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No pain, no gain?

September 23, 2020

There’s an old saying that goes “no pain no gain.” It’s also the title of a hilarious movie featuring Marky Mark Wahlburg and The Rock, but we’re not going to talk about that today.

According to Google, the term “no pain no gain” was started by Jane Fonda in one of her workout videos. In the video, they’re probably doing a high-rep leg exercise that makes the muscles burn. Yes, those exercises are painful. They’re also not very dangerous.

Pushing yourself in a high-rep Barre or Pilates type of bodyweight movement is actually helpful if you’re doing that style of workout. Without adding extra weights you need to do a lot of reps to get results. Unfortunately, the type of training we do at TS doesn’t work well with Fonda’s catch phrase.

If you feel pain during an exercise, it’s usually a signal that you should change something. It could be your lower back, knees, hips or shoulders. Whenever you feel pain, you should address it. Often you can make a simple technique adjustment or do a modified exercise to work around the pain. Sometimes you have to scrap the exercise altogether and do something else.

Working through pain is only appropriate if you’re training with someone who knows that you’re safe. Otherwise, pushing through the pain can lead to injury. Remember that if you get hurt you’ll probably have to take time away from exercise, so it’s not worth ignoring the warning signs of pain just to get another rep or lift heavier weights.

If you’re committed to working out, you’re in it for the long haul. The body doesn’t change quickly, no matter how hard you push. When you think about workouts from a long-term perspective, you realize that you don’t need to work your hardest every workout. By taking care of your body and playing it carefully you can stay healthy and consistent. 

The same principle applies to soreness. Most people see soreness as a sign of a good workout, which isn’t wrong. However, you shouldn’t chase soreness. Sometimes your body simply won’t be sore from a workout, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t work hard. Soreness is more a sign that you’ve done an exercise you’re not used to than a function of hard work.

Written by Coach Henry Halse

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