Have you ever wondered how you can increase your ability to recover from a hard training session? Does contrast therapy work? Stretching? Supplements?
Below are some brand new, cutting edge studies on ways to possibly reduced DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)--you know, that feeling you get after starting a new training program or doing a new exercise. Usually it peaks within 24-48 hours afterwards.
I don't think your goal should be to actively seak out muscle soreness per say; but your goal should be to keep increasing your performance in the gym each time. A simple way is to
1) add more weight
2) add more reps
3) add more sets
4) more sets and more reps = more volume (work done)
5) increase the density (amount of work done in a set period of time).
Most people only focus on #1.
Here are the studies! Any questions, let me know.
Techniques to reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness
Source: J.Strength Cond Res., 2008, 22, 1, 212-225
Conclusion: "Aerobic cardioacceleration immediately before each set of resistance exercises therefore rapidly eliminates DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) during vigorous progressive resistance training in athletes."
Authors: Vaile,J.; Halson,S.; Gill,N.; Dawson,B.
Source: Eur.J.Appl.Physiol., 2008, 102, 4, 447-455
Conclusion: "Overall, CWI (Cold Water Immersion) and CWT (Cold Water Therapy) were found to be effective in reducing the physiological and functional deficits associated with DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), including improved recovery of isometric force and dynamic power and a reduction in localised oedema. While HWI (Hot Water Immersion) was effective in the recovery of isometric force, it was ineffective for recovery of all other markers compared to PAS. (Passive Recovery)"
Authors: Sellwood,K.L.; Brukner,P.; Williams,D.; Nicol,A.; Hinman,R.
Source: Br.J.Sports Med., 2007, 41, 6, 392-397
Conclusion: "The protocol of ice-water immersion used in this study was ineffectual in minimising markers of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) in untrained individuals. This study challenges the wide use of this intervention as a recovery strategy by athletes."
Authors: Herbert,R.D.; de Noronha,M.
Source: Cochrane Database Syst.Rev., 2007, (4), 4, CD004577
Conclusion: "The evidence derived from mainly laboratory-based studies of stretching indicate that muscle stretching does not reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness in young healthy adults."
Authors: Lavender,A.P.; Nosaka,K.
Conclusion: "The results suggest that the 10% ECC (Eccentric Exercise) induced some protection against a subsequent bout of 40% ECC (Eccentric Exercise) performed 2 days later. It appears that the light eccentric exercise preconditioned the muscles for exposure to the subsequent damaging eccentric exercise bout."
Authors: Beck,T.W.; Housh,T.J.; Johnson,G.O.; Schmidt,R.J.; Housh,D.J.; Coburn,J.W.; Malek,M.H.; Mielke,M.
Source: J.Strength Cond Res., 2007, 21, 3, 661-667
Conclusion: "The findings provided initial evidence that the protease supplement may be useful for reducing strength loss immediately after eccentric exercise and for aiding in short-term strength recovery. The protease supplement had no effect, however, on the perception of pain associated with DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) or the blood markers of muscle damage."
Authors: Vaile,J.M.; Gill,N.D.; Blazevich,A.J.
Source: J.Strength Cond Res., 2007, 21, 3, 697-702
Conclusion: "The CWT (Cold Water Therapy) seems to be effective in reducing and improving the recovery of functional deficiencies that result from DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), as opposed to passive recovery."
Authors: McAnulty,S.; McAnulty,L.; Nieman,D.; Morrow,J.; Dumke,C.; Henson,D.
Source: Int.J.Sports Med., 2007, 28, 11, 909-915
Conclusion: "The findings indicate caution should be used when consuming nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during ultra distance events."
Authors: Law,R.Y.; Herbert,R.D.
Source: Aust.J.Physiother., 2007, 53, 2, 91-95
Conclusion: "Warm-up performed immediately prior to unaccustomed eccentric exercise produces small reductions in delayed-onset muscle soreness but cool-down performed after exercise does not."
Authors: Davis,J.M.; Murphy,E.A.; Carmichael,M.D.; Zielinski,M.R.; Groschwitz,C.M.; Brown,A.S.; Gangemi,J.D.; Ghaffar,A.; Mayer,E.P.
Source: Am.J.Physiol.Regul.Integr.Comp.Physiol., 2007, 292, 6, R2168-73
Conclusion: "The results support the hypothesis that curcumin can reduce inflammation and offset some of the performance deficits associated with eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage."