Good Pain Vs Bad Pain When Exercising

​I was recently getting some left knee pain when doing barbell back squats with weight.

I knew this wasn’t right, so I stopped what I was doing, backed off the heavy weight, re-assessed my form, and gradually build my strength back up with better form pain free.

This was done over a period of a couple of months, and now i’m squatting my bodyweight (80kg) on the barbell for 5 reps with zero knee pain again.

And I have confidence to slowly increase the weight and get stronger.

​When you’re new to exercise and fitness, it can be confusing to figure out if you’re experiencing what we call “good pain” or “bad pain”. ​

My left knee was definitely feeling bad pain. Generally speaking, you should not experience joint pain when exercising. Especially in your knees.


This is a symptom of conditioning your body with correct exercise technique.

If you’re not conditioned to doing squats for example, and you do 50 of them in a workout, your legs are gonna be very sore from 24 to 72 hours after it. ​

This is a good pain, because you’re muscles will adapt to the training and not only get stronger, but become conditioned over time to the exercise. (It takes a few workouts to build up the conditioning).

You’ll know when you’re conditioned to an exercise when you don’t get sore in the following 24 to 72 hours after doing it, but rather feel strong and energised.

This is your queue to increase the intensity of the exercise. You can do that by doing more repetitions, or adding more weight. E.g. If you’re doing 50 squats a day, and not getting sore from it, try holding a 5 or 10kg weight while doing them. Or if you don’t have extra weight, do 100 squats a day instead of 50.

(The great thing about getting conditioned is that you can always experience progress).


This is a symptom of conditioning your body with incorrect exercise technique​, which causes injury.

This pain usually surfaces up directly after the exercise, and is either a throbbing sharp pain, or a constant dull pain that is there regardless of whether you’re moving or not moving that particular body part.

Let’s use Lunges as an example.

This is a great exercise to build quad & glute strength, as well as develop balance and coordination in your body.

But Lunges commonly hurt peoples knees. This is a “bad pain”. Lunges should not give you knee pain.

They should give you sore leg and butt muscles because that’s the muscles that work the most in a lunge.

Here’s a quick how-to video below with Chris and Kate on getting your technique correct when Lunging.

We made this video because we see lot’s of people struggle with this exercise, and this will help you avoid an injury, or knee pain, and build strong legs and butt.