Every man or woman out there who lifts weights has more than likely experienced extreme soreness in the muscles that they worked out. Sometimes that soreness doesn’t even show up for over a day or two. This is a phenomenon known as “delayed onset muscle soreness” which is better known in the lifting community as DOMS.
DOMS can confuse and worry people who are new to weight lifting because after going a day without feeling any soreness from their workout they think that they are never going to feel sore and then suddenly, after 48 hours, are excruciatingly sore. This is completely normal though, and actually should be something that gets you excited instead of worried because that delayed soreness you are feeling is proof that your workout was successful. Personally, I would be more worried that something was wrong if my muscles were sore in less than 24 hours than if it took 48 hours to feel the soreness. DOMS should heal 24 to 36 hours after it first shows up but can stay longer depending on how much recovering your muscles have to do. If your muscles still hurt after 3 days, you probably have a muscle tear or pull.
It is important to note that after a hard weight lifting workout you HAVE TO STRETCH! Speaking specifically about DOMS, if you don’t stretch you are more likely to tear or pull a muscle and, especially if you are a male, could very well convince yourself that it’s just regular soreness and ignore it. Stretching will not prevent DOMS but it will make the soreness less intense as well as get your muscles stronger faster (and help prevent injury).
Also, if like I've said in previous blogs, if you don't get quality rest, your muscles will be sore longer and you will be more likely to get injured. Plus, if your nutrition isn't good, you will likely feel just as sore with minimal strength progress.
As an ending note, DOMS is a key sign of a successful weight lifting workout but must be payed attention to and taken care of with proper stretching, nutrition, and rest.