There are lots of common expressions relating to the world of fitness and bodybuilding. One of the most common ones is ‘no pain, no gain’, which basically means that you have to be prepared to work hard and push through the pain barrier if you want to see real results.
There is a large element of truth in this, but whilst you will always experience some degree of pain and discomfort if you are consistently increasing the resistance for various different exercises as you get stronger, and pushing your body to its limits, you should always listen to your body.
It is normal to experience muscle soreness during and after your workouts, sometimes for two or three days afterwards, and it is not unusual to have a few aches and pains every so often.
However if you find that one or two exercises are giving you a lot of pain, then you really need to pay attention to this because it could potentially lead to a serious injury in the future, and could do some long-lasting damage.
It is all well and good trying to push through the pain barrier, but if you keep doing the same exercise over and over again, and it continues to cause a lot of pain, you are highly likely to end up with an injury that could potentially require surgery in the future.
There are certain exercises that are more likely to cause a lot of pain than others. For example, there are a range of exercises that can easily result in shoulder impingement, such as the behind-the-neck lat pull-down and the overhead shoulder press.
Similarly, squats and leg presses can cause back and / or hip pain for some people, whilst others may experience knee pain when performing certain exercises.
It is not just strength training exercises that can cause injuries either because exercise bikes can cause back problems for some people, whilst some people find that they have a lot of soreness in their hips after using a treadmill on a regular basis.
So the solution is simple. You have to stop doing any exercises that are causing you pain, unless of course it is a result of poor technique. In which case you may find that this is no longer a problem if you use proper form at all times.
You will find that there are always different exercises that you can do that will work the same muscle groups, regardless of whether you are training your arms, abs, shoulders, back, chest or legs.
If you get a lot of discomfort from several different exercises, it may be a sign that you are over-training, in which case you might want to think about taking more rest days every week, or taking an extended break from training to allow your body to recover.
The point is that you need to listen to your body if you want to avoid getting injured and ensure that you don’t develop any long-term problems in the future.