Are you returning to the gym post-iso?

Gyms are open again, and everyone is ready to jump straight back into old routines! But this is a time when you are at a greater risk of injury. If you’ve been doing home workouts, or nothing at all, for the past few months, your body may not be ready. Read below for our top tips on returning to the gym safely.

What happens when you stop exercising?

During iso, many people have become more sedentary, and get less exercise each day. This can lead to what is known as “deconditioning” or “detraining”. Deconditioning is where there is a reduction in physical function, muscle mass, aerobic
capacity and strength. This means the body has a lower tolerance for exercise, and the load you may be used to using. But this can be reversed – what is lost can be regained, but it takes some time!

Whilst deconditioning can occur with just a week or two off exercise, reconditioning can take more than several weeks.

Things to be aware of before returning to the gym!

When you return to the gym, you may feel quite sore! You might feel like you work harder than before, you can’t complete as many exercises in a session or your muscles and joints feel tighter. These should improve over a few exercise sessions, but if they linger, you may need to seek help from a physio.

Also be aware of how other factors of our life can affect our body’s response to exercise. Nutrition, quality of sleep, fatigue, stress and many other factors can impact your return to exercise and risk of injury.

To make your return as safe as possible, follow these tips!

Don’t go too hard, too early! Your muscles and tendons will not be used to the high energy
tasks and exercise you will be completing, and they are more susceptible to injury. The
following tips are great starting points for getting back into exercise.

  1. Warm-up and cool down! Make sure to activate your muscles before each exercise by doing each movement without weights. Stretch, foam roll, and ice, if necessary, to help your muscles.
  2. Drop your weights by 20-30%. If you were lifting 10kg weights pre-iso, start off with 7-8kg, and then gradually increase by 10% each week depending on your fitness levels. (Note: 20kg pre-iso = 14-16kg now, 30kg pre-iso = 21-24kg now, etc.)
  3. Decrease your repetitions of each exercise. Just because you are lowering your weights, does not mean to increase your reps! Let the body get used to completing each exercise again and slowly increase your load. We want to focus on gradual loading.
  4. Get your form checked by a professional. If you are repeatedly doing an exercise with poor form, the risk of injury increases, especially with a heavy load added.
  5. See a physio if you need help. Make sure you get on top of any niggles before they become an injury that gets you out of the gym again. Physios can safely modify your exercise program to ensure you get the most out of your return to the gym.

So, make sure you take it slow, and follow all your gym’s rules and criteria for a safe return
to your gym and exercise routines.