Earlier last month there was a new study out by German researchers which revealed that athletes can in fact tolerate a higher level of pain than normally active people. However, pain threshold, the minimum intensity at which a stimulus is perceived as painful, did not differ in athletes and normally active people. So, we feel the pain just the same, but have the ability to handle it better.
The article goes on to state that ” Athletes are frequently exposed to unpleasant sensory experiences during their daily physical efforts, and high physical and psychological resistances must be overcome during competitions or very exhausting activities. However, athletes are forced to develop efficient pain-coping skills because of their systematic exposure to brief periods of intense pain. Moreover, the mental attitude of athletes towards pain and physical discomfort significantly differs from that of normally active people.”
This study got me thinking about us, the CrossFit athlete. Does hard training increase our pain tolerance, or do we come to the sport because we started out naturally tough? I’m not sure there is a clear answer here, but I can tell you that I have always had an unusually high tolerance for pain. And as I look to my right and to my left while at the gym, I see some seriously tough people standing beside me.
I’ve heard of people using tools like imagery, yoga, and meditation to control pain, but it is hard to find peace and serenity in the middle of a WOD! I’m curious to know if you feel your pain coping skills and/or pain tolerance has changed since starting CrossFit? Also, if you have developed pain coping skills, what are they? How do you handle the pain?
June 22, 2012 WOD
Practice Back Levers
Pullup x 10
Pushup x 15
Rest 1 minute