How to Keep Training When It Hurts

The Professor
The Professor
Gym Guru
It is not unusual to feel pain when working out. Pain is part of the game, but what is important is knowing what to do when your body starts triggering pain. This is just its way of telling you to take it easy. When you feel the pain you need to change or alter its cause. That means doing a less intensive workout.
Furthermore, if you are overly persistent with a particular exercise you will only intensify the pain and risk causing yourself long-term problems. Pain is your body's way of telling you to go slow. If you feel pain then, you need to address it, not ignore it.
Have you ever had a troubled knee or shoulder that just wouldn't go away even though it's apparently healed? When the body becomes hypersensitive, it will constantly send signals to the brain and body. This can cause problems during workouts so make sure you deal with it before it really gets in the way. 

Your Body And Brain Never Forget

human body muscles front and back

The brain never forgets an injury. Whether subconscious or not, a bicep tear can mean the muscle will always feel just that little bit weaker than before.
Furthermore, your body is an interconnection of nerves transmitting signals to your brain and back on a constant basis. These nerves seem to register a ‘pain-stamp’ that is hard to get rid of even when there isn't any cause for its continued existence. You can assess yourself and determine whether you are feeling real pain or just slight discomfort during exercise. You should know whether to discontinue a routine or not. Here are five tips to follow to ensure pain does not become a barrier to achieving your fitness goals. Don’t let pain become a full-blown injury.

Tips For Dealing With Pain

man with elbow injury screaming

  • When pain strikes, immediately stop whatever you are doing. It is important to know what exactly is causing the pain. You need to know if the pain is just a tweak, a muscle cramp or worse.
  • After noticing this problem, try out the workout but with less intensity as before. If you notice pain when you try out your workout at a much slower pace, stop and carry out the next step.
  • The next action you should take is to lower the weights, then try out the reps. If you still notice pain, you should then reduce your range of movements. If, after doing this, you still feel pain, proceed to the next step.
  • Try out other exercises which do not cause you pain. If you feel pain during simple movements, you may require some time off from your exercise routine for your body to properly heal.
  • Once you feel recovered, do not rush back into high-intensity workouts. Take things slow and steady to see how your body responds to the pace of each workout.

lazar angelov lying on a bench press with abs shown


Do not be arrogant. No athlete can beat pain. It will only ever worsen if you continue to ignore it. Listen to your body and heed any red flags that may pop-up. If in any doubt, stick to the steps listed above and you can be sure you won’t do yourself a damage. Curious to explore the topic more? Check out this feature article on The Overtraining Syndrome and find out why overdoing it in the gym is never a positive fitness habit for any athlete.


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