Pain by definition:
Pain is the unpleasant feeling common to such experiences as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting iodine on a cut and bumping the “funny bone.” The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.”
Pain can be very subjective, and an individual’s pain threshold can vary greatly from person to person. What may be perceived as painful to one person may not solicit as much of a sensation to another person.
We can all attest to pain in everyday situations, but what is sometimes difficult to understand is the feeling or tolerance of pain during a workout situation.
The phrase “No pain, No gain” has no place in your workout. There is really only one answer to the presence of pain – yes or no.
During the course of performing an exercise, you may feel a burning or even a feeling of fullness in the area being worked. For example, walking lunges down and back the turf are sure to elicit some burning in the quadriceps (or thighs); a timed set of push ups may have your chest and arms burning as well. Sometimes, the feeling of fullness may be a feeling of “tightness” to some people. Normally though, once the set of lunges or push ups is completed that feeling of burning or tightness will disappear after a few seconds. This is completely normal and tells us we have generated a response within the muscles.
What we don’t want is any feeling of pain, especially close to a joint. This is not normal. There is no such thing as just a little pain. There is either pain or there is not – there is no middle ground.
When we talk about pain during the performance of an exercise, we are referring to sharp pain felt at any point during the course of performing that repetition. The feeling of pain at any time is not normal, and the exercise should be halted immediately. Sometimes it is as easy as re-checking form or technique in order to continue pain free.