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A personal trainer’s top tips for returning to training

While our team of trainers are enjoying seeing people returning to the studios, it’s important that above everything, your return to personal training after lockdown is safe and injury-free. That means, ditching the PBs for week 1, and working on warming up those muscles that are likely to have spent more time on the couch than ever before.

Since lockdown, even we (personal trainers!!) have seen our regimes completely change. Sure, some of us enjoyed Zoom workouts, but the novelty soon wore off; there’s nothing quite like a personal training session in terms of intensity and satisfaction. Training in your garden in either Rochdale or Bolton when the temperatures dipped wasn’t the easiest thing to commit to either.

But don’t feel guilty about reducing your level of activity. Even our team of personal trainers noticed a drop in activity; either fewer steps, calories burned or simply a reduced number of workouts.

12% reduction in physical activity

Source: Fitbit 2020

While it’s not the end of the world for our fitness goals, it has a big impact on what we deem as our ‘norm’. Medical reports suggest that when we go through periods of ‘detraining’ we can lose almost 19% of our strength. So don’t be too tough on yourself. (Maybe just book a few extra sessions in with our personal trainers in Rochdale or Bolton 😉)

It’s not just that your muscles lose a little strength, but they’re also more prone to injury. Take a look at the number of football players that were injured upon returning to their normal playing schedule. In the Bundesliga injuries were up by almost 300% – and they’re pro athletes!

So here are our top 5 tips around ensuring you hit the intensity your body is comfortable with while reducing your risk of injury:

1. Don’t take a rest day. TAKE TWO.

While it’s easy to go hell for leather and try to make up for lost time. It’ll likely result in injury. Try to train no more than 3 times per week in the first couple of weeks. (Personal trainers advising you not to train, gotta be a first, surely?) If you feel good after week 1, slightly increase the frequency in week 2 and so on…

2. Form over weight, now more than ever.

We’re all human with the same innate flaws. We feel good, think we’re moving well and we increase the intensity and end up overloading our body. Whether it’s an extra pair of 5s on the bar, an additional kilometre or two, or an extra ten lengths. We’ll end up stiff, sore, or pulling something. PBs can wait a week or two.

3. Set new benchmarks in your training.

If you train in a heart-rate monitor, monitor it. If not, think about how hard your workout is, are you struggling more than before?

If lifting 10s feels like you’re lifting 12s, or 14s (or 20s!) go easy and take the weight down a bit. Your ego will want to see progress rather than regress, but you’ve likely not been able to train at the same level for a while, so it’s inevitable. It’s better to complete 10 reps of a good movement than 8 ugly reps with bad form because the weight is too heavy.

Judge your workouts based on intensity and heart rate/exertion, not on your pre-COVID numbers/times.

4. Stretch. Stretch. Stretch.

As personal trainers, we wouldn’t let you walk out the door without stretching, or lift a weight without showing us you’re mobile. Get a set stretching routine and follow it, don’t skip it, even if you’re pressed for time.

When activity reduces, your muscles get tight (shorter), and more prone to pulling, tearing or snags. Use the time you’re saving on your commute to introduce a bit of stretching into your day.

5. Let your joints ease into the return to personal training…

It’s likely that you’ve not been box jumping, skipping, or lifting quite like you did before COVID. Be wary that – your knees especially – have forgotten what load you used to put them under.

Take it easy and give them a chance to rest. Treat them to more stretching, foam rolling and massaging. Treat them to a hot bath and they’ll reward you with a quicker recovery. Why unnecessarily fault when you’re returning to personal training?

Lifting weights injury training

Returning to training can lead to injury.

In summary

While those are our personal trainers top 5 tips, they’re all of the same ilk.

Go easy, and listen to your body.

What’s the point in being unable to train when Boris says you can train? We’ve had enough time out of the gym, don’t let injury set your training back.

If you want any advice about returning to personal training during lockdown, send a message and our team of personal trainers can offer some solid advice. Or if you can’t wait to get started (safely), drop us a message and we’ll get you booked in.


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