Pain isn't always Gain!
You're told to do squats. The clock is running. The music is blaring and you're dripping in sweat. The dumbbell you're holding seems to get heavier and heavier as you feel it slipping out of your hands with every rep. It burns. Your glutes, your quads.. and wait a minute, your lower back?
"No pain, no gain!" yells the instructor.
You force yourself to push out a couple more reps as you think to yourself "...this pain must be good, right?"
Often times we mistake the bad kind of pain for the good kind. The good pain - a build of lactic acid and blood flow into your muscles which results in muscular growth and strength. The bad pain - your body is screaming to get you to stop what you're doing because something isn't quite right.
"Be intentional about your training."
How do I know which is which? Here are four common indicators which can help you decide.
1. Past injury.
Often times we're too eager to get back into the gym without being fully healed from our past injuries. This will exasperate the problem and potentially lead to an even bigger injury down the line.
2. Nagging tightness, pain or aches
You feel reoccurring tightness and discomfort in certain parts of your body even when you're not doing exercise (i.e. neck, knees, lower back) This is a common indicator of an underlying problem that can potentially become worse if unaddressed.
3. Sharp, piercing pain
If the pain in your muscle is sharp (almost like you're being pricked or stabbed), this is a huge indicator of a tear or sprain. Allow your body to recover before putting it under anymore stress.
4. You feel it in your joints
Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES are you supposed to feel pain in your joints during exercise. Remember, your joints do not possess the same recovery properties as your muscles do. Assess your form. Damage in the joints can retire even the most qualified athletes.
So... what now?
"Learn about what your body needs..."
Stop. Put that weight down. Go up to your instructor and inform them of the pain you're experiencing. Your instructor should be qualified and knowledgeable enough to provide insight and assistance. They aren't there just to cheer you on and count reps.
Moreover, be intentional about your training. Learn about what your body needs, and then make an informed decision on which classes actually benefit you, and which do not. If you are currently experiencing any of the four issues mentioned above, please sort that out first.
Train with intention!
- Coach J