Come June the 1st, there will be a rush back to the gym to burn off those isolation snacks. With the cold and wet weather setting in, plenty of people will be welcoming the opportunity to exercise indoors again. Regaining your previous levels of fitness (both strength and endurance) will take time and consistency. Here are Core Physio Adelaide’s top 5 tips for reducing your risk of injury as you head back to the gym.
1) Start Light
Begin with 50% of the load that you were using prior to gyms closing. This could mean using half of the weight for strength athletes, completing half the distance for runners and cyclists, or increasing rest breaks (with reduced work time) if HIIT is more your style.
2) Increase the training load each week by 10%
Load can be increased by adding weight, increasing sets or repetitions. For running, cycling or walking try increasing the distance, pace or adding steeper terrain (i.e. more hills). Don’t increase more than one variable (i.e. reps, weight or distance) per week.
3) Train the whole body each session
Instead of the traditional ‘shoulder day, chest day, leg day’ training split, take 1-2 exercises from each muscle group and combine them into one work out, 3-4 times a week. This will prevent excessive fatigue of smaller muscle groups and reduce your risk of injury. You can still complete the same amount of reps and sets per week as you did previously, just spread out over a longer time period (with reduced weight to start).
4) Have active recovery days
Instead of having complete rest days between sessions, help your body to recover quicker by staying active at a low intensity.
Active recovery can include activities such as walking, cycling, stretching and flexibility routines or foam rolling. Sleep is also important for recovery!
5) Aim to return to your previous program over 4-8 weeks
The time it takes to return to your previous routine will depend on your current fitness levels, consistency of training in the coming weeks and your body’s ability to recover. Taking the time to progress slowly and safely will leave you in a better position than going quickly and sustaining an injury (which usually results in time away from the gym).
Your Adelaide Physiotherapist can assist your structure and your training plan with the appropriate load progression (or regression). They can also assist in designing active recovery routines to complement your training.
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This blog was written by Genna Harkness Physio from the Burnside Physio practice.