Terrible DOMS's advdice please

Hi all,
I started a new plan at the start of November. At the same time, I decided to give Strength training a go, so I joined a local Gym, I did my second session on Monday and I am really struggling with DOMS. 48 hours later and walking up and down stairs is a struggle and fairly painful. i’m struggling to spin at Zone 1.

First question is this Normal? Second if so, what are you experiences of how long it takes to adapt be able to do both strength training and bike training along side each other?

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It’s completely normal, don’t stress too much about it.

Personally it takes about two weeks for the proper DOMS to go away after I start lifting again in the off season, however in that period I only do Z2 rides and I treat strength sessions as my high intensity. Then, when I do higher intensity workouts on the bike, I lift after those (either the same day or the next one) to avoid compromising the quality of the rides, because in the end it’s what it matters more for us cyclists.

Anyway, strength training is still important so I’d say to just keep doing your gym sessions for now and reduce the intensity or volume (or both) on the bike.

If you haven’t already seen it, there’s a huge thread about Strength training: Strength Training

Also on the blog there are suggestions about combining strength and bike workouts, such as this post: Combining Cycling & Weight Training: How to Time Your Workouts - TrainerRoad Blog


Get some Whey Protein into you immediately after each session, catch the “anabolic window”! (that some say doesn’t exist)… one before bed too.

Be prepared for a smelly/farty ass.


Some level of DOMS early on as you approach a new discipline is to be expected: you are stressing your muscles (and body, really) in new ways and that’s not going to feel good. Things get better as you strengthen those structures.

That said, DOMS also means you are going “too far”: while at the very beginning there’s no real way of avoiding it, you shouldn’t expect it to continue for long. Take it easy and make things progressive and DOMS will quickly be in your back mirror :slight_smile:

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That’s something I’ve also experienced before and see quite often - not properly building up the loads on the gym/strength sessions.

I’ve done a fair amount of lifting in the past, but the sport I devote most of my time now is cycling. I know that, even after long periods with no lifting, I could start lifting heavy from the first session and increase loads quite fast - but that would be at the expense of some heavy DOMS and would totally kill my bike workouts (and any other type of workouts tbh).

So I now start really light, to the point of making it almost boring at the beginning and build up slowly throughout the strength/lifting sessions.


DOMS hits me more in the summer months when my flat/bedroom are normal temperatures (circa 19-22deg C) but when its a tad on the chilly side (sub 18deg C) as it is now in the UK I rarely get DOMS.

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When you say start with light loads, do you mean that all the reps should feel easy?
For refrence I was doing 15x3 @ 40kg Squat and 15x3 @ 50kg Deadlift, I got through all the reps but the last couple were a struggle.

Should I get to the last rep and it feel easy to get the last rep up? Maybe drop down to just the bar to start with?


So so normal. I remember my first run after 5 years of just cycling. I did a speedy 5k and couldn’t walk for a week!! Going down stairs was the worst!


As I mentioned in my post, for me it almost feels too easy to start with.

I’m 65kg, and I know I could start squatting at that weight and above from the first session. It will not be a struggle (for me) but would definitely pay the DOMS price. So I start at around 30kg squat (bar + 2x5kg), which is super easy for me. It takes me a few weeks to get up to BW and above.
I apply the same logic to other movements (deadlift, etc).

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When you say 15x3 do you mean 15 sets or reps? The typical order is sets x reps.

Even though the weights are relatively low this is on the higher end of volume. I would maybe cut that just a bit till the DOMS are under control since they can come from not just novel movements or heavy weights but also a leve increase in volume.

ah, can you tell i’m new to this. Yes 3 sets 15 reps. It might have helped to say i’m 83kg too, so not a small guy. But yes, I think my mistake was thinking that I was simply meant to lift a weight that’s about as much as I can lift for the given reps, which I see now was a mistake and I should back it off for a bit then work my way up.

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Yeah if you have no recent history in strength training then I’m not surprised that 3x15 at 40-50kg is giving you DOMS. If you are just getting into it then I would pick weights and reps that allow you to finish each set and the whole workout feeling like you got some work done but had a lot left in the tank.

But now that you have the soreness I’ve found the best thing to help alleviate them is to do a super light warm up. Go to the gym and do a short cardio warm up (Z1 bike or walk) then go through your squat warmup (some mobility, BW squats, Goblet squats with 10-15kg, then maybe squats with the bar). Then go home. This usually gets blood flowing to all the right places to help flush it all out.

I did a new exercise to me on Sunday and I’m on day four of DOMS but it’s finally feeling better. I think day 2-3 was the worst.

I think the only solution is to really back off on the weight and reps and progress upwards at a pace that is comfortable. At first it’s going to feel like too little weight so work on form.

I only got DOMS (well more like acute muscle pain actually) after my first session in 10 months, having barely lifted last year and not for about 10 years before that. It was pretty bad. I still had minor ache going into session 2, and none by session 3 of the week or since.

Since starting up lifting, I also started slamming 2 or 3 protein shakes per day and always eat a ton of carbs year round. Will probably go back to 1 when I reduce to 1 maintenance session per week.

In the past, I wouldn’t have given this much thought. However, my teenage son just spent a week in the hospital due to rhabdomyolysis. The workout that caused it really didn’t seem like that big of a deal. He’s a competitive swimmer and lifts weights regularly. He did a different type of workout that left him super sore. We suspect he was also dehydrated. After a couple days, his urine turned dark brown. That’s when we took him to the hospital. He was close to having permanent kidney damage. It’s unlikely you’ve got this, but don’t assume it can’t be anything worse than DOMS.

but don’t assume it can’t be anything worse than DOMS

A different one for me and I dont want to scare anyone. But in my late 30s I developed what I thought was DOMS but it turned out to be an iron shortage caused by a growing bowel (colon) cancer. The last thing that crossed my mind being relatively young, fit and slim (then 62kg). Now that is all thankfully passed, I get what is just DOMs occasionally.

Like you, I would always get DOMS really bad in the legs. However, I never get DOMS when I lift upper body (because I do that year round, but take breaks from legs during racing blocks). Of course I get DOMs in the legs because I am trying to do too much too soon.

Right now I am getting back into squatting, and I am taking it painfully slow. I’ve been focusing on the 5 rep range, and slowly progressing the weight by about 5 pounds per week, and right now am only doing 2 main working sets, followed by a back off set. These are weights that I probably could be doing for 10 reps if I was going to failure-just for context. I usually round off the workout with a single legged exercise, an exercise for hamstrings, and then some adductor and abductor work.

The other thing

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