Everyone has heard the idea that no pain is no gain. Is this actually true? Can you get a dynamite strength and cardiovascular workout and not experience any pain in the process? Yes! Can you create problems for yourself when you exercise to the point of pain or even push through the pain? Yes!
Popularized in the 1980s alongside big hair, spandex, and leg warmers, proclamations of no pain no gain still exist in training facilities across the country. Much like mullets, let’s leave this outdated idiom in the past.
Pain is the body's way of telling you that there is a problem. Something is wrong. Listen to that! If you are training and feel pain, particularly in a joint or right where a muscle attaches to a bone, your body is trying to tell you something. Maybe the weight is too heavy or your body isn’t prepared to do that range of motion.
It is important, however, to understand the distinction between pain and discomfort. Pain should be treated as a glass ceiling - something to not push through and ignore. Pain is often aching or sharp and generally does not go away, even with rest. It is often immediate and experienced during the workout, and can linger for days or even weeks if not addressed. This likely indicates there is some sort of injury that should be looked at by a medical professional.
Discomfort, on the other hand, is the result of the body being pushed and taxed in a workout. This is normal. Muscles can feel tired during exercise but it is often relieved with some stretching and active recovery. It is also especially true after a workout to feel some soreness, usually 24-72 hours after. This is often referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The body is healing and rebuilding, allowing us to become stronger. It is often helpful to exercise other muscle groups when experiencing DOMS to allow those muscles to heal and ultimately making us a little bit stronger every time.
If you have questions or concerns about a certain movement or a workout program, we are happy to work with you to figure out what is best for you to ensure you are not experiencing pain. Furthermore, we will work with you to develop personalized strategies to reduce soreness, improve mobility, and increase strength to get you back doing the things you enjoy as quickly and as safely as possible.