7 Pillars for getting back into weight-training
GYMS ARE OPEN AGAIN!
*Picture this in slow motion*
You walk up the stairs, the automatic doors glide open, temperature is checked as you continue in, floating gracefully up the stairs while being greeted by the smiling team member – Waving at you for the first time in 83 days.
You continue in, (sanitize your hands of course) and head over to the squat rack that has a bright, halo light shining from it – (it could be the high grade disinfectant we’re using)
You rack a barbell with your usual starting weight – white doves begin to fly around you and sweet symphony music plays over the sound system as you mount the barbell on your back, ready for your first loaded squat in nearly three months.
You take the barbell off the rack and begin to come down into a squat, only to realize…
Something doesn’t feel right. Your hips aren’t coming down as freely as they used to, your wrists are struggling to comfortably allow your hands to grip the bar and the weight feels like it’s weighing on your back more intensely than it used to.
Double check you haven’t accidentally loaded more weight on one side of the bar than the other – and then it clicks –
‘It’s not you, it’s me’.
In other words, you realize you’ve taken a few steps back with the gym being closed for almost three months and limited access to strength training equipment.
It’s completely okay to not be where you are. In fact, resetting your goals is a great way to understand more about your body and the art of exercise.
We’ve come up with 7 pillars for you to consider as you venture down the path of (for some) – starting again. These pillars apply to anyone and should be considered as a foundational understanding of Weight and Strength Training.
Consider mobility before load
With a considerable amount of time not moving in plains you would during your strength exercises, chances are your range of motion in the exercise plains has reduced.
Working on the exercise range of motion before loading the movement with weight will see you work in a more efficient way when it comes time to increasing the weight again.
- Speak to a Gym Floor Coach about Mobility exercises
- Identify where you need work! Hips and shoulders are usually key areas to pay attention to
Rep and set range based on your goal
Different goals have different thresholds when it comes to how many reps and sets you should be doing to get closer to the desired outcome.
Here’s a good place to start
12-20 Repetitions I 30 Second Rest
3 Sets +
Muscle Size (Hypertrophy):
6-12 Repetitions I 60-90 Second Rest
Strength and Power:
1-5 Repetitions I 90-120 Second Rest
You should aim to feel muscular fatigue towards the end of each set. Therefore, you should increase the load/weight accordingly.
Volume & Intensity
Volume is the term used to describe how much work you do, such as the number of repetitions (reps) you perform of an exercise. Intensity describes the difficulty of an exercise, typically based on the amount of weight you lift.
This is relative to the last point on repetitions and sets – Another perspective is the volume you work over a period of time. I.e. over 6 weeks.
If you lift at the same weight, each workout, for a duration of time – Chances are you wont see much progress in the way of ‘how much more’weight you’re able to move.
Consider recording your workouts and increasing by a certain percentage each week.
Week 1 Squat: 5 Sets 6 Reps: Record weight
Week 2 Squat: 5 Sets 6 Reps: Increase weight by 5%
Week 3 Squat: 5 Sets 6 Reps: Increase weight by 5%
Rest is as important as Work
The time you allow your body to rest between workouts and between sets is essentially the ‘time’ you are allowing for the muscle to repair, before working it again.
If a muscle is still in the ‘repairing’ phase, it will not perform as well as working your muscle after sufficient rest time.
Everyone’s recovery process is different. We recommend focusing on these two areas:
- Quality of sleep to allow for a deep repairing phase to occur.
- Supplements i.e. Zinc, Magnesium, Electrolytes
- Diet – Enough protein to support the recovery process
This does not mean you should only work a muscle once it’s completely ‘repaired’ – But, it is a key point to take into consideration – especially if you are working with heavy weights.
Fuel Your Body - Food & Hydration
Fueling your body for the workout ahead can be the key difference between enough energy to execute the full workout with a vengeance OR that feeling of ‘I’m not feeling it today’.
Your muscles will use stored carbohydrates as it’s preferred energy source. It takes around 2 hours before your body turns carbohydrates into energy, so consider this when planning your meals and workout times.
Hydration is also a key contributor to how you feel during a workout. Drinking plenty of water (2L +) in the 24hrs leading up to your workout should have you sufficiently hydrated.
If you are appropriately hydrated – You may find you don’t even need to drink water during your workout.
Participate in classes to fast track results
Group Fitness classes are designed to get you working in the most efficient way led by our experienced coaches.
Here’s a breakdown of how some of our classes running on the Group Fitness timetable will assist you with Strength training.
Body Pump: Muscular Endurance
Pilates: Core stabilization
Yoga: Mobility & Flexibility
X-Treme or FX: Targets multiple energy systems
Get a Personal Trainer / Coach to fast track results
Our Personal Trainers have dedicated their careers to understanding the link between exercise and results in the best possible way.
Our trainers understand that every individual is different and therefore, create programs based on the individuals needs and goals.
We are committed to helping those who want to take that extra step to fast track their results.