We all go through periods of inconsistency in our training. We burn out, get injured, or just lose motivation altogether. Heck, sometimes our goals change, which is logically a great reason to move away from strength based training.
But how do we get back into it? How do we regain strength after time away from training?
The answer: slowly.
A lot of times, we get caught up trying to get back to our old levels of strength or power. But time off takes its toll on the body in the reverse way that training does. We lose our resilience and have to start back with building a base and being prepared to take heavier weights.
Here's three big things we need to consider when getting back into it:
Being Deconditioned: Unless you turned into a cardio bunny in your time off, your body needs time to build an aerobic base. This base allows you to utilize oxygen more efficiently to drive recovery between sets, and between sessions.
Having Lost TUT: Time Under Tension drives a tissue's ability to manage the different forces of training. We have to build up our body's tolerance to load and make sure the soft tissues involved in our primary movements prior to pushing the limits again. If we apply forces greater than our tissues tolerance, we're bound to get hurt.
Rusty Skills: If we jump back into training too quickly, we run into a skill threshold from having been away for sometime. And while the saying may go "like riding a bike", we must be honest that even riding a bike feels foreign for a brief moment after having been away for awhile. The same is true for training. The body remembers most of what it knows, but there's some rust that has to get knocked off, and that rust can cause problems if we go too heavy.
So when we look at getting back into strength training, we need to factor in these different things. We have to have some lighter weights that expose us to greater time under tension, so the muscles and tendons can develop a greater tolerance to forces, and simultaneously gain our skills back. If we're patient, we may even surpass our original strength markers in due time.
But we need to spend time recouping. Building the skills back up, and spending time doing the things that will aid us in the long run. If we don't our return to strength will be much shorter lived than we hope for.