The truth behind “no pain, no gain” in weightlifting
In the past few years, the idea of “no pain, no gain” in weight training has been gaining popularity among lifters. This idea states that if you train with minimal effort then your body will adapt to the training stimulus and increase its ability to produce greater amounts of muscle mass.
This means that you won’t have to do any additional work at all after your workout because your muscles will be stronger than before.
It’s not entirely clear how this works exactly, but it seems like the theory goes something like this: Your body doesn’t need to recover from a heavy workout. So when you lift weights, you don’t have to worry about getting sore or fatigued afterward.
You just get stronger!
However, there are several problems with this idea. First of all, it’s not necessarily true.
It’s important to allow your muscles to rest if you want them to actually get stronger. Not to mention, it doesn’t make sense that your body should adapt so quickly. It should take more than a single training session for your body to realize it needs to fortify the muscle fibers.
Furthermore, if the muscle recovers so quickly, how come you’re so sore after a workout? Shouldn’t your body just bounce back in about a day?
This idea also fails to take into account the emotional toll that a difficult weightlifting session can have on your mental state. Muscle soreness is a minor thing in comparison to the distress you can feel after having pushed yourself to the limit.
So does this mean you should never feel pain?
Of course not. If anything, you should try to push yourself so hard that it hurts, but not so hard that you end up feeling miserable for days afterward! Muscle soreness should be an indicator that you’ve trained hard, but it shouldn’t be a lifelong burden. It’s important to remember that your goal should be to build muscle and strength, not just to go through the motions and stay injury-free. If you find yourself dreading each workout, then maybe you should re-evaluate what you’re trying to accomplish. Keep in mind that you don’t have to worry about “no pain, no gain” and that your health should always be your first priority. Training hard is great, but you shouldn’t feel like training is a chore.
One more thing to keep in mind is the fact that you don’t have to worry about this if you’re just starting out with weightlifting. Your body isn’t going to adapt so quickly, and it’s going to take quite some time before you start to see noticeable changes in muscle mass.
Just keep in mind that you need to continue training hard, no matter what your skill level is. You’re not going to suddenly stop seeing results!
Try it yourself!
Don’t just take the word of some fitness expert on this one. You can try all of these ideas out for yourself.
Just be sure to maintain a training log so that you know what’s working and what isn’t in your weightlifting routine. Don’t be afraid to mix things up if you aren’t seeing the results you want, and don’t fall victim to the idea that changing things up will drastically affect your routine. The only way to know is to test everything for yourself and see what works best for you. Good luck!
Sources & references used in this article:
Weight lifting and training by J Garhammer – Biomechanics of sport, 1989 – books.google.com
The $800 million pill: The truth behind the cost of new drugs by M Goozner – 2005 – books.google.com
Isometrics or steroids? Exploring new frontiers of strength in the early 1960s by JD Fair – Journal of Sport History, 1993 – JSTOR
Health at every size: The surprising truth about your weight by L Bacon – 2010 – books.google.com
The Truth About Foam Rolling by G Kolata – 2004 – Macmillan