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.
I think that it’s vitally important to know the source of the pain and it’s cause. I agree with other posters that how I proceed with a client experiencing pain depends on it’s cause and severity. The whole “no pain, no gain” mentality of the past simply is not a smart way to approach training. I make that clear to my clients when we first start working together. I try to explain to my new clients that there will be times in our training together that they will become uncomfortable and feel challenged (i.e. the “overload principle”) and that what we seek is to get them to become “comfortable with discomfort,” NOT comfortable with PAIN.
I totally agree with Karin’s statement that many people (including our clients, and even ourselves) do or will experience “pain” at some point in our lives. If the client has been medically cleared to workout despite the source of this pain, then it’s part of my job to get them to improve their quality of life while living/dealing with the pain. This means that if they have chronic pain such as that related to arthritis, strengthening their muscles and joints to improve that condition, or if their source is an episodic or acute source (such as post-rehabilitation from surgery) to work through the slight discomfort/pain that is a necessary part of returning to full or close to full functioning.
“Yes,” dealing with pain can be a slippery slope since each individual experiences pain and expresses it in different ways. This is why in my opinion it is vitally important to acknowledge your client’s feeling, communicate effectively with them, and make sure that they obtain a medical evaluation to determine that their exercising is not exacerbating or causing the pain.
I hope that this helps.