We’ve heard it somewhere before: whether it’s been on an awe-inspiring athletic commercial, or from a sports coach back in grade school, if there’s “no pain…no gain”. However, pain is not an indicator of progress, especially if it is a high level of discomfort. In fact, pain is usually an indicator for your body to ease off of strain, and take a step back to evaluate a few things:
1. Am I properly “warmed up”, mobilized and prepared for movement? The benefit of working with a coach, such as those at CrossFit Des Plaines, is it takes the thinking out of how to properly warm up and mobilize. Your coaches plan for movement preparation for athletes, so you don’t have to.
2. Once I’m properly mobilized, am I utilizing proper form for movement to allow my body to move? Though it’s hard to know what our bodies are doing all the time, remember to listen for and repeat your coach’s cues for movement. For example, your coach might state “sit back in your heels, push knees out, chest tall and squeeze your core.” It might seem like a lot to remember, but practice makes better! The more you practice good form, and fix movement flaws, the more your memory will learn how to properly execute it to keep your muscles and joints safe.
3. Once I’m utilizing proper form, am I loading an appropriate weight for my current level of strength and mobility? Everyone starts somewhere. There’s no rush to reach “heavy weights” early into your fitness journey. Similarly, there is no urgent need to achieve skills that may take more time than just a few weeks to accomplish (e.g., toes-to-bar). Increasing our fitness levels takes time and dedication; being patient with achieving close-to-perfect movement with no weights is the first step in being able to achieve all your future “PR”s at higher weights.
4. Am I recovering properly through balanced nutrition, adequate sleep and hydration? Sometimes the slightest injury can happen when we’re not even in the gym. This can also be a result of a lack of recovery, whether in your nutrition, sleep, hydration or stress levels. The less our bodies are able to “recover” from the strains of your workouts and daily life, the more likely it is to give you a “sign” (sometimes a muscle pull, or cramp, for example) that it’s taking on just a little too much at that time.
While preventing injury or pain, it’s also important to inform your coaches if you are experiencing it so that they can work with you to modify movements or workouts. Lastly, keep in mind, pain is a term that is relatively subjective, but should not be mistaken for muscle soreness. Muscle soreness is normal to experience when working out, and does not cause overbearing discomfort or limit range of motion to the same extent that “pain” might. If your soreness or nagging ache does not go away for over 48 hours, it may be a sign to see a medical professional.
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