Whilst the re-opening of gyms could still be a little way off, there has been some chatter and it’s worth thinking about how you’re going to tackle returning to training.

It’s a very real possibility that when gyms reopen we’ll see people flying in at 100% effort only to swiftly divert to A&E with various injuries. I know what a younger me would have done; I’d have spent the whole of lockdown worrying about how much strength I was losing, then the first thing I’d want to do on re-opening day would be to test where I was. Here’s why that would be a terrible idea…

During lockdown, unless you’ve secured some equipment and consistently trained smart, you’ve likely experienced a de-training effect. This means less muscle mass, less robust connective tissue/joints & impaired movement patterns. If you jump in where you left off in terms of load and volume, then, something might give.

Function of your immune system could also take a hit if you go too hard. As well as chronic overtraining (training too hard over a long period of time) being an established concept with it’s own negative physiological responses, acute (short term) bouts of overly-intense exercise have been seen to be accompanied by increased incidence of infection.

“An acute bout of physical activity is accompanied by physiological responses that are remarkably similar in many respects to those induced by infection, sepsis or trauma”

– Michael Gleeson 2005

Perhaps a particularly bad idea in the current environment, then. Basically, if you hit the gym at 100 miles an hour after doing very little intense exercise for 3 months, it could get ugly.

It’s far wiser to go in with a plan – set yourself achievable (even EASY) sessions to begin with and get on a slow progression back to normality. Stick to around 50-70% of perceived effort in week 1, then you can increase exertion week-by-week.

Past strength levels will return quickly, I promise, but a lot slower if you rupture a patella tendon!

Hope this keeps you on the straight and narrow path to strength and fitness!

As ever, shoot me any and all questions.