T Nation

Training Through Pain: Where's Your Line?

So as not to derail another thread that is probably being largely ignored anyway at this point, I will start this one.
Where is your line with regard to pain/discomfort? When does it go from not being a sissy, to that’s stupid? If you get my drift. And, how does it move depending on circumstances? Like the difference between podium at a contest or not podium? First vs something else?

I pretty much never let pain or discomfort enter my calculations. It’s when I observe dysfunction that I start taking notes.

If it hurts when I do something, I’ll keep doing it and swallow the hurt. If I try to do something and I can’t: time to shut it down.

It depends on the pain. If it’s joint, tendon or ligament pain then I’ll try one more set, maybe with a slight adjustment and if it still hurts I will pack up and go home for the day. One day of training isn’t worth potentially damaging myself for months, years or life.

But, if my muscles are sore and hurt from lactic acid then I’ll keep going until my session is over.

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This is where my line used to be when I was competing in powerlifting. I tend to believe that something short of this ends up not maximizing potential but going to this line leads to reduced longevity.

My line now is that if I have pain in a joint that exceeds a 2-3 on a scale of 10, I move on from that exercise. I now feel better than I have in years and haven’t had to use my favorite powerlifting supplement (Aleve) in several years.

Edit: Good thread idea and I’m interested in the discussion outside of that other train wreck of a thread.

It depends on the intensity and location. Since I’m not competing anymore at this point . I am more incline to back it off since it takes me allot longer to recover from minor injuries at my age and avoid them like the plague. Besides I got a total of 7 small scars from being scoped in each shoulder. That from being too stubborn and not retreating when I should at different points.

Thank you for starting this thread. I’ve been struggling with this issue for a while.

On a similar note, what do you consider a “workout” vs “active rest”. For example, would a 3mile light jog count as “cardio” or an “off day”

I have a pain tolerance issue, personally. I don’t feel it in the moment. I’m the guy that gets yelled at for bleeding on everything, and I don’t even realize I’m cut. I have only once “Felt a pop”, and that was earlier this year and I dropped the bar immediately - but it was a reflex action, everything went limp with the pop. I thought about giving it another go, but slower. After giving it a minute and trying to “Walk it off”, I decided to call it for the day. I don’t have an off switch, which I expect is how @T3hPwnisher works. If I thought about things, maybe I’d stop, but the pain always comes later for me. Golgi tendon action is the whole thing preventing me from doing serious injury to myself.


3 miles at anything more than a walk would count as a marathon for me. I hate running, and never did run for distance. I’ll put a lot of miles on a stationary bike though. I would gues that depends on the intensity and it being relative to what you’re used to.


I also have a strange pain tolerance considering that I can pull an egg straight out of boiling water
Unlike others though, I’m a little too good at pacing and struggle to really push myself

fair point.

so do you consider the easy miles “rest”
@burt128 Pwn is sentient farm machinery who does max effort trap bar pulls with a hamstring injury :joy:

I stopped taking naproxen after it tore a hole in my guts. It was like the only pain killer that worked for me too. These days, I never touch anti-inflams.

It may be. I’m very good at enduring the suck. I ran a half marathon 2 weeks back having only run 6.55 miles in training for it and basically just knuckled down and didn’t let my feet stop until we were done.

I suppose this is a good demonstration too for that matter

When I blew out my ACL, I never felt pain, even AFTER it was done. But also, after my surgery, I stopped pain meds after 3 days thinking I was “pain free”, and then 2 weeks later realized that NOW I was pain free. I’ve honestly forgotten what it’s like to NOT be in some sort of pain.

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Me too. I love, and have an incredible response to adrenaline but I’ll tear stuff and get hurt really pretty badly and not realize it until it’s too late.

I’ve dialed it way back recently, partly with the help of a beta blocker, and it was just about time.

Now I stop to asses when I feel pain.

If I enjoy it…it’s active rest :rofl:

ultimate frisbee, walk on the beach, volleyball, etc…

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Or assess. Either way.

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Auto fill strikes against!

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I pulled a Deadlift that I don’t remember. I apparently set it down, smiled, and fell flat in the floor. Out like a light. I also managed microtears of my ulnar nerve and tendon. Couldn’t move my hand. So I made it into a fist with my other hand, put the wrist wrap on super tight to hold it, and tried to compete in Hercules Hold. I was, of course, at a contest. No off switch, didn’t feel a thing.

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Sorry, but to anyone following your log we all know these are falsehoods. But maybe you should make a different thread on the active rest/conditioning topic if you want to discuss it.

On the topic, I need to make myself a line. The current approach does not seem to be doing me many favours. And that approach is working through the pain. Which is fine for the things that do end up getting better but for the nags that have been perpetual, who knows what the damage has been. Should have a strategy, wherein whatever it is is given a fair chance at not being a deal-breaker but if despite best efforts to fix the cause if pain persists abandon the trigger(s).

If I’m sure it’s DOMS, I generally just go ahead and lift again. It usually goes away with activity.

Other injuries I can think of as an example to answer:
Ankle sprain - not playing sports until that’s healed to 80-90%, in view of the long run. I did play two school matches before with a heavily bandaged ankle though, because it was competition.

Some SI problems and shoulder impingement - kept playing. Felt it every time I jumped and swung my arm, respectively. Had them checked when the pain reached at least an 8-9/10

Had some knee problems in the squat before, luckily it went away with some small modifications to the angle of my feet

This is spot on for me too. Pushing through intense discomfort (lactic acid) is one thing but pushing through actual pain is another completely.

I push through it. I do the same with work too which stresses out my wife. Obviously an injury is a different situation but when it comes to pain or discomfort i think people can handle more than they realize…they just never push hard or long enough to see.