I have been working out for ~6 months and have worked my legs once per week throughout this time, on their own day.
My legs, especially my quads, ache to the point of finding it hard to walk, particularly up or down stairs, for between 3-4 days after a leg workout. At first (the initial month or two) I thought to myself this is great because it meant I did good during my workout. Now 6 months on I am starting to think I'm doing something wrong, mainly because of the duration of soreness.
My current legs routine is:
- 4x5 Squats (on the Smith Machine because can't get the balance right for a proper squat). - 4x10 Incline leg press machine. - 3x15 Calf extension on leg press machine. - 3x10 Leg extension ^ Superset with 3x10 Leg curl machine.
I'm pretty confident that I am getting adequate recovery time and resources; I get an average of 7 hours sleep per night and have been forcing myself to eat up to 5 times per day.
Some factors that may provide information about why this would be happening:
- As a web developer, I sit at a PC for the majority of the day and don't move my legs much.
- I don't make any time to stretch out my legs or anything, not sure if that will impact.
- I don't do any cardio (bike / treadmill), again not sure if that impacts.
Is this common, and is there a way to reduce the duration or magnitude of soreness?
Update (more of an FYI):
I've been training legs twice per week for around 8 months now using the following routine (with some minor variations over time), and it is very rare for me to experience pain for longer than the following day, or more painful than any other muscle group:
- Barbell Squat: 1x8 warmup, 3x6 heavy, 2x12-15 lighter (the high reps help me retain a good movement pattern). - Hack squats: 5x6 - Straight leg deadlift: 4x8 - Lunges: 2x25 - Leg press: 3x12 - Leg extension: 2x20 - Calves (misc exercises).
Not only have I not had anywhere near the same soreness as before, but my leg strength and size has shot up massively.
I couldn't say for sure whether the DOMs have stopped because of frequency (an extra day per week), better nutrition or more rest (both apply), or just the fact that my body has finally grown used to me smashing my legs at the gym.