Category: UCO – Page 2

DOMS and How to Prevent it

By: Andrew Rangel

What is DOMS?

Have you ever wondered why you are feeling really sore a day or two after a workout? What you are experiencing is most likely DOMS or delayed onset muscles soreness. DOMS is not experienced during a workout and could occur between 12 and 24 hours post workout (Ingraham). Those who have trained at a high intensity or have gone straight to training at high intensity rather than gradually working their way to a high intensity have definitely experienced DOMS.

What causes DOMS?

Delayed onset muscle soreness can affect anyone, from a beginner to an advanced athlete or even someone who is not an athlete. Exercise that you are not used to or an intensity that is outside your comfort zone can trigger delayed onset muscle soreness (Olson). These are not the only triggers for DOMS though. Eccentric contractions such bicep curls or the downward motion during a squat can also trigger DOMS (Ingraham). Also, being dehydrated can make DOMS worse than normal which is never good. During high intensity workouts, microscopic tears in your muscle fibers can occur. Increasing inflammation is what your body does in response to this which then may lead to delayed onset muscle soreness (Olson).

Symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness include muscles that feel tender to the touch, reduced range of motion due to pain and stiffness when moving, swelling in the affected muscles, muscle fatigue, or short-term loss of muscle strength (Olson). Just remember, you do not have to feel sore in order to say you had a good workout. Feeling sore for the next couple of days is not the goal.

Ways to Prevent or Treat DOMS

          You may think that laying on the couch or just relaxing taking the day off will help with DOMS. The truth is, doing either of those things will only make the pain worse. An ideal way to continue with your routine is to do light intensity workouts, just as long as the exercises you are doing do not involve so much weight or volume. Some ways that could help reduce the soreness that comes with DOMS includes massage, using a foam roller, cold bath (if you can handle it), warm bath, etc.

DOMS most likely cannot be avoided, but there a few things that can help to lessen the degree of soreness that comes with it. Ways such as staying hydrated, warming up 5-10 minutes before a workout, doing a proper cooldown after a workout along with static stretching, and gradually increasing weight and intensity in your workouts (Olson). It is much better to work your way up step by step rather than jumping from moderate to vigorous intensity within the first month. It is not worth an injury.


Paul Ingraham. (n.d.). Post-Exercise, Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness. Retrieved from   

Olson, G. (n.d.). Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS): Symptoms, Causes, Treatment. Healthline.



Are you struggling to find time to workout? Try Tabata!

Lasting benefits in just 4 minutes!

HIIT Training has become a very popular workout plan. HIIT stands for high interval intensity training. A 20-minute Tabata workout allows you to improve your cardiorespiratory endurance along with other benefits. This also helps you work your way towards the ACSM guidelines for weekly physical activity of 150-300 minutes.

According to exercise physiologist Dr. Michele Olson states that “Turns out, it can burn a whopping 13.5 calories a minute—and double a person’s metabolic rate for 30 minutes afterward.”


  • Burpees – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds 
  • Jumping jacks – 20 seconds 
  • Rest – 10 seconds 
  • Jump Lunges – 20 seconds 
  • Rest – 10 seconds 
  • Pushups – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds 
  • Sit ups – 20 seconds 
  • Rest – 10 seconds 
  • Mountain climbers – 20 seconds 
  • Rest – 10 seconds 
  • Squat jumps – 20 seconds 
  • Rest – 10 seconds 
  • Burpees – 20 seconds 
  • Rest 10 seconds

How Mobility Can Make Or Break Your Workout

Foundational Mobility 

     What if I pointed out there was a way to improve every aspect of athletic performance in just a few minutes every day, with little or no effort, but it’s regularly ignored by a huge amount of gym goers? Mobility work is what I’m talking about. Studies show that stretching can increase biomechanical efficiency, reduce the risk of injuries and improve muscle relaxation as well as improve muscle extensibility. There are several different ways to stretch and the benefits vary just as much as the modalities. Understanding how to effectively implement the different stretching techniques can dramatically increase, or decrease effectiveness. In this article I will provide a basic explanation of the most common stretching modalities and strategies for using them effectively. 

