Exercise & Fitness Blog

Exercise Pain: The amount of weight you use may be the culprit!

Posted on March 20 2013 in Gym Instruction

Avoiding exercise pain and making good decisions is crucial for your successLet me begin by saying that the majority of people exercising this very moment are using more weight than is necessary to get the desired results.  Before I reveal the method by which you determine the amount of weight you need to be using, we first need to understand exercise pain and the decision process you use when exercising.

The Truth About Exercise Pain

Exercise pain needs to be differentiated from exercise soreness.  The normal experience from an exercise workout plan can and will create what's called, "DOMS"  which stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.  The reason this is "normal" is because in the process of exercise you will be breaking down muscle and tendon tissue.  At appropriate levels, the body responds by rebuilding that tissue to be stronger and more productive.  Unfortunately, in the process, there are chemicals present during this process, like lactic acid, that create exercise soreness. This is a low level soreness that usually resolves within 48 hours.

Exercise pain on the other hand is different.  Pain after a workout in one of your muscles or joints is usually an indicator of an injury.  It usually lasts for more than 48 hours and is brought on by specific movements rather then general soreness with all movements. Commonly injured structures include the knee cap and meniscus in your knees, rotator cuff and labrum in your shoulder, and discs of facet joints in your spine.  Fortunately, although exercise soreness is the normal process that accompanies exercise, exercise pain can be avoided with the right technique and the right decision making which I will teach you right now!

Here is the question of the day:  Why are you exercising? If you're looking for help to answer this, read this blog post!  The most common answers are:  To look and feel good, to improve my health, and to lose weight.

Now, if you want to lose weight using exercise, I have bad news.  The latest research on exercise shows that exercise is a compliment to weight loss, but not the actual cause of weight loss.  The cause of weight loss is DIET!  Here is a link to a diet that I think helps you not only lose weight, but become a better decision maker and more intelligent eater.  It's the Diet Solution Program.

If your goal is to look and feel good and to improve your health (which by the way, is the purpose of exercise, not to have fun)  then exercise pain is a sure way to prevent you from achieving your goal and must be avoided. If you get injured, you won't be able to exercise. So, avoiding exercise pain and making good decisions is crucial for your success.

So, what the heck does all this have to do with the amount of weight you use.  Well, if you have taken my FREE e-course, then you know, your success is based on the amount of "load" (weight / resistance) and how you carry it (your posture).

The other day while in the gym I noticed a middle aged guy doing bicep curls with 25 lb. dumbbells.  He was swinging the weights, hiking his shoulders and making incredibly strenuous facial expressions.  By his final few reps he was struggling and his form was out the window.  I approached him, told him I was a physical therapist, and asked if he wanted some advice. After he happily accepted, I taught him the first lesson from my e-course, cleaned up his form and had him repeat the same exercise the right way.  After I revealed all of the cheating and warnings his body was displaying, he attempted the first correct repetition and could barely lift the weight he had been using.  He literally said to me, "So I need to lower the weight!"  AHA moment!  We lowered the weight, he completed 10 good repetitions, and then said, "Wow, I really feel that in my biceps. I guess lowering my weight and doing it right is probably more beneficial that cranking away."  He then said," I hate to tell you, but before you even approached me, I had already lowered the weight to focus on my form, but I guess I needed to lower it even more."  Yes!  He could lift the weight he was using, but was lifting it in such a way that a potential injury were just a matter of time.

If you're 20 years old how much weight do you use,  when you're 30 or 40, how much weight will you use, when you're 60 or 70 years old, how much weight will you use?  Just remember as we age we won't continue to lift more and more. As a matter of fact the weight we lift will continue to reduce over time. So remember, choosing the appropriate amount of weight for your strength and ability is more important then more, more, more! (A common mentality in this country).

The Answer:  The amount of weight you use needs to be appropriate for your strength and ability.  You don't need to continue to raise the weight because there is no end to that game. More weight doesn't necessarily mean you will get more health or more muscle, but may create more exercise pain and more joint failure.  

You will use the amount of weight that you can get to 10 - 15 repetitions while maintaining "Total Body Posture."  It should result in muscle fatigue with light shaking but never pain.  Remember, the supporting joints like your shoulder, and spine usually have a harder time creating support while lifting weights than the actual muscles being worked.  This is why these supporting joints fail first. So, protect them and be conscious of them first!

Do Now:  Take my free e-course, lower the weight to about 75% of the weight you're currently using and learn the proper technique. Focus completely on the muscle you're working and avoid the cheating and warning signs your body displays!

The Takeaway:  Avoiding exercise pain with fitness and exercise is the only way you're going to achieve your fitness goals.  The amount of weight you choose and the technique you employ to lift it, is what makes all the difference.  Remember, to remain fit and injury free throughout your lifetime, means you need to understand,  "It's a marathon, not a race!"  More will never be enough!  By the way, if you are a coffee drinker, it may help with pain related to exercise.  Read this and decide for yourself.

Homework Assignment:  Next time you go into a gym or you're exercising, pay attention to other's choice of weight and the techniques they use to lift them. Is the goal to get to 10 reps, or to do it RIGHT? You're better than that!  Now, welcome to the club of the people "in the know"

In exercise, what you don't know CAN hurt you!

Image Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net


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