Attention to Pain and Soreness
By Chad Tackett, President of GHF
When any workout or specific exercise causes you pain,
pay attention. Knowing how to react can help you avoid a
serious injury. Strength training can cause several types
of pain including:
When you use muscles you have not used for a while or
try a new exercise or training technique, it is normal to
feel a dull ache of soreness in the muscles that were trained.
This pain is caused by microscopic tears in the fibers of
the connective tissues in your body--the ligaments that
connect bones to other bones, and the tendons that connect
muscles to bones.
This microtrauma may sound harmful but is in fact the natural
response of your muscles when they experience work. This
is the primary reason it is so important that you get enough
rest between specific muscle workouts. Each time you work
out with weights, you cause this "damage"--these
tiny tears in your muscles; they need ample resting time
to rebuild and become even stronger, bigger, and more firm.
Pain During or Just After a Workout
During a workout, repeated contractions cause lactic and
other acids, as well as proteins and hormones, to build
up in muscle tissue. This can cause pain even without injury.
But if you experience a sharp, continuous pain, or pain
accompanied by a burning sensation, stop lifting and get
These happen when muscles, often in the calves or feet,
knot up in intense contractions. Cramps occur most commonly
in endurance sports like cycling and running, where the
athlete loses a lot of fluids through sweating. This is
why it's very important to stay well-hydrated during exercise.
If you do get cramps, the best way to stop them is to gently
stretch the cramped muscle.
The following injuries can occur as a
result of carelessness:
Tendonitis: This is inflammation of the
tendon and can occur if you begin your first set with too
heavy a weight and/or are not properly warmed-up. Rest is
the best treatment for this painful injury.
Fascia injuries: Can occur if you suddenly
jerk or pull the weight. Fascia is basically the packaging
tissue of muscle. When fascia is torn, it becomes inflamed
and the pain is severe. The injury should be treated with
cold packs and wrapped with an ace bandage.
Ligament injuries: Can occur when people
use momentum and jerk the weight to accomplish a lift. This
injury is treated by using cold packs and rest.
Sprains or muscle tears: Are uncommon
if you warm-up, stretch, and cool-down properly and implement
the safety precautions and principles we teach.
Any time you do have inflammation or swelling, use the
R.I.C.E method of reducing damage and speeding healing.
For injuries, R.I.C.E. is nice.
- Rest: When you are hurt, stop your
workout immediately and take weight off the affected area.
- Ice: Wrap ice in a towel and hold
it against the injury for 10 to 20 minutes, three or four
times a day until the acute injury diminishes.
- Compress: Wrap the injured area in
a snug, but not tight, elastic bandage.
- Elevate: Raise the injured limb and
rest it on a pillow to reduce swelling.
Strength training provides many important benefits that
cannot be achieved by any other exercise or activity.
However, when enjoying this great form of exercise, be
sure to pay attention to pain and soreness so that your
program is not only effective, but safe as well. Good
luck: I hope you enjoy all the wonderful benefits of a
safe and effective strength training program.
Click here for the Global Health and Fitness Program