7 strategies for your return to fitness gym

7 strategies for your return to fitness gym

We at sports Physio we are dedicated to returning you to exercise in a safe manner. The way you exercise has drastically changed since the lockdown of COVID-19. Our physiotherapist Reece Noble, who is a specialist on Strength & Conditioning, lays out his seven tips to help you return successfully to the fitness center.

A lot of gyms across America are reopening and people are returning to their old routines of exercise. Some may be adjusting to the new normal including working and working at home. Whatever the case, the concepts presented in this article should assist you in making the right adjustments to your new fitness routine.

Hopefully, many have been able to remain active during the lockdown. For many, people, home-based training is replacing their regular fitness and gym classes. But, information from sources like Fitbit indicates that in general there was an average decrease of 12% in the amount of activity performed by their users throughout the period of lockdown.

Additionally, many have had difficulty to train at the same level they would at the gym due to an inaccessibility to equipment to train resistance and there is the potential for overuse injuries after returning to the fitness center.

The amount that muscle strength declines over many months (such as the lockdown time period currently in effect) isn’t understood fully particularly among recreationally fitness enthusiasts and gym goers.

One meta-analysis from 2013 by McMaster and coworkers [2] examined the impact of periods of detraining for elite rugby players and American Football athletes and found the following:

  • 19% decline in total strength during breaks between 10 and 16 weeks
  • 40% decrease in strength of the shoulder

The review also revealed that other training was continued, which could have diluted the training effects of detraining a little. Add this to the 300% higher injuries rate that was observed in the first phase of German Bundesliga in late May [3and the warning signs are in place for a consistent return to training, especially when it is intense.

In addition to examining the health of our muscles and health, our muscles and bones alter due to exposure to load that is both decreased and increased. Research has shown that these tissues need between 48-72 hours to heal from an intense loads, including plyometric ones (i.e. jumps) [4Therefore, due consideration should be paid to this when planning returning to a full training program.

What do you go from here when the planning of a return to the exercise facility?

The main point is to establish a solid base for yourself before you go back into your training. Don’t jump right into the same place you left off, it’s a risk of injury!

Here are seven basic rules to follow, in order for the best chance of a successful and safe return to your gym.

1. Make sure you have at least 48 hours between sessions.

More specifically, restrict yourself to 3 days per week for the first two weeks. This gives all your tissues the time to adjust to the increased stress you put on them.

2. Reduce your weights to 50 percent of what you were performing (pre locking down) and then increase it by an agreed upon percentage every week.

Your initial focus is on your form and not on high intensities or loading. If you’ve been active throughout the lockdown, an increase of 15% each week is likely to be possible which means you’ll be back at your normal weights in week four.

If you’ve been sitting during the lockdown, adhere at a 10% increment per week. This means that week 6 will be the first time you’ve been any where near your pre-lockdown weights.

3. You can determine the number of reps using intensity levels instead of numbers.

If 10/10 is a full intensity, that is, failure, then you should start with 6/10 intensity, and then increment by not more than 1/10 every week, using this as a reference.

– 10/10 = failure

9/10 = 1 more reps could be done.

8/10 = 2 additional repetitions that could be completed

7/10 = 4 additional reps

6/10 = 6 more reps

4. A targeted warm-up focusing on movement and activation.

The Instagram live video I made to promote Complete Pilates illustrates a typical warm-up routine I perform before an exercise session. It is focused on the mobility and activation of important muscles and joints.

This type of warm-up could be employed prior to any exercise however, it is crucial during times like this one, where activities have slowed down and we are often in a sedentary state (i.e sitting for a long time).

5. Be careful when restarting the plyometrics.

Any skipping, skipping, or hopping tasks should be done with caution. Most of the weights on the tendons and bones is performed through plyometric training and, as mentioned above, they could take up to 72 hours for be recovered from.

If you’ve been physically active but did not engage in exercises that require lockdown, restrict these activities to once a week. You should also limit your foot contact (i.e. the number of times your feet touch the floor) to 40 per foot. Then increase it to no greater than 10 percent per week. If you’ve been unactive during lockdown, you should you should wait to wait until the third week of your return to the gym and follow the steps above.

6. Eat well and sleep.

Sleep is the most efficient recuperation tool that has been discovered to date it’s cost-free and fun! In fact, getting your 7-9 hours of sleep is crucial throughout the day, but particularly when you exercise.

Additionally If your calorie consumption due to exercise increases it is essential to provide your body the necessary nutrients to help it recover from the greater intensity of exercise. Naturally, if you’ve been on lockdown, you might have gained several pounds, a healthy loss of calories is the most effective method of safely taking off those pounds.

7. Take note of any niggles, and check with your physiotherapist if pain persists. If you be experiencing pain after you return from the gym consult an expert immediately to resolve the issue and get back to your normal routine.

Hope these suggestions will help you to have an injury-free and secure return to the training.