It Hurts

There’s a difference between things that are uncomfortable, things that are hurt, and things that are injured.

Most things we do here are going to be uncomfortable. That’s why we call it “CrossFit” and not “Getting a Relaxing Massage With Scented Oils”. When you do heavy front squats, your wrists are going to feel uncomfortable. The correct response here is to quit whining and get on with it.

For various reasons you’ll eventually have to deal with things that hurt in your training. If your wrists are really screaming at you, you might go off and spend a bunch of time warming them up today and do a little light stretching before your front squats. If you feel fine having warmed up and can now get into a better position you should probably still be training. Maybe go a little lighter than usual, you’ll feel better afterwards.

Injuries are different. You’ve got something you should be resting if it feels WORSE after training rather than better (“after” could be up to several hours afterwards by the way, or the next morning).The correct response to this sort of thing is to rest the affected area, apply liberal doses of ice and find alternative things to do to work around it. You do not train through an injury. It’s not big or clever, and it’s a fast way to turn a mild injury into something that’ll follow you around for months or years.

The incorrect response is to fall into a state of depression, do absolutely no training and eat cake. You can always do something. If you’ve injured one limb, train the remaining ones. If you’ve hurt your back, do some one-legged lifts so the weights are kept light. Hell, come down and just do planks if you need to, you can always do SOMETHING.

This is obvious stuff to people with long training histories, but most beginners make a terrible mess of distinguishing between these varying types of pain. The pattern you see is raw beginners are not used to anything being uncomfortable, and they tend to think they’re injured when they aren’t. People who’ve been training “a little” tend to pick up little injuries, and then think they’re being really hardcore by training through them until they finally turn into big injuries. That’s not hardcore guys, it’s dumb.

Those stupid t-shirts with “no pain, no gain” splashed across the front should probably read something more like “no momentary discomfort that passes immediately upon cessation of activity that triggered it, no gain” instead. Do not work through pain. While we’re at it: do not take medical advice from t-shirts.

Part of the journey to getting good at any physical endeavour is learning to listen to your body. You might not think it says very much, but pay a little bit more attention and you’ll be surprised.

In summary: If you’re uncomfortable, it probably means you’re doing exercise. Keep it up.

If you’re hurt, be careful, make some adjustments to your workout.

If you’re injured, stop, do something else instead.

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