How to Return to the Gym after a Break

If you decide to quickly restore your shape after a long break, there is a risk of injury that will make you forget about training. Learn how to gradually restore good shape and where to start from in a gym if you have not been there for a long time.


So you have not attended a gym for a long time, and then you finally come back and want to restore your former shape as soon as possible. It is tempting to start with the place where you stopped last time and renew your usual load.

However, you should resist the temptation: after a long break, intensive workouts may lead to traumas or such fatigue and muscle pain that you will not want to go back to the gym.

Return to your original shape slowly. Gradual recovery provides the body with the necessary time to adapt to workouts. This time is needed to strengthen the connective tissue and restore the working capacity of the organism.

Here you will find more detailed recommendations for those who want to restore their shape and avoid injuries.

Have moderate expectations

First, adjust your expectations. You cannot workout as efficiently as prior to the forced pause. The less you expect, the less frustrated you will be when you will not raise the usual weight or will suffocate on the treadmill. The less disappointment you have, the more likely you are to come to the gym again.

Determine the recovery period

The recovery period depends on how much you have missed. If you have not been to the gym for about 5-7 days, the loss of muscle mass is barely noticeable. But if you have not gone there for about two weeks, the recovery period is much longer.

Generally, you can set a rule for yourself in case of a long absence: the recovery period should be two times longer than the break in exercise. That is, if the pause lasts for two weeks, you will gradually restore the usual intensity of your workouts in a month.

Exercise as if you were a beginner

For this not to upset you too much, remember that your progress will be much more visible and your advance much faster than for real beginners.

Reduce the intensity

Lift 50-60% of what you could lift before the break. Increase your training intensity gradually not to feel severe pain in the muscles.

Do not run the whole program

Select a few exercises (ideally, a complex with squatting, pull-ups and bench press) and perform just one set during the first week.

After an injury

Before you start training after an injury, give the body enough time to recover. How should you know you are ready to go back? Wait until you are sure that the injury is healed. And then wait for another week. People are often suggested having one set to perform each exercise in order to gently and safely restore the damaged muscle.

For example, if you have a sore shoulder, choose a single set of bench press. Next time, you will try one approach of pull-ups and will watch the sensations: whether to continue or wait longer.

With such a system, you will know what exercises and how many approaches can aggravate the injury and will be able to plan your training accordingly not to hurt yourself.

Follow these guidelines and remember: returning to a gym after a long break is a marathon rather than a sprint.

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