"As someone schooled in physical therapy and rehabilitation, the idea of training through a painful movement is unjustifiable," asserts John Rusin, a strength coach and physical therapist.
The number 1 goal of a strength training program is to prevent injury. One injury sustained in the weight room is one too many. It's simply not worth putting yourself at risk when you're training, especially when your goal is to play a sport. You need to be healthy to do that. Rusin believes it's smarter to modify your workouts and focus on rehabbing to eliminate the issue causing pain than to push through it, which could ultimately cause a serious injury.
"Using intelligent modifications of a particular lift to make it pain-free will do more for your training stimulus than leaving yourself broken down, aching and hurt after every training session," says Rusin. But he adds that it's OK to feel muscular pain during an exercise from working that muscle group. He says, "There is a difference between muscular pain, like the feeling you get with a set of high-rep Back Squats that torch your metabolic system, and joint or non-contractile tissue pain that is most commonly associated with sharp and radiating pain. Know the difference to progress."