"No Pain No Gain" ... Really?
Thanks to Dana McMahan for promoting this VERY important message in her blog.
"No pain no gain needs a lot of explanation.
That's the trouble with clichés."
That's Dr. Eddie O'Connor's much nicer way of putting something I've been saying for a while: "no pain no gain" is bull that gets you hurt.
This message is tirelessly proclaimed from gym walls, emblazoned on clothing and plastered on "motivational" images across the internet. And I bought the hype. My indoctrination into lifting taught me that pain was necessary to get stronger. It was the cost of watching the plates on the barbell grow, even some sort of badge of honor to hurt daily. Well, that badge was my ticket into the operating room where I landed with a scalpel in my spine. I "sucked it up," as my coach said, and worked through pain every day. "Welcome to heavy lifting," he'd say when I'd note which part of me hurt and how badly today, and I'd press on.
My trouble was I just didn't understand the difference in pain that's part of training, to be expected, and pain that's a warning signal. I talked with Eddie O'Connor, Ph.D., sport psychologist and director of The Pain Center at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital about this slogan. "What the hell is pain and what is the gain we're talking about it?" he demands. "Most people think 'if it hurts it's bad for me,'" he says, "but athletes think pain is good because you have to be tough. There's very little education about what pain is safe and healthy ... read more
And Part II: How much should exercise really hurt?