     Dynamic Stretching is when a full range of motion is achieved but moved through slowly, or at a controlled moderate pace instead of being held. Studies show that dynamic stretching before a workout can effectively reduce the risk of injury during the workout as well as increase strength and power. Just about any movement pattern can be considered a dynamic stretch, squats, lunges, trunk twists or even something as simple as reaching overhead could be considered a dynamic stretch. It’s best to do dynamic stretches before a workout that mimic the movement patterns that will be performed during the workout. For example, doing a light set of squats with full range of motion is a good way to get ready for heavy squats. 

     Static stretching is generally the most common modality. This is when a stretch is achieved and then held for a short period of time, usually about twenty to thirty seconds per bout. More short and long term increases in mobility can be achieved with increased time in the stretch, but the benefits taper off dramatically after about one minute per muscle group per day. It usually comes as a shock to most people when I tell them doing static stretches before a workout statistically increases the likelihood of an injury during the workout. There is an exception is for older populations, but for the general population static stretches are safer and more effective towards the end of a workout. 

     Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, or P.N.F. stretching involves cycles of activating and relaxing a muscle group while maintaining a stretch. This stretching modality is the most effective way of increasing range of motion. General guidelines for P.N.F. stretching utilize a three to six second contraction of the stretched muscle followed by a ten to thirty second static stretching period. Just like static stretching, P.N.F. should be done at the end of a workout. 

     Implementing these techniques can go a long way to improving an individual’s mobility and athletic performance, but it’s not all there is to know about stretching, in fact it’s barely scratching the surface of what is understood about mobility. Breathing techniques, pain tolerance and other neurological activity can greatly affect range of motion. Just like any aspect of fitness, mobility is almost infinitely complex, especially when individual needs are taken into consideration. With that being said, the steps in this article should provide a good way to build a foundation. The most important thing to take from this article is that mobility work is an incredibly valuable part of any workout routine. Good luck, and enjoy your fitness journey. 

For more information please consult the following sources



Teşu Adrian. “STRETCHING AND ITS BENEFITS.” Annals of the “Ştefan Cel Mare” University: Physical Education and Sport Section – The Science and Art of Movement 2.2 (2019): 88-91. Web.


Popp, Jennifer K., David M. Bellar, Donald L. Hoover, Bruce W. Craig, Brianna N. Leitzelar, Elizabeth A. Wanless, and Lawrence Judge. “Pre- and Post-Activity Stretching Practices of Collegiate Athletic Trainers in the United States.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 31.9 (2017): 2347-354. Web.


Finding Strength


Getting Started

If someone is interested in getting stronger, getting started is the most rewarding part. The initial adaptations to strength training are the most impressive. For beginners, a ten percent increase in strength can be seen in just a few workouts. That bumps up to a 20-30% increase over the first two to three months for most people and even as high as 70-100% in some studies. 

The degree to which an individual’s strength will increase is subject to many factors in addition to working out. Having a healthy diet, routine sleep schedule and low stress levels are all ways to help get more out of your strength training, but in this article we will focus on what you should do in the gym. 

Building a Foundation 

Just because some of the strongest guys in the gym will routinely lift 80-100% of their one rep max doesn’t mean it’s the best way for everyone to get strong. Beginners should be focused on building a kinesthetic understanding of compound resistance training movement patterns like squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, pulldowns and rows. One would do that by moving slow, staying focused and doing as many reps in a set as you can while maintaining proper lifting mechanics. A typical set should consist of about 8-15 repetitions at around 40-60% of your one rep max. If you are a little younger or have some resistance training experience you can get away with starting at higher percentages, but if you’re a senior or have little or no experience, you’re probably better off starting with less weight and fewer reps. 

