Client Wisdom: On Consistency

No Pain Principle #1: Know Thyself

Dave S. is one of my favorite humans. He’s a client at our gym IFAST in Indianapolis, but he began his story as a patient in my purple physical therapy room. He was dealing with back pain that began during workouts at another gym. Like many, he wasn’t broken, but pain severely curtailed his ability to enjoy life and his workouts. As he said, “He is training for life.”

Oftentimes, limitations in our movement repertoire place stress, tension, or pressure on structures of the body that will result in a pain. In regard to Dave, his assessment went really well, but he did demonstrate an inability to access and utilize all of his hip mobility is several tests.

“HIPS!!!   MY HIPS were the problem!!??  My limitations began with “back problems,” but were really my hips. Made me feel like an 80-year-old with osteoporosis.” – Dave S.

We can never really say that one limitation is a cause of pain elsewhere, but if we look at ourselves as a whole, limited movement in one area of the body may result in compensations that place increased stress on other areas of the body. The assessment process merely provides a starting point to make good exercise decisions and a comparison for progress.

With Dave, we initiated a simple process of individualized exercises to reduce undesired or restrictive muscle activity that was getting in his way. This included his daily resets and readiness exercises to focus on his movement limitations.

“CONSISTENT commitment from day to day helps breed personal success from month to month.” – Dave S.

Very quickly, Dave was back at it in the gym starting with modified exercises to keep his workout effort and satisfaction high. From there it was simple progression of following the Statute of Workout Limitations (see All Gain, No Pain Chapter 19) to even greater intensity.

The ALL GAIN, NO PAIN Statute of Workout Limitations*

  • Limit weight to allow pain-free movement
  • Vary the exercise pattern to allow pain-free execution
  • Limit the speed of movement to pain-free rates of movement
  • Limit the joint motion of an exercise to pain-free ranges
  • Modify the rest periods between sets of exercises to alter intensiveness
  • Include Readiness and Supplemental Exercises to overcome our stress pattern

“One of the new interns mentioned that my workout was one of the hardest he had seen anyone do… The seasons and the pounds have come and gone, but I must say that I have never had this kind of success in the gym in my entire life.” – Dave S.

Where do you start with the ALL GAIN, NO PAIN

The No Pain Principle #1:  Know thyself is your self-assessment to determine your own personal starting point. It’s the “point A” to lead you toward “point B.” Without knowing your challenges, your exercise program may be too generalized to address your specific needs. It’s also difficult to measure progress based on your key performance indicators (see ALL GAIN, NO PAIN Chapter 20) that are essential for motivation and targeting exercise selection to areas of need.

*modified from: Verkhoshansky, Y., Siff, M Supertraining, 6th Ediition – Expanded Version.  (Distributed by Ultimate Athlete Concepts USA, 2009).


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