Wednesday, February 11, 2009

“No pain, No Gain?” NOT SO FAST!!

Today I sat down and continue to read my personal training specialist manual and came across some great information that I thought I would share on my blog. The misconception of "no pain, no gain".

No pain, no gain is just another one of those fitness myths. It is easy to deny you have an injury, especially when you are working towards a specific goal, but ignoring injuries may very well result in less training time or stopping working out all together. An overuse injury results from repetitive loading, leading to gradual onset of pain and dysfunction over days or weeks. If the motion or exercise is repeated without adequate time to recover, there will be an accumulation of tissue damage and inflammation and ultimately discomfort and pain.

Many overuse injuries are insidious; they start as mild pain or pain after running and progress to injuries that are painful at all times. If you get beyond the initial phase of pain, it can take a long time to recover from the injury. While resistance training can be intense, and some level of discomfort may occur, pain is not required for a successful workout. It’s also important to note that pain can be a warning sign of an exhausted muscle or torn ligament
Don’t push through pain. Real discomfort is a signal that something's wrong or that you're asking more from a part of your body than it can provide at the moment. When soreness or pain is experienced for more than a couple of hours, apply ice to reduce pain and possible swelling and rest the body for a day or two. Continue to rest your body until the soreness goes away or pain lessens. If the pain persists or gets worse during a workout, stop the activity and look into seeing the doctor.
Just a couple of weeks ago I felt pain in my shoulders, where even unloading the dishwasher and stacking plates and bring them above my head to put in the cupboard was painful. I was scheduled to train shoulders the next day. I was faced with the decision: “Do I stick to my training program and just lift lighter or do I wait till this pain is gone?” I decided to skip the shoulder workout but decided to do calves and low impact cardio. Within a couple of days my shoulders were back to normal. I had a powerful chest workout a few days later and felt no strain. I waited a couple of more days and than isolated the shoulders.

Prevention is the key. Here are a couple of ideas that I use when assessing what my goals are in order to set realistic expectations of my training and time. I increase my workouts intensity no more than 10% each week. Not every workout should leave you gasping for air. You may start each week with a hard workout due to an intensity increase, but give the body enough time to adapt to the intensity in order to prevent injuries, while still giving your body a great workout. This will also allow your body enough time to repair damage.

I encourage beginners should allow their bodies a full day of rest between each workout to prevent overuse of the muscles and joints. It is a good idea to alternate exercising and taking the day off to rest the body. As you become more advanced you may use a light workout as a rest day.

Given the potential to create injury, encouraging your self to work through pain is negligent and not advisable.

Ohhh that Feels Great ......

So today marks my 3rd workout for chest and back and I was able to lift more weight on the bent over row with my barbell and my chest press. Feels great to see the progress I am making. More importantly was the great stretching I did after. I almost forgot how rewarding and calming it is to stretch after exercising and as of lately I have been putting more effort into it, not rushing through in 3-4 minutes, but really stretching. Really focusing on my form, my breathing and loving the range of motion I am performing.
Stretching is so often neglected and I thought I would list some of the benefits of this great after workout routine. We stretch to improve our flexibility. Flexibility is the range of motion that is available to a joint or joints. Not only does it improve muscle balance around a joint but it improves posture in the process. It reduces the chance of injury when playing a sport or in every day activities, while increasing the blood and nutrient supplied to muscles and cartilages. It also has the power in reducing muscle soreness after training. And one of my favorites is that stretching reduces and helps manage your stress as stretched muscles hold less tension in them which make you less tensed. Stretching also lowers your risk of lower back pain as flexibility in your hamstrings, hip flexors and muscles attached to your pelvis relieves stress on your lumbar spine which in turn reduces your risk of lower back pain
Stretching should not be preformed to the extent that it is painful. It should be a mild stretch that allows you to breathe calmly and smoothly. Static stretches are the most beneficial stretches. These stretches isolate specific muscles for a few breaths. Bouncing during stretching, called ballistic stretching, can be detrimental and does not lead to more permanent stretching. Instead of holding the muscle in a stretch position, the body bounces, stretching the muscle further with every bounce. This activity can be dangerous because it causes stress on the joints and can lead to hyper-extending a muscle by not being able to judge just how far a stretch is possible. It also may engage the natural reflex of the golgi tendon which takes over the bouncing and does not offer any benefits to flexibility. Static stretches, when held at least thirty seconds, work to lengthen muscles and lead to flexibility.
So next time you work out – make sure that you are leaving time for stretching before hitting the change room. Stretching should be planned just like you plan your workout for the day – whether it is cardiovascular activity or lifting weights. You will feel like your workout is complete – TRY IT!