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Working Out Again After a Setback.

stew smith

Sometimes we hit a wall, fall off the wagon, or have a long bout with an illness that prevents us from training regularly.  If you have ever been in a situation that prevented you from training for several week or months (or even years), you will know how difficult it is to get started again. The following are some favorite GO-TO workouts that will help you shake the rust off and get the kinks out of the joints and muscles and not hurt or make yourself really sore in the process:

The #1 GO-TO Workout – Mobility Day

If you have spent a significant time not doing anything (for any reason), here is a classic way that is helpful with building time to train habits and movement / activity that will build a foundation of regular activity.  The Mobility Day looks like this:

Repeat 3-5 times
Bike, elliptical, row, swim or walk 5 minutes
Stretch, foam roll, massage tool for 5 minutes

That is it! This is one of those non-impact cardio days that will help you break up any soreness due to inactivity and not create any soreness due to impact, lifting too much, doing too much, running too much – all too soon.

The Gold Standard in Calisthenics Assessment

Go back to the basics after a long time away from training. Do the Classic PT Pyramid.  Do not try to do a full 1 to 10 and to 1 PT pyramid, but instead just do what you can without pushing too hard and failing at any exercise.  You may find that 1-6or7-1 is sufficient or just going from 1 to 10 is enough and skipping the repeat in reverse order section.  See below a full body PT workout with exercises that have an easier option if needed as you get started again.  Take note of how you do as you should do this one once a week and note progress.  Within a few weeks, you maybe back up to your old numbers.

PT Pyramid

Pullups x 1 OR (Pulldowns or Rows - if needed)
Pushups  x 2 (or knee pushups)
Abs of choice x 3 (crunches, plank pose per second = reps)
Dips x 2 (or military press)
Squats x 3 (half squats, or sit down – stand up)

*go as high up the pyramid as you can – then repeat in reverse order.  This is a great old school assessment tool too.

Top it off with the Light Weight Shoulder Workout

Any non-impact cardio cooldown is recommended for 10-15 minutes

Go Back to What Got You Started with Fitness

This one is up to you.  Think about some of your first workouts ever.  Maybe they were early teenaged days with the goal of getting bigger and stronger, maybe faster at something like running or swimming. Sometimes going old school can be refreshing.  For instance, after surgery, I had to work around an injury and healing process, so I started doing an old bodybuilding workout I used to do when I first cut my teeth in the weight room. Each day had a body part to it followed with some light cardio on the back side. For instance:

Monday – Chest and Triceps (Bench, Military press, Dips, Pushups, Tricep extension, etc)
Tuesday – Back and Biceps (Pullups, Pulldowns, Rows, Bicep curls, etc)
Wednesday – Leg Day (Squats, lunges, Dead lifts, weighted walks up/down stairs, etc)
Thursday – Same as Monday
Friday – Same as Tuesday
Sat – Same as Wednesday

Each workout is done with moderate weight and repetitions.  2-3 sets of 8-10 reps of all the exercises followed by non-impact cardio activity for 10-15 minutes each day. This will help you build the habit without overdoing it too soon. Of course, this workout is up to you.  If you were a runner or swimming, go for a run and swim. But do not do longer distances than you can handle at this time.  The key is a weekly progression with these workouts, not jump back into training where you left off.  That will always mean pain, setup, and injury if too much (weight, volume, distance) or too fast (speed, rep tempo) is attempted too soon.

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