How to return to training after a break?
Exercise • • 1 minute to read • By Sheikh Nadir Siddiquee, INFS Faculty
How to return to training after a break?
Author- Sheikh Nadir Siddiquee
Did you ever take a break, either short or long from your regular training? And wondered if you lost those gains or lost the strength to lift your last personal record?
A lot of individuals take a break in training for one or many reasons as listed below:
- Break from training in general
While it is not easy to get back into the habit of training consistently again, the loss in strength, size, or endurance makes it further worse to start with. It has been found that detraining for more than 3 weeks could lead to a loss in strength(McMaster et al., 2013)
Research also showed that the decline in muscle mass is not very evident but fiber type composition alterations have been found(Staron et al., 1991) due to detraining.
Strength is a mixture of skill of the movement and the ability to produce maximal force. As it happens with any skill, losing strength is not abnormal and it would happen whenever detraining happens for a few weeks.
So, what can you do to get back to training and reach your previous levels of performance?
Here are a few tips you could follow:
- If you have an injury, it is best to get clearance first from the medical professional and then focus on getting the strength back for the injured part. You can use unilateral and machine-based training to work on the same
- If you are coming back after a detrained period injury-free, then the focus should be on the introduction of training and gradually focusing on making it progressive
- You may start with bodyweight training or machine-based training, to begin with. The idea is to get the body used to train and do for relatively higher reps (15-25 reps)
- With compound movements like squat, deadlift, etc, it is important to focus on the quality and technicality of the movement. Doing them at a controlled tempo or speed will help you build a better mind-muscle connection
- It is important to focus on recovery management as the detraining phase could drop your recovery capacity and trying to go hard with training in the initial days could lead to negative effects like injury or soreness.
- Aiming at 3-4 days of training per week is a good starting point
- Try to keep the frequency of training each muscle group 2-3 times to re-develop the skillset
- Aim at doing 6-10 sets of total sets per muscle group per week like we do in the case of beginners
- Track your workouts to be able to gradually make them progressive
- In case of endurance training, aimed at rebuilding the aerobic capacity by focusing on training at 50-60% intensity of Heart rate max for 20-30 minutes
Here is a small sample of training guidelines you could follow:
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6||Day 7|
|Full body split||20 to 30 minutes||Full body split||20 to 30 minutes||Full body split|
|2 sets of each muscle group||50-60% Intensity of HRmax||2 sets of each muscle group||50-60% Intensity of HRmax||2 sets of each muscle group|
|Repetition range 15-25 reps||Repetition range 8-12 reps||Repetition range 10-15 reps|
The above training plan is just a sample guideline, and you are free to plan yours. But focus on keeping in mind that you need to take it slow and take care of recovery. You will be back to your strength level soon if you stay consistent and approach it with a structured and trackable training program.
- McMaster, D. T. et al. (2013) ‘The Development, Retention and Decay Rates of Strength and Power in Elite Rugby Union, Rugby League and American Football’, Sports Medicine, 43(5), pp. 367–384. doi: 10.1007/s40279-013-0031-3.
- Staron, R. S. et al. (1991) ‘Strength and skeletal muscle adaptations in heavy-resistance-trained women after detraining and retraining’, Journal of Applied Physiology, 70(2), pp. 631–640. doi: 10.1152/jappl.19126.96.36.1991.
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