I came across an interesting fitness blog post recently. It is a great point of thought, I make it a point, regardless of the program design for my client to ask how do they feel. Asking and listening to a client is very important and should determine how you proceed before training. How do you all address this subject with clients.
It really depends on they type/severity of pain. For liability reasons, however, it is best to err on the side of caution.
I do (to the best of my ability) try to determine during an initial consultation the client’s appreciation and understanding of the difference between actual pain and muscle fatigue due to exercise.
For example, if a client says “this hurts” I typically have them stop performing the exercise. However, as I am sure we have all experienced, often times the client simply means “I really feel this in the muscle(s) that are working right now.”
It is far beyond my scope of practice to diagnose injuries. Therefore I explain to my client’s beforehand that they should only use the words “hurt” and “pain” when referring to injuries, and not simply muscle fatigue.
It is a dangerously fine line, though. When there is any doubt, I always err on the side of caution and suggest seeking the advice of a trained medical professional.