Monday, June 27, 2011

Train Through the Pain?

by Kris Pitcher

I am by nature an eavesdropper. Paying attention is just part of my intuitive make-up. So, when I overheard a member at the gym talking with his workout partner about whether he should just "lift through the pain" - I couldn't help but share my thoughts on the subject with all of you.

Training through pain is tricky. It's one thing to have muscle soreness, and work through that. Training through muscle soreness can be a good thing when you lift a little lighter, increasing the blood flow & range of motion through dynamic stretching.

Soreness, by definition is an overall - or localized to a muscle group - stiffness, tightness, weakness or fatigue. It's an "achiness". We've talked about DOMS before, delayed onset muscle soreness caused by micro tears in the muscle fibers from overload. This is how we grow. "G-r-r-o-o-w-w-w!" I whisper to my shoulders after my workout.

The onset of soreness usually comes 12-48 hours after your workout. Depending on the structure of your workout schedule you may be lifting through some residual soreness. While soreness can be uncomfortable, this is OK.

Pain on the other hand is very different. When you can feel and point to a specific spot where you feel pain in a muscle or joint you're on your wey to an injury. You've got a problem. Working, or lifting through that pain will cause further damage.

By definition, pain is typically sharp, and pointed (meaning you can say, "I feel it right here."). It can also be acute at onset, meaning you can identify when it happened. Continuing to train with this type of pain (injury) leads to either an acute tear, or a chronic injury usually at a joint. I'm saying, it's not going to get better.

By all means he should not train through the pain. We talk to people all the time with shoulder injuries who can with specific bio mechanical changes in how they lift, reduction in the amount they are lifting, changes to the lifts they are performing and strict form, can begin to rehab a shoulder injury before it becomes a surgical issue.

You should ALWAYS take your concerns of muscle or joint pain to your doctor. Training through pain will not make them better. Sometimes rest, ice, compression, and elevation will help. Rest being the first (which doesn't translate to training through). But an underlying injury can only be determined by your doctor.

If something doesn't feel right, get it checked out. It's better to deal with an injury even if that means a repair, so you can get yourself healthy and back on track.


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