Debunking Exercise Myths – No Pain No Gain

Let’s debunk some of the exercise myths that have been around for decades.

Doing a bit of research on the expression “no pain no gain”, it stems from centuries ago. The Greeks wrote about “without hard work there is no success”.

In the 2nd century, Hebrew philosophers/Rabbis stated “according to the pain is the reward.” This was a spiritual lesson that without “pain” in following G-d’s commands there is no spiritual gain.

Benjamin Franklin also talked about hard work resulting in gains.

All these statements were in reference to one’s life and not physical capabilities.

And then we come to the all time current philosopher Jane Fonda, who decided to associate this term in the 1980’s with her exercise routines.

What is pain?

This is your body telling you something is wrong. It’s a signal sent to your brain from your nervous system.

Pain sensations can be achy, sharp, dull, throbbing, burning, tingling, heavy, fatigue. You can have acute pain – pain you have in the moment to 1-2 weeks out – or chronic pain: pain occurring for greater than 2 weeks.

So why doesn’t one listen to the signal the body is sending? If it occurs immediately or when performing an activity, your body is sending you a warning that the action can be harmful to you.

Think of a growling dog. If the dog growls at you when you approach are you going to continue approaching. The dog is warning you that right now I won’t do anything, but keep coming closer I may bite you, so change your approach.

The same goes for an exercise or activity. Let’s say you just rose up from a chair and you felt pain in your back. The pain will stop you, so instead of continuing with rising, why not sit back down and try it again rising a different way or consciously engaging muscles to support your rise and see if now you can rise painfree.

By repeatedly doing this, you are now teaching your body the correct way to rise so you don’t have pain and do not cause more harm by continually doing it with inappropriate mechanics. In the end, you may even increase your strength by using the correct muscles.

Now there is a time when “no pain no gain” actually is helpful physically. If you are lacking motion in a joint, like the knee or shoulder, it can be uncomfortable to regain your full motion and therefore your function.

The Takeaway

The longer you wait to deal with the pain, or continually repeating an action that causes pain, the more damage you can do and the longer it will take to heal. You also begin to adapt new patterns of movement that can affect other parts of your body that will then put you into a pain cycle.

Nip that pain in the bud right from the beginning so it does not become a long standing issue.

Seek professional help from a specialized provider to address the root cause of the problem. Once you understand what is causing the pain, then you can treat it. Our Physical Therapist can not only educate you on what is happening, but also teach you appropriate mechanics to eliminate the issue and then set up an individualized exercise program to more effectively recruit the muscles to strengthen and support your body.

Ready to eliminate those aches and pains you have been living with for so long and regain your mobility and independence to have a fully functional life, click here to schedule your Free 20 minute Discovery Call to discuss your issues and how we can help you.

To Your Health,


Cynthia Weiss

We Help Women To Increase Their Confidence In Achieving Their Goals Of Having An Independent & Mobile Lifestyle Without The Use Of Pain Medications Or Surgery.