How many times have you heard, ‘No pain, no gain‘? Every gym echos with the same, vague, stupid advice. As if pain was a bone fide measure of whether you did a productive workout and whether new muscle will grow on you this week. Those four words capsulize so much of what is wrong in the world of strength training
How about ‘No progressive overload, no gain.‘?
Or, ‘No high intensity of muscular output, no gain‘?
Or, ‘No adequate rest, no gain’?
Those can be objectively measured. Not only can pain only be subjectively approximated from workout to workout over the months, more importantly, it has absolutely no bearing on muscle gain. None! If pain built biceps you could just ask your friend to wallop yours with a baseball bat. (Actually, that might build his biceps a little, but not yours. Haha.)
I know the concept is supposed to be that you exert yourself so hard that it causes pain in the muscle. Taken farther, most of us have also heard, “You haven’t done a real workout unless you puke.” Same basic principle. But the truth is you could lift until your muscles were screaming with pain and you throw up to boot and it still won’t mean you stimulated new muscle growth. Not unless you surpassed your previous numbers for your intensity of lifting. I said numbers. Measurement. That’s what makes a training method rational and scientific. To be doing any measurable activity in the 21st century by subjectively ‘feeling’ the degree of pain or nausea is just plain stupid. But that is the predominant culture inside almost every gym – macho, bonehead advice that is a throwback to otherwise lost times.
Nothing is sadder than seeing a guy drive a modern car with a GPS system to a gym, use his iPod to keep cadence on a sophisticated treadmill, track his bodyfat percent and resting heart rate assiduously but not have a clue what the intensity numbers are for his lifting exercises. It means he’s a person who sees, understands and uses the value of technology every day but as soon as he heads into the weight room he happy reverts to 19th century technology – and dumb advice like ‘no pain no gain‘ in place of the reason and science that got him this far.
Here’s a better gym slogan: Friends don’t let friends do bonehead workouts. Please spread the word that there is a way to easily measure the progress, or lack of, for every muscle on every exercise during every workout – tell people about Static Contraction Training. Thanks.