Returning to the gym
GYM’S ARE BACK!!!
How bloody good! I bet you can’t wait to get back into the gym and start throwing a bunch of weight around. We all are – but before the doors open we thought it might be a good idea to offer a couple of tips to make sure you don’t walk out of that first session with a limp or an injury.
- Do some mobility work – investing a small amount of time into some basic mobility work before your session will help your movement patterns feel easier and get rid of some ‘rust’. The ankle, hip, thoracic spine and shoulder regions are all really important areas to target with mobility work – if you don’t have the range of movement at a certain joint you can either overload that area or compensate in another area which can result in injury.
- Start with low session frequency – before the pandemic started, your training frequency may have been high (i.e every day). If you’ve been unable to train properly with weight since gyms shut, you should make sure your return to daily training is well thought out. Starting back with a day in between sessions is an easy way to make sure your body doesn’t hate you upon returning. Once you’ve settled back into a routine you can slowly increase your training days.
- Keep the volume low – If you are used to doing long gym sessions with lots of volume, returning with the same program probably isn’t ideal. Less exercises in total, using a lower set range, moderate reps and low weight (next point) is a good way to resume training. Although it’s a good workout, we don’t need to be doing 10×10 just yet.
- Keep the weight low – there’s no need to be trying to hit your PB in the next couple of months! Start at a very manageable weight and slowly increase this as you get more sessions under your belt.
I specifically haven’t given numbers or a set program as your training history and level of training during the lockdown will dictate how quickly you can resume your normal programming. Those with an extensive training history may be able to resume their normal training relatively quickly, whereas those who have only started training in the last year or so may want to take things a little bit slower. Similarly, those who have been training with access to barbells and weight will be able to resume normal training quicker than those who have been doing bodyweight workouts or focusing on cardio since the gyms shut their doors.
Everybody’s situation is different so there are no hard and fast rules. Use the information above to put together a return to training plan in order for you to reduce your risk of an injury on returning to the gym. It may be different to how you’ve trained in the past but we’re all going to be sore for the next couple of weeks regardless, so there’s no need to start back at full intensity.