Returning to exercise – how to reintroduce strength training after time off

reintroduce weights after time offEven with the best intentions, there are times in life when you will experience gaps in your regular training. When away on holiday, during a period of illness or when going through other unavoidable life events, training can become side-lined. While this is naturally never desirable, when the inevitable does happen, you may be left with questions as to how to get back on top of your training. Here are some quick considerations for reintroducing strength training, and the correct weights, after you’ve had some time away from exercising.


1. Don’t start at the top

It’s always tempting to return to the maximum weights you had before your break. After all, it takes a lot of hard work to reach your peak, and it’s disheartening to lower your regular weights. However, going straight for those high weights can be dangerous and counter-productive. Be prepared to start lower – much lower – in your first session. You will be able to build back up to your peak strength, but do it in increments – increments staggered one session at a time, not one set at a time.


2. Remember that technique is key

Your technique, and moving correctly, is always the most important thing in training. The exact amount you lift is important only to measure progress –how accurately you move is what you should be focusing on. Returning to exercise, worry less about exactly what weight you are lifting and more about whether or not you still have the technique perfected. If you have doubts, refresh your knowledge – re-read articles such as on this site, and have someone watch your sets to let you know if you are making any mistakes.


3. Take your time

Your health and fitness is not a race. It is a long-term proposition that you have to build on over time. If you race to achieve the same weights that you were lifting before a break, you could set yourself back in the long run, as you over-exert or encourage movement imperfections. Take your time and trust that you will get back in top condition when you are ready to – and with that patient mind-set, you will surpass your previous milestones.

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