In this week’s column, I will answer client questions based on where we are with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Question: Now with the opening of the gyms, I am excited to be back in my old routine, but, I am worried about overloading it as I have done very little formal exercise over the last 18 months. What can I do to ensure a successful, injury-free return?
A: What a wonderful question. While I loved my workouts at home, I’m excited like everyone else to be back at the gym this weekend. In my case, I have been working continuously, three to four times a week, since the pandemic started, so my return to the gym should be smooth and simply a matter of designing a new treadmill based on different equipment in available. If you have not done any exercise in the last 18 months beyond walking, lying down or doing some calisthenics here and there, your return may require a little more planning.
I would suggest taking two to four weeks to focus on basic conditioning and getting used to moving back in ways you have not done in recent times. In other words, use as many different devices as you can, as opposed to using the same bike, treadmill or elliptical machine every time you go. You’ve probably spent most of your time sitting, leaning over for a year and a half, so it may take a few visits to start feeling comfortable again.
During this initial period of conditioning, use free standing weights compared to lowering on different machines for the same reason as stated above. If you have been sitting too much, stand up and start moving again. It is a good idea to initially focus on full body workouts, consisting of compound movements involving many joints as opposed to single joint exercises and specific body part routines like you would in a bodybuilding workout. of the body.
Here are some examples:
A squat squat is a composite movement (involving the ankle, knees, hips, shoulders, and elbows) while a biceps curl is a single joint exercise using only the elbows.
– Structure your “back to fitness” workouts into three parts; dynamic warm-up, strength training and cardiovascular exercises. Focus on the right frequency, stamina and shape for the first month before increasing intensity and / or weight gain.
Question: While I am excited that many businesses and services will reopen, I do not think I will return to the gym. I’m going to keep working at home and abroad. What can I do to keep myself challenged over time with minimal equipment?
A: I know many people who will continue to exercise at home, despite opening gyms again, for a variety of reasons. This does not mean that exercise at home should be less effective than those in the gym. With the right planning and equipment, you can maintain, or gain, a very high level of fitness without ever leaving home.
In my opinion, the most important thing you can do to get into great shape is to make a long-term plan that can be broken down into smaller segments or stages. As mentioned above, I would start with a conditioning phase and then move on to more intense strength training to be followed by high-intensity, endurance training.
The easiest way to go through this sequence above is to plan to stay with each workout style for four weeks, creating a 12-week training cycle. If you follow 12 weeks with a recovery week, you can go through the cycle four times a year. The point is to give your body new stimuli, that it needs to adjust every four weeks to avoid hitting the horrible “plateaus” that are common with exercise programs that never change.
The good news is that you can create a modest home fitness set and still complete 12-week cycles successfully. I would suggest buying a good quality resistance band bag with a door attachment, a stability ball, dumbbells (if they are within your budget) and a medical ball. In terms of weight, choose dumbbells that will push your muscles to the point of “near failure” within 10 to 20 repetitions at most for each strength exercise.
Here’s a simple way to look at the training styles mentioned in this article:
Conditionality: Exercising body weight using the stability ball and the medicine ball emphasizing muscle stamina and core stability.
Muscle building: Basic strength movements using dumbbells and / or resistance bands that bring muscles close to failure in less than 20 repetitions.
High-intensity endurance: Circuit training exercises using a variety of equipment and body weight movements, alternating between strength and cardio exercises.