Returning to the Gym After Lockdown

From this week gyms in the UK re-open, and we know that lots of you will be raring to get back at it. After a tough year, it's important to be patient with yourself when returning to the gym; here are some words of wisdom from our Osteopath and Movement Coach Andrew Hudson.


If you’re like me, you’ll be itching to get back into the gym, or eventually your classes (from May 17th). A combination of surgery and repeated lockdowns has forced me to stop training for the better part of 15 months. So, I am writing this from my own point of view – hopefully it helps anyone reading.


We need to rethink how we’re going to approach our initial few weeks back. When getting back to training after any period of time off we should be focussing on stimulating the body and building training momentum. There’s no point going for it in your first week and then needing to rest for the next two to four!

Some of you reading this may have has access to equipment during lockdown, while others may have focused on completely new ways of training. Whichever category you fall into, you'll likely have experienced de-training in some form and de-conditioning to heavier loads and intensities. As such, we need to be mindful of the way we approach our training now the gyms are open.


First up; let’s change our expectations. It’s important to avoid disappointment and build upon your positive habits and momentum. We don’t want to set our goals too high and become too sore, or even injured, and then not achieve them. Leave the gym feeling like you could have done more. This way, we can leave the gym feeling positive and excited for the next workout. To get back into training, we need to be able to actually train.


Secondly; let’s reduce volume and intensity but maintain frequency. If you took time off over lockdown or changed your training style, we would consider that a period of detraining. We when have detrained, we aren’t used to lots of volume or high intensities. As such, our bodies will fatigue far more quickly, which leaves us needing longer periods of recovery. This can lead to injury. If we are injured or too sore to train, we can’t train.


On the topic of frequency – choose a schedule that suits you. I like to go to the gym 3-5 times a week.


Reduce your intensity and volume by underachieving what you normally would.

For the first two weeks choose an intensity that is 5-6/10 in difficulty.

For the third week move that to 7/10 difficulty.

For the fourth go to 8/10 difficulty.

When it comes to volume, reduce your sets by 1-2. By this point you should be ready to train as normal.


In summary; let’s aim to get back into the habit of training. Train little but often. Reduce intensity by 50% initially. Give it 4 weeks and slowly build back to where you were.


Good luck with returning to the gym, and remember we're on hand to help you deal with any injuries, stiffness, movement queries or fitness goals you've got. You can book an appointment with one of our Osteopaths, Physiotherapists or Movement Coaches on our Booking page.

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