The quote, “no pain, no gain” is almost as old as time itself. You’ve probably heard it from coaches, personal trainers, and your mum telling you to clean out the garage. But the word pain can often be misconstrued and generalized, and downright dangerous.
You see, pain is our body’s way of saying, “hold on, something is wrong here. That it’s time to step back and reassess”. However, this isn’t to say that whenever you feel muscle discomfort during a set you should drop everything and go home. Learn to differentiate between burn and pain below.
BURN AND PAIN ARE NOT SYNONYMOUS! HOW DO YOU TELL THEM APART?
SPOTTING THE DIFFERENCE
Burn and pain are not the same thing. It’s important to know what kind of “pain” is actually benefiting your progress and what kind is telling you that you need to stop. For the most part, the muscular burn you feel when you’re deep into a set of any exercise is the pain you should be aiming to achieve every time you set foot into the gym
Pain around a specific joint or several joints, that doesn’t leave any burning sensation in the muscles is an indication that something is wrong on a functional level. But here’s the kicker, overtraining of your muscles can eventually lead to joint problems. It will also lead to that bad pain you want to avoid.
HOW TO PREVENT BAD PAIN
Staying healthy in a fitness regime is all about preventing injury. There’s no better feeling than heading out of the gym stronger than when you walked in.
Conversely, it’s a really awful feeling going to the gym and then leaving with the feeling that you’re weaker due to limited mobility from joint pain. Make sure that you are consistently warming up before training. Include post-workout stretching of the muscles you had just previously trained.
I strongly recommend post workout stretching rather than pre-workout. If you stretch a stagnant, cold muscle, you can actually decrease its potential strength and cause unwanted microtears.
By stretching post workout, you’re elongating a muscle that has already been stretched out due to an increase of blood volume as a result of working out.