Your Work Out Should Not Be Causing You That Much Pain

by Amy Morris

Think you know the difference between ‘Argh, that was a good work out!’ pain, and the ‘Wow! I think I have actually damaged something!’ pain? If not read on for some tips that might make your exercising experience a lot better.

A good push sometimes during a workout session can make the difference in increasing overall fitness levels, but it’s vital we learn when a pain is not healthy.

Justin Mager, an exercise physiologist and physician in San Francisco, clearly explains the difference to Fox News Health between the two types of pain you can experience;


“There’s a pain of injury and a pain of adaptation—one is bad, and the other is good.”

What Does Good Adaptation Pain Feel Like?

According to Mager, it’s normal to feel a bit achy during and after an exercise session, especially if you suddenly do a highly intense cardio session that you have not done in a while.

What is also a sign you are doing things right is when you exercise and feel nothing at all, then later that day or the next day you feel really sore. As Mager states,

“Pain after properly executed exercise means that your body is adapting to become more fit.”

Feeling sore, Mager says, in a healthy way could last anywhere from 2 to 4 days after you have done your workout session. Instead of stopping all movement and letting the pain completely take over during that time, in fact he advises you should work through the pain and keep all your muscles moving instead.

What Does Bad Injury Pain Feel Like?

Mager said even he had to be corrected on how to do certain exercises correctly, as at one point he started to get really bad left knee pain. Then an Olympic weightlifting coach taught him how to do his squats differently, and after he was taught this, his knee felt better than ever.


So, the lesson here is if you don’t have pain before exercising and suddenly develop pain while you are performing a particular movement then it means you should get a professional trainer to check your biomechanics.

On the other hand, if you used to suffer with pre-existing pain anywhere in your body or joints then it may play up again but in other parts of the body instead.

“For example, an ankle issue will probably create knee issues. It’s important to make those connections so that you can avoid misdiagnosis and focus your treatment appropriately.” Mager told Fox News Health.

If repeating a certain sequence of exercise moves is painful, then something is very wrong. For one example if you took doing a bench press exercise, Mager says both arms and the chest area will feel sore and painful. But when there is more discomfort in one specific localised area then something is not right and again you may need to be corrected.

Suddenly getting new and very painful aches or stabbing pains during a workout of any kind should be looked at immediately by a personal trainer or your doctor.

If after 2 to 4 days off from exercising, you still have pain lingering quite badly anywhere in your body this could be a sign you are overdoing it or may not be getting enough adequate rest in between your workout sessions, according to Mager.


So, the moral of the story is whilst exercise may be great for all of us, no matter our age or size – the key is not to overdo it and to seek out expert advice as soon as we notice extreme or abnormal discomfort.