Retuning to the Gym (Safely!)
GYMS ARE FINALLY BACK!
After 3 months off, I’m sure we’re all very excited to get back into training. But, after having such a long break from lifting weights, it is important to take certain steps to avoid injury or overload.
You are not going to be able to pick up where you left off- and that’s okay. Strength and fitness gains can be lost very quickly, and can take a while to recover. So don’t try going straight back into that pre-iso 100kg squat. Start light, and gradually build up your weights from week to week. Progressive overload is key! A good target to aim for is a 5% increase in weight from one week to the next.
DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is inevitable after such a long break, but focusing on the recovery process can help reduce the pain you feel after a tough training session. The key principles of recovery are nutrition, stress and sleep. If you focus on getting those 3 things right, you will have a much better capacity to recover from your training. Things like foam rolling, stretching or manual therapy can also be helpful tools to assist recovery.
Warm up and cool down before/after each session and make mobility work a priority. During isolation, majority of us have been moving less and sitting more, and as a result our mobility has suffered. We need adequate range of motion at our joints to be able to lift with good technique, so improving your mobility should be the first priority before trying to re-gain strength.
Listen to your body! If your legs are still sore from the training session you did 4 days ago, chances are they’re not ready for another heavy leg session. You may need to be flexible with your training schedule to begin with. Although you might have a strength day planned- if your body is still feeling sore from the previous session, it might be a good idea to opt for some low intensity cardio instead (like walking, bike riding or swimming).
If you’re not feeling confident getting back into the gym and need some help with technique or even just some motivation and accountability – getting help from a coach/personal trainer will help get you back on track!