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What To Do When Exercise Is Causing You Pain

As Accredited Exercise Physiologists our goal is to always to use correct exercise to overcome injuries and find a way for individuals to continue to exercise despite having certain injuries that are affecting them so that they can still gain the health benefits of exercise without pain or injury slowing them down.

The majority of the time, the pain an individual may experience during an exercise comes down to a postural imbalance that has led to the symptoms presenting as pain. Here are some tips if you are plagued by consistent pain while performing a certain exercise (N.B by “pain” I am referring to a negative event, which may lead to an injury, not simply muscular fatigue).

1) Make sure you have adequate flexibility and mobility through full range of movement

Many times, the pain an individual may experience during an exercise comes down to a lack of flexibility and mobility e.g. knee pain experienced during a lunge movement can often be due to lack of hip or quad muscles flexibility/mobility.

2) Perform a more comprehensive warm up

Experiment with self massage techniques including use of the foam roller and tennis ball to release tight areas and focus on trigger points. Incorporate dynamic mobility exercises, static stretching of the opposite muscles to what you are about to work during your session or known tight areas of your body and perform more “warm up sets” of the exercises you are performing in your program. Your Optimum Exercise Physiologist can help come up with a specific warm up routine for you.

3) Focus on technique and make sure you have excellent form

Again, your Optimum Exercise Physiologist will always keep a hawk eye on your form, but you must also be diligent when you are working out yourself. An example is to ensure you maintain correct knee and toe alignment during all lower body exercises. Failure to do so will lead to muscle imbalances and muscle tightness as well as place stress through the joint in the wrong way.

4) Reduce the frequency for that exercise or perform your exercises with a lighter weight

Instead of performing the exercise2 or 3 times per week, go for once or twice and find an alternative exercise to allow for more recovery. Alternatively, try using around 80% of the typical weight you would use for a given exercise and perform the same number of reps i.e. not going to exhaustion or you could use about 65% of the typical weight and perform a higher number of repetitions

5) Experiment with a variation of the exercise

If you have tried the previous steps maybe it is time to modify the exercises. Use an alternate exercise that works the same muscle group. Your Optimum Exercise Physiologist can assist you with this, but an example would be to perform a TRX squat rather than a sit to stand exercise or seated row rather than a bent over row

Not all pain should cause you to stop exercising. There are many variables to consider prior to “giving up” on an exercise. If pain still persists then consult Your Optimum Exercise Physiologist to find an alternative exercise.

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