Returning to training in the gym or back on the track running after a layoff or post lockdown is always an exciting thing to do.
Motivation levels are high and you just want to get back into old habits and routines straight away. However a cautious approach might be the right one to take as sometimes try to pick up right where you left off might be counterproductive and can lead to unwanted niggles and injuries that may set you out for even longer layoffs from training.
Acute vs Chronic Load
Acute and chronic load is basically a principle that outlines your training load in a given session or week (acute) versus your overall long term average load which you have accumulated over time (chronic). For example if you have been running 2-3 times a week and accumulate 12km for the week and you do that on a week to week basis consistently for a period of time your chronic load would be 12km a week and that’s what your body is used to. The same idea principle applies to training in the gym, if you have been performing 15 sets a week of a certain body part or lifting a certain amount of weight(100kg) consistently for a period of time then your chronic load is 15 sets and 100kg.
Where this can become an issue is if you come off an extended layoff from training or a lockdown as this effects your chronic load. For example if you have not trained in a month or been locked down and your just doing some light deadlifts with the only weight you have available which lets say is 20kg (chronic load), then once you go back to the gym deadlift 100kg the first session(acute load) that is a 400% increase in your chronic load!
What we know from current literature/research is that anything over a 10% increase in your chronic load may put you at a risk of injury particularly soft tissue (muscle strains, tendinopathies and overuse injuries).
It’s important to note that even though many of us have continued to train over lockdown with VIRTUAL Livestream Classes or OnDemand Video Classes the chronic load and stimulus we have been place on our bodies has been vastly different to what our bodies are normally used to.
Returning to Training smart and safely.
So what can we do to ensure a smooth transitioning back into training once we hit this all important 80% double vaccinated miles store and make sure you progress towards your goals without setting you back.
- Slowly build back up to the amount of volume you have done previously (sets and reps)
- Slowly build back intensity of your lifts (kg)
- Add more myofascial release (foam rolling) and mobility work to your warmups and cool downs
- Focus on technique and build great long term habits for when intensity increases
- Focus on building great recovery habits (sleep, food, etc)
- Consult a member of the RevoPT team. We can help design a structured program personalised to what you want and need to achieve your goals effectively.
We can’t wait to see you all back in the gym in a couple of weeks time. Another thing that could help you accelerate your preparedness would be to join us in our Outdoor Gym to make some of these incremental improvements now so that the step up in chronic load once the gym reopens would be more gradual.
Please reach out if you have any questions and we can’t wait to get back to our old routines with you all as soon as possible.