German Language Blog

Learn About It In German: Muskelkater Posted by on Feb 26, 2020 in Language

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS, as it is commonly known in English) describes the pain and soreness felt in your muscles a day or two after working out, or doing some form of hard, physical labour. The German language has a fantastic word for this: Der Muskelkater, which breaks down to der Muskel (muscle) and der Kater (hangover) and therefore translates to ‘muscle hangover’!

Image: Pixabay

A regular Kater (hangover) is not pleasant, and Muskelkater is not especially pleasant, either. But why does it happen, and what can be done to help ease or prevent it? The following text will give you some information about Muskelkater, and teach you German vocabulary related to health and fitness. At the bottom of the post I will repeat the words used in the text, together with their genders.

Why does Muskelkater happen?

Image: Pixabay

There are various reasons you might get Muskelkater. These include: Starting a new Übungsprogramm/Fitnessprogramm (exercise programme); increasing the Intensität (intensity) or Dauer (duration) of your regular exercise routine; changing the type of Training (training) you are doing; coming back to exercise after a Pause (break).

In all of these instances, die Muskeln (the muscles) are required to work harder (or in a different way) than they’re used to. This causes mikroskopisch (microscopic) damage to the muscle fibres, which is what leads you to feel Schmerz (pain/soreness) in the muscles.

How can I prevent Muskelkater?

Image: Pixabay

Unless you have a completely sitzender Lebensstil (sedentary lifestyle), which is not recommended (what is recommended is an aktiver Lebensstil), Muskelkater cannot be completely avoided. However, the best way to minimise Muskelkater is to start off easy and build new exercise routines allmählich (gradually).

I have Muskelkater! How can I make it better?

Image: Pixabay

The following things might help ease your Muskelkater:

die Erholung – rest

die Massage – massage

der Eisbeutel – ice pack

das Schmerzmittel – painkillers

Übungen mit niedrige Belastung – low-impact, light exercises. Examples include Schwimmen (swimming) and Yoga (yoga)

die Dehnübungen – stretching exercises

Your Ernährung (nutrition) also plays a part. Eating meals rich in Eiweiß/Protein (protein) and Kohlenhydrat (carbohydrate) will ensure your muscles get the nutrients they need to repair and recover quickly.

Muskelkater can last anywhere between 1-5 Tage (days), and although it can be uncomfortable, don’t fear it! It’s perfectly normal (normal)!

I hope this has taught you some more German vocabulary, and more about your Körper (body)!  🙂

Vocabulary from the text

Das Übungsprogramm/Fitnessprogramm – exercise programme

Die Intensität – intensity

Die Dauer – duration

Das Training – training

Die Pause – break

mikroskopisch – microscopic

Der Schmerz – pain/soreness

allmählich – gradually

Der sitzender Lebensstil – sedentary lifestyle

Der aktiver Lebensstil – active lifestyle

Die Erholung – rest

Die Massage – massage

Der Eisbeutel – ice pack

Das Schmerzmittel – painkillers

Die Übungen mit niedrige Belastung – low-impact, light exercise

Das Schwimmen – swimming

Das Yoga – yoga
Die Dehnübungen – stretching exercises

Die Ernährung – nutrition

Das Eiweiß/Das Protein – protein (‘Eiweiß’ is also the word for ‘egg white’)

Das Kohlenhydrat – carbohydrate

Der Tag – day

normal – normal

Der Körper – body

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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer.