No Pain No Gain

Posted: April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

This slogan seems to be the driving motivational force behind coaches, athletes, and every gym hero. To be honest as a strength coach, give me a whole gym of these people, at least they have the right attitude. The problem though lies within the mantra.
Pain is our body’s way of protecting itself. It lets us know when we need to rest and recover. However, we still have defense mechanisms that allow us to function well enough to escape a predator. It does this by changing movement patterns to make them less painful. You change movement patterns and the result can be detrimental. This is how people get hurt.
Our body’s also can inherit the new movement pattern as normal movement. This can lead to wear and tear of joints and painful movements in the long term. If this happens it is almost a guarantee that at some point you will need to take some time off from the gym.
Listen to your body. If you are sore or injured it is in your best interest to rest. Fatigue also effects movement quality. You come to the gym tired and sore and fight through a workout that makes you more tired. Imagine what this is doing to your movement quality. Rest when you need rest!
Lastly, please do not rush through exercises. Everywhere I go I see gyms selling more and more boot camps, and circuit training classes, and other programs that are done as fast as you can. To decrease injury risk and increase performance we must correct movement patterns first. Workouts should not be creating pain and making us move with compensations.
Here is a link to one study showing lower back pain substantially decreased voluntary muscle activation http://jp.physoc.org/content/520/2/591. There are many more out there as well. Think about these things when looking for a gym or a trainer. They should be teaching you how to move better and not just looking to crush you every time you come into the gym.

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