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Over the past 20 years, I've performed thousands and thousands of upper body strength-training workouts. But there was a time that such work didn't come so naturally, and neither did the aftermath.

I'm talking about pain and soreness.

Delayed onset muscle soreness comes with the territory; but it is important to understand the difference between "good" and "bad" pain after a workout.

We've all heard the phrase "no pain, no gain," but few of us take the time to consider that there are different types of pain. Relating to physical activity, there are two types of "good" pain.

First, there is pain associated with fatigue within the cardiovascular or musculoskeletal systems. This is the pain you feel when running uphill or completing the last few repetitions of a strength-training set. It's a burning pain that one can typically endure for short periods of time. This is a healthy type of pain that is natural during an intense workout.

Delayed onset muscle soreness is another "good" pain that typically occurs 36 to 48 hours after a strength workout. It's an achy type of pain within the specific muscle groups that were challenged in the workout.

"Bad" pain can come in many forms, but the most common are acute, sharp pains and lingering, chronic pains in joints.

Sharp pains often occur when something has gone wrong during a workout. This could be due to a muscle strain, ligament damage or other types of musculoskeletal injury. This type of pain is stabbing or throbbing and goes on for extended periods. If such pain comes on during a workout, it's best to discontinue the session.

Chronic pain can be subtle and difficult to diagnose. Sometimes chronic pain is caused by a musculoskeletal imbalance, degeneration or aging. Although it's possible to remain physically active with chronic pain, it's best to see a physician to get a proper diagnosis before resuming a workout program.

This week's exercise is the type that can cause the "good" pain in the form of delayed onset muscle soreness. The Skullcrusher 1.5 creates an extended eccentric contraction in the triceps muscles, causing more muscle soreness than most exercises. However it's a fantastic way to train this important muscle group.

1. Select a pair of medium-weight dumbbells and position yourself on your back on an exercise bench.

2. Move up so that your head is almost (but not quite) hanging off the bench.

3. Extend the dumbbells over your chest with your arms completely straight. Your palms should be facing each other.

4. Bend the elbows to 90 degrees but allow the elbows to drop to shoulder level at the same time. This will create an awesome triceps stretch.

5. Lift the elbows back up by moving the shoulder, but don't extend the arm straight. Instead, drop the elbow back down to parallel with the shoulder and then perform a full extension with the arm and elbow. Think of it like a 1 1/2 repetition.

6. Perform two sets of 12.

Don't let the name of the Skullcrusher 1.5 intimidate you — it's appropriate for almost all fitness levels. The key is to select the right weight and to be prepared for a little "good" pain a couple days later. Enjoy!

Matt Parrott has a doctorate in education (sport studies) and a master's in kinesiology and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Style on 10/08/2018

Print Headline: Distinguishing between 'good' pain and 'bad' pain

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