Here in the UK, gyms are going to be reopening next weekend after around 4 months closed due to the coronavirus. If you’re planning to venture back into the gym, there’s going to be certain things you need to be cautious of especially after a few months of altered training. Chances are unless you managed to set up a home gym that you haven’t been using traditional dumbbells or weights at home, you’ve perhaps been sticking to HIIT classes online or maybe you’ve been in our Back In Shape membership area. Whatever level you’re at, we’re going to go through what you need to be aware of to stop you injuring yourself.
Have A Plan
If you’re going to the gym for the first time or you haven’t been working out during lockdown, you’re going to need a plan of what you’re going to train so that you’re starting out gently and building the intensity slowly. It’s important to avoid doing too much too soon. It can be really fun to workout with weights, but if you’re progressing too quickly or you’re starting out with too high of a weight then you may risk injuring yourself. Likewise, if you’ve been used to doing HIIT workouts or not working out everyday, jumping into going to the gym 5 times a week and changing up what you’re doing could risk injury. If you’re currently in Phase 2 of our Back In Shape membership area, you’ll know exactly what you can do as part of your routine but make sure to not neglect stretching. If you haven’t been working out at all during lockdown, don’t expect to have the same strength you had back in March. We would suggest picking up at about 60% of the weight you left on back in March.
Our T.R.E.A.T method will help you to properly assess how your workout has gone and whether you need to adjust the effort you’re putting into your workouts. Initially test sensibly a workout that’s neither too intense nor too easy. Rest the following day, and evaluate how you’re feeling. This evaluation will need to be done on an ongoing basis as you may not always see problems resulting from workouts pop up straightaway, sometimes it can take time of repeated actions to see an effect. You’ll need to be looking out for delayed onset muscle soreness, or lack of to see how to proceed. If you have a lot of muscle discomfort, you may want to reduce your effort level on the next test. Likewise, if you haven’t seen any muscle discomfort at all, you may have gone too easy and should increase slightly. Adjust your workout accordingly, then follow up with another test to see how your new strategy has worked out.
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A full protocol to support you get out of back pain in the short term and then rehab safely and effectively to deal with the issue for the long term.
Importance Of Stretching
If you’re part of our Back In Shape membership area, stretching is one of the vital pieces of the puzzle. An informed stretching protocol allows your lower body to function more effectively, take the pressure off your spine and also be more able to perform the strengthening exercises with good form. Maintaining this stretching when going back to the gym is so important, as it’s usually one of the first habits that tends to fall by the wayside when something new and shiny comes along. Our stretching routine takes no longer than 15 minutes, including the towel stretch as well. If you neglect it over a couple of days, you’ll likely feel no different. This is what often catches people out when they start to neglect the stretching, however after a couple of weeks of no stretches, you may notice that you’re stiffening up again or that your back pain may worsen. If you work out a few days a week at the gym, make sure you’re not just doing the stretching after your workout, but also on your rest days too as this will help your muscles to remain supple and flexible.
Why You May Wish To Avoid Classes
Many people join a gym for the classes on offer, as it gives you a nice variety in your training and allow you to try new things or enjoy the classes that are fun for you. However, if you have back pain or you’re rehabilitating a back problem, you may wish to leave the classes for the meantime. In the earlier stages of recovery, relapses can occur if you’re not careful with your movements. This may often seem frustrating as we often start to feel better and think we can go back to doing things that we could easily do before. Classes are very generalised, so you may not receive the one-on-one attention that would enable you to do every part of every move in the class with good form or neutral posture. For that reason, steer clear of classes in the beginning phases. If you’re into Phase 3 and feeling a lot stronger, there’s no reason why you can’t start to incorporate classes again into your routine as long as it’s not interfering with your rehabilitation and stretching program. Don’t neglect these parts of your routine, otherwise you may find the pain starts to come back. It can be difficult to judge what is good or bad for your back pain, because we often see a delayed response. Sometimes a new class can feel good to begin with but may not actually start to cause you pain until you’ve tried it a few times, which by that point you’re probably not looking at the class as a possible cause because you’d been able to do it previously without pain.
We hope you found today’s article helpful on getting back into the gym after lockdown. If you have any questions about today’s topic, please do feel free to get in touch as we’d love to hear from you. You can reach out to us through our social channels, by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by tuning in to our livestreams every weekday on our Facebook and YouTube channel. Remember, if you’re struggling with back pain and you’re not yet signed up to our Back In Shape membership area, you can set up your free account by visiting www.backinshapeapp.com.
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