If You Were Into Weights, Leave Your Ego At Home
Unless you managed to nab a set of dumbbells in lockdown, chances are bodyweight training has been your main form of strength training in recent months. While the experts agree this is better than nothing, it means you’ll need to scale things back if you were lifting big numbers pre-pandemic. “It may sound obvious, but if you’re easing yourself back into the weights room, start light and keep it slow,” Mike advises. “Keep your sets and reps moderate, and focus on technique and range of motion. Adding in pauses – such as at the bottom of a squat or Romanian deadlift – is also a good way to acclimatise yourself to loaded stretches. Monitor your soreness after each workout, with the intention of keeping it low for the first month or two. And most importantly, leave your ego at home. You’re not just regaining your old strength levels; you’re preparing your connective tissues to take that kind of load again. It’s a slow process, so be patient.”
Don’t Skip Stretch Day
Months of makeshift desks and working at kitchen tables has wreaked havoc with our posture. Spending time mobilising your body prior to every workout, as well as cooling down properly afterwards, will get you back on the road to peak flexibility. “If you have time, include one yoga session in your week – it will make the world of difference. The type of stretching done during yoga is pretty active, meaning you’ll build mobility in no time,” says Mike. David also recommends stretching first thing in the morning and last thing at night when easing yourself back into the gym. “Try the caveman stretch, which works for your hips, quads, calves and erector spinae, as well as high kicks, which work the hamstrings, arms, calves and glutes.”
Prepare For The DOMS
However thorough your warm-up and cool down, chances are your muscles will feel a little sore if you’re taking things back a few steps. With sudden changes in workout and training programmes comes delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), aka the tender feeling experienced in your muscles, which is ‘delayed’ as it takes time for many of the metabolic and physiological processes our bodies undergo to mend the tiny tears to manifest as muscle pain. Mild soreness after a workout is no bad thing, but never ignore pain. As a general rule, if you still experience DOMS on a day you want to work out, keep it low impact.
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DISCLAIMER: Features published by SLMan are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.