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The dangers of no pain, no gain and overly intense workouts

From the time of the great Arnold Schwarzenegger , both the world of cutlingurism and that of gym workouts, adopted a motto that sometimes was placed at the entrance of some gyms or murals on their walls. It was the famous ” No pain, no gain “, which came to say something like that without pain and suffering, the results do not come . And it was common to see in the trainings of the great bodybuilders a series of endless repetitions led to muscle failure .

However, in recent years it has begun to be questioned that this system of training is as effective as we had believed to date. One of the main reasons is that training in each and every series until muscle failure , apparently can have disastrous effects for our body . Is it really that dangerous to take the workouts to the limit?

The myth of “no pain, no gain”

In the article entitled ” Forget about no pain, no gain: why it’s not worth training until muscle failure ” we were talking about what it is to train up muscle failure , something that as we mentioned was very fashionable in the “old school “and that today is still a pillar in many training centers.

The main problem with this training method is to do it every day, in all the exercises and in all the series, since this will take our body to extreme exhaustion, as well as being able to cause injuries during one of our series due to bar falls. due to fatigue or injuries at muscular or tendinous level.

Factors that can make your training a danger to your health

Doing a training is not watching a video on YouTube about how this or that exercise is done, going down to the gym or the park and getting to repeat it as if we were parrots. There are multiple factors that, if we do not take into account when exercising, can ruin our training and, what is worse, our health.

Rest and overtraining

Above any other factor , rest is the most important factor to take into accountwhen training. Bear in mind that, if a proper rest , our muscles and our nervous system will not be in full condition to perform a physical activity, so it will increase the chances of suffering some type of injury . And for rest we do not just refer to sleeping the necessary hours, but also to rest between sets and between training sessions for a correct recovery.

When we are structured a training with, for example, a minute of rest between sets, it is because that is the time that our body needs to recover and be able to face the next series with sufficient guarantees of not failing (as a general rule, since we are always exposed to suffering a faint , but this way we reduce risks). Not respecting rest periods will not mean any positive gain.

And the great danger associated with insufficient rest is the so-called overtraining , which can have much worse consequences on people’s health, as we discussed in the article on how this factor ended up ruining the health of four great athletes (even reaching to make a 16-year-old teenager have menstrual and developmental problems).

Rest and overtraining are two of the main problems that we can find both in CrossFit and in high intensity training (HIIT) and that can cause significant injuries.

The poor technique in the execution of exercises and the lack of supervision

An incorrect execution of an exercise , only once, may not have any type of consequence, but if this is repeated over time and we increase the workloads, the result may end up being a very serious injury . Exercises such as deadlifts, bench presses , military presses or abdominals are some examples of exercises that can injure us because of poor execution technique, which is why it is so important to learn and internalize the correct way to perform them .

In addition, in this section we could include the performance of potentially harmful exercises , such as the exercises behind the neck (due to the high risk of injury to the sleeves of the rollers mainly and which are very limiting injuries and whose rehabilitation is usually slow and boring), the typical abdominal crunches or exercises that imply a lumbar hyperextension (due to the increase in the intervertebral pressure that can lead to a hernia) such as the GHD sit-ups that are performed in the CrossFit.

Along with the bad technique , the lack of supervision by a professional is another factor that can cause us to end up injuring and, even more, if our training motto is “no pain, no gain”: when we train, we can not visionaries from outside to see if we are performing an exercise correctly, so that we can not correct errors unless we are recording with the mobile . It is therefore important that we have the help or supervision of a professional ( this is where the figure of personal trainers comes into play ) to help us correct the technique of our exercises.

A sport in which a bad technique is frequent in the execution of the exercisesbecause the speed of execution is more important than the technique is the CrossFit (it is estimated that around 73.5% of those who practice it suffer or have suffered some type of injury) : GHD sit-ups (already mentioned above), in exercises of dead weights or lifting of objects, it is common to see “back” humps, typical CrossFit pullups usually involve excessive and repetitive arching of the lower back to catch impulse…

And as a last point on a bad technique in the gym, say that sometimes we can be performing the technique poorly because we are using excessive weight for the exercise we are working on . The selection of the weight to move will also influence this aspect and, therefore, we must take care of it.

Overestimation of our abilities and excessive exercise intensity

When we talk about the intensity of an exercise , mention is made of a very important aspect in sports practice, and that excessive intensity can provoke us or that our training is not effective (with which we will have lost time) or or a faint whose repercussions can range from a simple drop in sugar or dizziness to, in extreme cases, death.

And an example of the latter that we just mentioned is the training system that between 2016 and 2017 became fashionable in London for the GymBox chain: the ” flatline ” . This method of training (for which they even have a waiting list) has the peculiarity that the user must sign a document before starting in which he is warned of the consequences that may result: dizziness, vomiting, fainting and even death . The reason? The intensity of the training , which is such, that cubes are placed along the way for users to vomit, oxygen bottles and, as a “star element”, the presence of doctors and cardiologists for the complications that there could be.

And what does the ” flatline ” consist of ? It consists of performing (or rather trying) a circuit composed of seven exercises of five repetitions each , in which users have to climb a rope, work with dumbbells, throw the famous “Atlas stones”, burpees sessions on drawers and a sprint of 45 meters. Oh, and all this while we wear a twelve kilos vest and repeat it five times. These exercises must be completed in periods of 45 seconds and between one exercise and another we will only have a short break of 15 seconds.

Bad selection of exercises for our routine

Another important point in preventing our training from ending our health is the appropriate selection of exercises: that an exercise or sport (as in the case of CrossFit) is in fashion, does not mean that everyone can or must do it.

Examples of inadequate exercises can be those that involve adopting a “behind the neck” position (involving shoulder abduction together with external rotation, leading to the glenohumeral joint to highly dangerous instability), abdominal crunches (due to the increase in intervertebral pressure repetitively) or the classic leg lifts to work the abdominals (in the first place they are not an exercise of abdominals, but of hip flexion and secondly they ask the iliopsoas to cause a tendonitis). These exercises are usually not adequate and, nevertheless, people can be seen performing them almost in any gym.


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