3 Workouts That Teach Pain Tolerance

What do you think? If you agree, you’re in the right place!

“Research has shown that workouts that induce high levels of discomfort increase pain tolerance independently of their effects on physical fitness.”


Certainly your ability to tolerate discomfort matters, but there is insufficient evidence in the article.

The description of the research study is insufficient, and the workouts that are suggested are not related to that study, or given any proof that they work.

I have undergone root canal without Novocaine, or any other pain-killer several times, but I would not claim that is a good way to teach pain tolerance. :smile:

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@Heretic This is the typical Training Peaks stuff. They never really go in depth and the articles really serve as a way for coaches to promote themselves on the platform.

However, I think we would all agree that HIIT training works as we train within a system that uses it fairly regularly. I wouldn’t really call it “pain tolerance” either - I think of it as better acclimating your nervous system to physiological demands.


I actually prefer the term discomfort because if you are truly feeling physical pain it is probably time to stop.

The best way I know to develop your tolerance, or acclimate your system to the physiological demands, is to do the exercise that most corresponds to your goal.

Whether it is long distance endurance, cyclocross, time trials, or whatever you need to practice the demands of that event. While HIT training may be good for increasing VO2 max, and that might help increase your FTP for an endurance event, HIT training is not the same as the tolerance you need for an event that goes on for hours (or even days).


@Heretic Funny as I am about to test that very statement next week. Several times over the past decade I have done the Vermont50 with very little organized bike training - just a few outdoor rides but regular lifting and CrossFit 3 to 5 times a week. It worked but I knew getting organized with more bike focus would lead to improvement. SUF provided an excellent framework and I am stoked to get racing next week!


Blender, A very dark place, The chores. Next!

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