A good rule of thumb is that more work leads to more results, but that only works to a point. It’s better to start slow and focus on staying consistent. Going to hard to fast can lead to lots of soreness and maybe even a long term setbacks if an injury occurs. 


Continuing Progress

In order to keep getting stronger an individual will need to progressively increase the amount of weight lifted at certain rep ranges. This idea is referred to as the overload principle. Progress is easy at first, but requires more and more work to continue making strength gains.  

It is very helpful to periodically test the one rep max, because it helps gauge progress as well as add a level of structure to a workout program. Testing should be done at the beginning of a program and about every four to twelve weeks. After testing a lifter should reevaluate goals to help maximize the effectiveness of a training program. Progress isn’t a straight line. It’s good to see where you’re at, but testing max effort lifts to often can increase the risk of injury and take away from progress. 

For more information on gaining strength please utilize the resources provided in the sources cited section. 


Sources Cited. 

Colquhoun, Ryan J., Christopher M. Gai, Danielle D.M. Aguilar, Daniel I. Bove, Jeffrey Dolan, Andres Vargas, Kaylee Couvillion, Nathaniel Jenkins, and Bill Campbell. “Training Volume, Not Frequency, Indicative of Maximal Strength Adaptations to Resistance Training.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 32.5 (2018): 1207-213. Web.

Dankel, Scott, J. Buckner, Samuel Jessee, L. Grant Mouser, Matthew Mattocks, B. Abe, and Kevin Loenneke. “Correlations Do Not Show Cause and Effect: Not Even for Changes in Muscle Size and Strength.” Sports Medicine 48.1 (2018): 1-6. Web.

High Intensity Interval Training

What is HIIT?

High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is a type of training that has become rather popular for many people in the fitness crowd. In this particular type of training you perform High Intensity workouts at specific timed intervals. Some of these timed intervals could be for 30 seconds or even 1 minute of all out effort with little to no breaks in between. HIIT training has been very successful in various areas because you are able to get a great workout in a short amount of time. Although it is not necessarily recommended to use HIIT training as the only source of physical activity, it is a great way to obtain a workout quickly an effectively.

Possible Cardio HIIT Workouts

One possible cardio workout program that you may be able to attain fairly easily throughout the week could be running full out sprints for a designated amount of time. this could be 8 to 12 all out sprints for 30 seconds at a time. After each sprint you would be given 2 minutes to recover before the next 30 second sprint.

Another simple and effective way to take advantage of this could be on a bike at home or at the UCO Wellness Center. For example, pedaling for 60 seconds straight for 8 to 12 sets at a high intensity while giving yourself a 1 minute and 30 second break in between each set of 60 seconds. Notice that in this particular type of workout the resting duration is slightly shorter. This can make it a little more challenging if you are interested in doing so or want to mix it up from the normal routine.


HIIT is Not the Only Way!

Although HIIT training has been proven to be fairly effective in many cases there are still ways in which you can workout and gain results without going 100 miles an hour all the time. Running consistently throughout the week, mixing in some resistance training, or even body weight workouts are also great ways to work towards the results that you would like to see.


Have a great week!





Astorino, Todd A., Ross M. Edmunds, Amy Clark, Leesa King, Rachael Gallant, Samantha Namm, Anthony Fischer, and Kimi Wood. “High-Intensity Interval Training Increases Cardiac Output and V˙O2max.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 49.2 (2017): 265-73. Web.

Does The Scale Tell You That You Aren’t Making Progress?

Have you ever used a scale to track your progress when making a lifestyle? Did you like what you saw? Did you NOT like what you saw?

So often, we believe that our hard work should be shown on the scale. Sometimes, the numbers go down a little bit. Sometimes, the numbers go up. Sometimes, the numbers don’t move at all.

If this sounds like you, we have good news!

Here are some reasons why we can’t rely on the scale to track our progress:

1. A scale CAN’T tell the difference between fat and muscle

Image result for comparison of 1 lb of fat and muscle



In this picture, you can see the difference between 5 pounds of fat and 5 pounds of muscle. While you might be losing fat, you are also adding muscle. This results in the scale not showing you the results you have work hard to earn.



