Who is getting all excited to head back into the gyms when they open!? We certainly are! Some of you might have already got a session in, there waiting for the doors to open to get that first lift or cardio session done. Or some of you might be taking your time to get back. Wherever your head is at with returning to the gym, you might want to consider some factors after being away for an extended period of time...
Going too hard, too heavy or too fast can significantly increase your risk of injury, so make sure you take your time to ensure you win at the long game!
· Strength can reduce in 3-6 weeks so remember to reduce weight and intensity of your sessions to begin with.
· Gradually build up your weight or session intensity over 4-6 weeks as you would when you train normally; don’t rush it!
· Focus on technique. Focus on technique. Focus on technique. Oh, AND FOCUS ON TECHNIQUE! As physio’s, we feel this is most important thing. The only time to add more weight is when you can perform correct technique, unweighted!
· Don’t just go straight into it – remember pre-activation exercises are essential to help your brain and muscles switch on and be as efficient as they can be.
· Slowing down the repetition or adding in a hold can really increase intensity without the need to add weight.
· Mix it up - have a variety of different exercises that target different muscle groups, in different ways.
· Be honest about how a session felt – listen to your body. Something a bit more uncomfortable than the normal “gym soreness”? Why not add in an extra recovery day.
· Speaking about recovery – make sure you factor in adequate recovery time. Remember a rest day doesn’t mean do nothing, but a nice walk, a gentle Pilates or yoga session to focus on mobility.
Importantly, if you do need help, ask the professionals! Everyone is unique, so your gym bunny mate may know what works for them but a professional will tailor their advice to your specific needs or sometimes it’s just regaining your confidence again.
“No pain, no gain” is not the mantra we should live by. So if you suffer from any niggles, twinges or aches make sure you speak to your physiotherapist who can help you with a diagnosis and provide a bespoke management/treatment plan to get you back doing the things you love!
And lastly, enjoy it. Its back, and hopefully not going away again!