So there I was….
ready to partake in a good lower body workout. I had everything I needed at hand:
- dumbbells – check
- mat – check
- stability ball – check
- music – check
- motivation – check
- appropriate exercises all lined up – check!
So I began my first exercise in the routine – the squat/rdl (romanian deadlift) combo with dumbbells. It’s a fantastic way to work your hip and knee joints while learning to stabilize your spine… as long as you practice proper form and progression.
I’ve performed it many times and understand how the movement is supposed to be done.
But this time, I felt a pull in one of my hip flexors after just a few reps. It was small…not exactly a debilitating injury –
However, it certainly would have been if I hadn’t understood that when it comes to exercise safety – listening to your body is of UTMOST importance.
Had I ignored the fact that my body was telling me not to go any further with this exercise, I would have continued on in an effort to ‘push through the pain‘…as I’ve heard other trainers tell their clients to do. This can easily lead to some unforgiving injuries – and I’m glad I knew better than to do this.
Pain is the body’s way of telling us that something isn’t right. But since the term ‘no pain no gain’ is often used in conjunction with exercise, it can be a bit confusing to know when to keep challenging yourself and when to stop.
Well, I’m here to help clear that up.
Good vs. Bad Exercise Pain
Good exercise pain feels as though you’ve worked hard. Muscle burn and muscle fatigue fall into this category. These are normal and healthy experiences when exercising – and though it may feel a bit uncomfortable, this is harmless.
The overall feeling is that you’ve had a great workout and while you may be sore and exhausted, you are otherwise just fine.
Bad exercise pain, however, is alarming. This type of pain comes in the form of a pull, cramp, tear, strain or sprain. The overall feeling is one that shouts “go no further or you’ll regret it”. This is what my body was trying to tell me earlier – and I listened.
I know that finding the motivation to exercise at times can be tough, so when we come across a situation that forces us to either stop or change gears, it can be a bit disheartening. The good news is that with enough knowledge about which muscle groups control which movements, you can always switch your routine for one that keeps the injured area safe while still getting some activity in.
In my case, I knew that while I couldn’t do anything that might aggravate the area in which I felt the pull – I could still get a good upper body workout in – which is exactly what I did.
Yet, if this weren’t possible and it was either work through the pain or stop –
Because once an injury happens, especially as a result of intentionally ignoring the message of pain your body was giving you – that will be a mistake you’ll NEVER forget.
Let’s face it – no one likes to think that injuries can happen when we’re doing things in an effort to look and feel our best. If there’s a weight loss goal you want to keep, or if you’re taking an exercise class – the fact that you want to keep going is understandable…especially when they do things like this on popular weight loss television shows.
But see – those people are in an environment that are equipped with teams of medical professionals. The likelihood that that type of support exists in your home or gym is slim to none, so it’s a good idea to be mindful and deliberate when it comes to your fitness program.
Just remember this – your intuition doesn’t lie. If you feel as though you’re a movement away from an injury, stop. Taking a day or two off to make sure you’re good to go far outweighs any other alternative under the circumstances.
Awareness of exercise safety can mean the difference between a successful fitness practice – or one filled with misfortune.
>> About the Author <<
I am Dana Gore, author of the book “A Simple Guide to Exercise Safety (What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You)”, and graduate of Fitness Institute International, Inc. If you work out, or are thinking about adding fitness into your life, there are safety aspects to consider.
When it comes to exercise safety, awareness is our friend.
Visit my blog for more info at I Choose Awareness