So yesterday was leg day and you really pushed yourself hard! You got a new PR on squats and walked out of the box with your head held high! You are feeling great about life until you try to get out of bed. Everything that didn’t hurt yesterday hurts today. Your butt, your quads, your hamstrings, all seem to be screaming at you as you try to waddle into the bathroom. Forget trying to sit down on the toilet and get back up again. That just isn’t going to happen!
We all at some point or another have had that kind of pain right? While it hurts like heck and we swear we are never going back to the gym again, we know that it is a good pain. I know that sounds funny to say but, it is. It is the kind of pain that tells us what we are doing is working. All those squats are actually doing something! Crazy right?
However, I have found both in myself and in other athletes that sometime we confuse good pain for bad pain. Sometimes we simply just don’t listen to our bodies when we should. We just want to keep pushing through the pain and more often than not, that does quite a bit of harm to our bodies.
While that mild muscle soreness we feel after a hard workout is good, we need to be careful that we don’t assume that all pain during a workout or post workout is good. We need to be aware of what our bodies are telling us is good muscle soreness or pain that insinuates injury.
Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine who had been working on a new deadlift PR. She told me that while she was lifting she felt some pain in her back. She didn’t pay attention to it because she assumed it was that good muscle soreness from a previous workout. She kept lifting heavier and heavier and her back kept getting more and more painful. The next day, she couldn’t get out of bed without help and was in a lot of pain. She went to the doctor’s office after several days of intense pain to discover she had pulled muscles and a bulging disc. She admits that she should have listened to her body more instead of letting that drive to get a PR overshadow the pain her body was in.
So, take time to listen to your bodies. If you are really feeling pain, stop what you are doing and back off for a bit. The gym will still be there! Don’t be afraid to take time off because it won’t hurt you to have a break! We have one body people! While our bodies can be pushed hard and a lot further than we think it can, it does have a breaking point. Don’t get to that point!
Enjoy that muscle soreness after a hard workout! It means you accomplished something great! If your body is telling you that what you are feeling is something more than just a little morning after muscle pain, listen and act accordingly! I promise you will thank me later!