I think it is safe to say that at one point or another, we have all heard somebody use the catch phrase ‘No Pain, No Gain'. This phrase is a well-known exercise motto that alludes to the idea that greater rewards can be achieved for the price of difficult, and even painful, work.
Many people fall into the trap that lies behind this idea; if the exercise they are performing isn't difficult or painful, they must not be doing enough. It is with this mindset that people often over exert and injure themselves.
As a professional in the Rehabilitative Exercise field, this issue of potential for injury due to over exertion is something that I see occur all too often. When exercising, it is important to understand your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Pushing yourself beyond the point of your own capabilities is only increasing your risk for potential injury.
Your body has a unique way of letting you know when something isn't quite right. If you do experience pain or discomfort while you exercise, this is a clue that you may be doing too much, performing an exercising improperly, or even that the exercise you are performing may be against how your normal structure was meant to work.
Rather than ignoring these signals and pushing forward, take a moment to reassess the type of exercise that you are performing as well as how you are performing it. Many different exercises and machines are built to isolate muscles or force certain movements that can be damaging to your body. Just because a machine is at the gym does not mean it is a good option for building a healthy, strong and injury-resistant body.
When I am working with patients and teaching Structural Support Exercises, I make it a goal of mine to educate them that this idea of ‘No Pain, No Gain' is not a sustainable mindset to have. Instead, I like to use the phrase ‘No GOOD Pain, No Gain'. It is perfectly acceptable to experience muscle soreness after exercising. It is never a good idea to push yourself to the point of pain, or beyond.