The phrase feel the burn takes on a whole new meaning the day after an intense workout when you’re too sore to even move let alone get completely out of bed. Whether you’re hiking at a steeper incline, lifting a heavier set or training for a marathon, your muscles will let you know when they are working harder than normal. Sore muscles can actually be an indicator of a productive workout. But what causes muscle soreness?
Muscle soreness that comes on between 24-72 hours after a new or more strenuous workout is called DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. This muscle soreness is typical after changing, lengthening, or increasing the difficulty of your fitness regimen. It’s a sign that your body is adapting and that your muscles are getting stronger. While any movement can lead to soreness, exercises like push-ups, squats or deadlifts are more likely to cause DOMS.
Types of Muscle Contractions
Muscle contractions happen when tension-generating sites within the muscle fibers are activated, leading to an increase in muscle mass and strength. There are 3 types of muscle contractions: concentric (shortening), eccentric (lengthening) and isometric (static). Eccentric muscle contractions result in muscles lengthening and tightening, which can cause muscle soreness and even injury in more extreme cases. These type of muscle contractions occur when you perform a releasing or lowering movement, for example, squatting with a barbel. Concentric muscle contractions, by contrast, can be simulated using electrical muscle stimulation (EMS)--but without any pain and with all the benefits that come from exercising your muscles.
Advances in science, technology and sports medicine have brought electrical muscle stimulation to the mainstream population, where it was once only accessible in a doctor’s office or reserved for top athletes and celebrities. Now you can apply electronic muscle stimulation via micro EMS devices in the comfort of your own home, at the gym or on-the-go. PowerDot, for example, is safe, clinically proven and FDA cleared to use on your own without a trip to the doctor or even a visit from your trainer. Use any of our 10 pre-set training programs to go from warm up, to muscle building, to recovery--all contained within our elegant device and compatible mobile app.
EMS for Recovery
When you perform exercises that your body isn’t accustomed to, it stretches in response, resulting in muscle changes. These changes cause microscopic tears in your muscle fibers and nearby connective tissues. Once the muscle is damaged, inflammation occurs and electrolytes, like calcium, accumulate. The muscles eventually adjust and recover, undergoing hypertrophy, an increase in muscle size. This is the muscle repair process.
Imagine speeding up that process. Electrical muscle stimulation offers an effective, pain free way to build and strengthen muscles, improve performance and help sore muscles recover faster. And we’ve said it before: the recovery process is just as important for your muscles as your workout. Specifically, electric muscle stimulation helps increase blood flow and circulation, flush out lactic acid build-up in the muscles, and reduce muscle soreness. Our massage feature can even be used to soothe everyday aches and pains across any individual muscle or muscle group in the body.
Muscle soreness is a sign that you are really activating your muscles. You can relish in your discomfort with a sense of success, but that doesn't mean you should go harder and faster right away. Pushing yourself too hard too soon can result in more serious injury. Being in tune with your body’s limits and how much to exert yourself is crucial.
Don’t let muscle soreness discourage you from dialing up the intensity of your next workout. Taking the proper steps to recover and push your limits will only lead to greater overall muscle strength as you work toward your fitness goals. Improvement is a process. If you’re not experiencing any soreness, that might be a sign that you need to switch up your workout routine and feel the burn again soon.Electric muscle stimulation has a long and fascinating history. What to learn more? Click HERE.