What do I do when I feel in pain during a workout?
When you start a new program or increase the intensity of your current regime. If you feel a little discomfort as a result of your most recent efforts then you will probably conclude that missing your next gym session is the sensible thing to do.
The fact is, as long as you are not suffering from an acute injury, you don't need to worry
about making yourself sorer. Exercise can actually help to reduce muscle stiffness, speeding up your recovery.
During a workout, exercises that stretch and lengthen the muscles - known as eccentric movements- often cause tiny tears in muscle cell membranes, resulting in inflammation which leads to soreness the following day.
It is normally the case that the soreness resolves itself within 48 to 96 hours. In the meantime, however, moving the afflicted the muscle may cause discomfort as it is likely to feel stiffer and weaker than normal. Research has indicated that muscles with minute tears may also develop higher levels of creatine kinase, an enzyme that can exacerbate soreness. This may make you feel like you want to stop all training until it has completely disappeared.
A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that repeating eccentric
exercises while still sore from a previous workout did not worsen injured muscle fibers or stimulate higher creatine kinase levels. The study also showed that afflicted participants who continued with their program didn't recover from their soreness at a slower rate than those who took a session off.
So breaking when you ache is a fitness fable - soreness isn't a good enough reason to miss out on your next gym session.