A Smart Return To The Gym

 Written By: Coach Walt
I know that we’re all excited to get back into the gym and are ready to be back smashing WOD’s and crushing PB’s, especially with the doors soon to reopen. However, although we can’t wait to get to that point, it’s a good idea to approach the training in the gym again with a little caution.
Although many of us have kept active during lockdown we must understand the training we have done over the last 4-months is vastly different from the training we do inside the gym. We have broken down 3 of the components that make up our training to give us the information to have the smartest and safest return to the gym and regular training.
Strength/ Weightlifting
Strength is going to be the biggest component that we will have lost over lockdown. Unfortunately, strength is gained by resisting large forces which come from heavier loads, which for most of us we’ve not had access to. Therefore, the fact is that your top-end strength will have gone down.
Weights that used to feel comfortable for you will suddenly be particularly challenging and weights that were challenging will likely only set you up for injury. Your tissues will have become unaccustomed to heavy loadings and need time to get used to it again.
When choosing loading during workouts or working towards heavy sets, bare this in mind and take it easy. It’s better off taking small steps in the beginning and set yourself up for success than getting too excited and going too heavy too soon and not being ready for it.
Metabolic Conditioning
If you’ve been following the At Home Warrior Workouts, likely, our metabolic conditioning won’t have been affected too much. In many cases, likely, our aerobic conditioning has improved over the last 4 months since this is what most workouts have involved.
However, what we must be cautious of and prepare for is the now sudden increase in variance in our exercises. Suddenly we’ll have access to more loading and more skills that we haven’t done for nearly 20 weeks. These will all have bigger effects on our bodies because we are now used to only having one option for a plate and one option for a kettlebell or dumbbell.
We would recommend you perform all of your workouts for at least the first few weeks at around 70-75% of your capacity to ‘find your feet’. Always leave with the feeling that you’ve got more in the tank will always help keep you safe and in control.
Gymnastic work, especially on the rig is something that we haven’t gone near in the last 4 months and is much harder to replicate. At least with ‘heavy days’ and tempos, we can stimulate a strength response, but not much compares to hanging off a bar.
The first thing we need to be cautious of is the skill element. All of gymnastics requires a certain level of skill. These are skills that you will not have done for 4 months so are likely going to be very rusty and take many attempts to dial those back in.
Secondly, your muscles are going to be very sore if again, you do too much volume too soon. Volume is always something you need to be careful of during gymnastic exercises, but especially after a 4-month break. Like with the metabolic conditioning and strength, underestimate yourself massively to be safe and be able to move your arms afterwards.
Finally, we should talk about your hands.
Now, after 4-months of not hanging on a bar in addition to the 27 times per day hand washing routine, your hands are probably super soft particularly compared to the callus mittens you had before lockdown.
These soft hands of yours will take time to harden up again.
Be very careful when jumping back up and swinging around on the bars in the gym as you are more likely than ever to rip your hands and cause a bloody mess!
Tearing your hands will only cause subsequent training days to be inferior to what they could be had you been more careful and protected those hands.
No tears, no tears!