

Rolfing is beneficial for everyone - for pain management, to enhance athletic performance, to facilitate injury rehabilitation and anyone who just wants to move better and feel more co-ordinated and aligned in their body.

ABOUT MARIA HUSSAIN

I’ve been been practicing bodywork for more than 10 years and I’m a qualified Structural Integration practitioner, studying with Tom Myers the author of Anatomy Trains and the founder of KMI Structural Integration, Meyers is an advanced Rolfer with more than 40 years’ experience. For more information on Rolfing visit www.anatomytrains.com/at/kmi/experience/

Maria is based at the UFIT Clinic, at both 6 Raffles Quay and one-north. 

 

 

 

Understanding the Healing Power of Rolfing - Structural Integration.

Rolfing or Structural Integration is a system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organises the body in gravity in order to achieve balance. 

Rolfing was created by Dr. Ida Rolf who received her PH.D in biochemistry in 1920, she then furthered her knowledge through scientific work in organic chemistry.

In creating Rolfing, Dr Rolf, applied her knowledge of science to seek answers for health and wellbeing and embraced a wide range of approaches including  Osteopathy, Chiropractic medicine , Yoga and the Alexander Technique.

Bringing together a variety of disciplines Dr Rolf discovered that she could achieve remarkable changes in posture and structure by manipulating the body’s Myofascial system, she believed that everything is connected. Eventually she named her work StructuralIntegration.

Structural Integration is a type of bodywork that focuses on the connective tissue or fascia of the body. Fascia is the biological fabric that holds us together, essential to the dance between stability and movement , and crucial in high performance and central in recovery from injury.

Fascia is designed to be elastic and move freely with muscles and bones. Injury, stress, work related repetitive movements can cause fascia to lose its elasticity and become shorter, tighter and denser. Tightened fascia pulls our muscles and skeleton out of proper alignment , which can cause pain, discomfort and fatigue.

Structural Integration at UFIT Clinic works to lengthen, stretch and soften this tissue to improve posture and bring the body’s natural structure into proper balance, alignment and integration.

Structural integration is beneficial for all types of people, Some  patients come to ease chronic back, neck and joint pain and others come hoping to improve their athletic performance or to keep in top condition to prevent or quickly recover from injuries

In general a body that is more aligned and balanced in gravity moves with more ease, fluidity, efficiency and grace.  An aligned and balanced body can improve breathing and increase energy, boost self-confidence and relieve physical and mental stress.

 

About the Author – Maria Hussain

I’ve been been practicing bodywork for more than 10 years and I’m a qualified Structural Integration practitioner, studying with Tom Myers the author of Anatomy Trains and the founder of KMI Structural Integration,  Meyers is an advanced Rolfer with more than 40 years’ experience. For more information on Rolfing visit www.anatomytrains.com/at/kmi/experience/

The sessions are practiced at UFIT Clinic, 6 Raffles Quay and to find out more about Maria Hussain and her work with Structural Integration and Fascia Muscle.

All our blogs are written in conjunction with our sister site ufit.com.sg