2.  How you are feeling is important too!

Even if you haven’t lost the weight you have hoped, do you like how you look? Do you feel more energized? Do you feel better mentally? Are you sleeping better? If you have answered yes to any of these questions and/or have noticed any other positive changes, then you are on the right track!

3. Remember what matters the most to YOU

Any progress is good progress AND you are creating new habits that will result in a healthier lifestyle! Obsessing over the numerical value of the scale will only distract you from what matters most. Instead of weight loss goals, a good alternative is reaching other goals such as loss of inches or dropping sizes in clothes.



Machines Vs. Free Weights: Which Should You Use?

Tell me if this sounds familiar; you walk into a gym and just stand there. As you look at all the equipment that that gym offers, you continue to stand there with the one concerning question: which type of weights should I use; the free weights or the machines. Well lucky for you, this article will help you the next time you’re looking lost at the gym.  


*Because you’re reading this article, I’m assuming that you know what free weights are, as well as what machines are so I won’t go into that. If you don’t, check out Google, I heard that they know everything.  


Why use machines?

Machines are easier to use. It’s hard to use a machine wrong. I thought it was impossible until I trained at the gym at my university. Yikes. Anyways, the way machines are built, it allows you to “stay on track.” What I mean by that is, they have a specific and precise way that the levers are moved. Compare that to a free weight where there is no set path and you have an increased chance of messing up technique. This makes machines a great option for newbies. 

Less likely to get injured using machines. With free weights, you take on the risk of injuring yourself. Things like dropping a kettlebell on your toes or smashing your finger with a dumbbell are all scenarios that happen more times than we would like. If you go on Youtube and search weightlifting accidents, 98.47% of them will be using free weights. Using a machine, you don’t take those chances.  

You’re able to use more weight. This is because the fact that balancing and stabilizing are taken out of the equation; therefore you are able to focus on the muscles that are being worked and less on the ones not being directly targeted. This is perfect for those that are injured in other muscles that won’t allow them to be able balance effectively for the exercise.  

Able to target a specific muscle. This is huge for bodybuilders as they like to be able to isolate and work on a certain muscle that needs specific attention.  


Who should use machines? 

Beginners. Until you learn the correct technique for exercises, you’re doing more harm than good. Machines will “guide” lifters through the correct technique majority of the time.  

Injured/Rehabbing. If you aren’t able to walk, chances are you probably wont be able to squat freely either. This is where machines come into play. There are leg exercises that allow you to sit and not have to worry about keeping your balance and standing upright. 

Bodybuilders. Like I mentioned early, machines help you get that better pump and allow for a certain muscle get special attention.  



Why use free weights?

Able to hit the full range of motion for the muscle and joints involved. Machines are designed for everyone to use, and since we know everyone is different, that is a pretty unreasonable standard. With free weights, you can use them how to where it is more individualized and fit to your body. It is absolutely necessary for full ranges of motion to be hit. This leads to our next statement.  

Build more muscle. Hitting a full range of motion for the muscles is an essential for gaining muscle. When the muscle isn’t pushed and trained at its full range, muscle fibers are being neglected and not hit which leads to less growth all together in that muscle. 

Build strength. Multi-joint movements are great to do when training. They hit multiple muscles and are great for building strength. Machines are not very efficient at these like free weights are.  


Who should use free weights? 

Advanced lifters. Safety first. Again, learn the technique before diving. 

Those who want to build strength.  

Athletes. Machines aren’t able to mimic movements that athletes do in their sport. Free weights are able help with balance, stability, coordination, etc.. This is crucial for athletes because sports require a top level in all of those. 


Final Verdict 

Which should you use? There are many factors that play into this determining. The main thing is what your goal is. There aren’t any right or wrong choices, just more suitable. Hopefully this helps make your decision a little bit easier the next time you are questioning your choice of equipment.