The statement “no pain, no gain” has been hanging around the strength and conditioning world for longer than I have been alive. While I certainly understand and appreciate the importance of hard efforts and great work ethic, I would like to resurrect another classic term that is not as common among the training community…”know when to say when.”
I have stated before that a training program must include joint mobility training, strength training, conditioning, and flexibility training. The amount of time devoted to each component depends on the trainee and the situation. I tend to be of the mindset when it comes to strength training that, in most situations, a little less is usually a lot more. Deliver just enough stimulus to produce the desired response.
Here are a few rules of thumb:
1. If you have pain with a particular movement, have a qualified coach troubleshoot your technique. The problem could may be in the execution of the exercise and not the exercise itself.
2. Devote adequate amounts of your total training time to joint mobility work, flexibility training and tissue work (or foam rolling and lacrosse ball self massage if you have financial restrictions like me). Please remember that a foam cylinder or ball will never be as good as human hands.
3. Sleep more than eight hours per night. I know this one is not training related per se, but adequate sleep is important for recovery from training.
4. Take fish oil daily. It decreases total body inflammation and supports joint health, cardiovascular health and has also been shown to lower triglycerides and raise HDL’s (the good cholesterol).
5. DO NOT WORK THROUGH PAIN. It is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right. No pain, no gain does not make you tough… it makes you foolish. Know when to say when.
Work hard and work smart.