Returning to the Gym After Rehab

Returning to the Gym After Rehab
As an athlete or gym-lover, an injury can throw your goals and training schedule off track. If you had to take four to six weeks off from the gym or were lucky enough to still be able to train with modification, it’s important to take into consideration the direction of a physical therapist before fully getting back in the gym. After a rehab program, you might think that you’re ready to go back at full force and pick up right where you left off, but the unfortunate truth is that you still have a lot of work to do to get yourself back to that point. This can be extremely frustrating and discouraging for those who have worked so hard to get to where they were. In situations like these, trusting the rehabilitation process is more important than anything else! It can be a slow process but we’ll get you there.

Trust the process

The biggest mistake that people make after getting back to the gym is doing too much too fast. The harsh reality is that you won’t be able to start at the same weight and intensity that you left off on. Your strength needs to be built back and it’s important to be patient. We know it’s hard to take a step back in the gym because it feels like you’re not maximizing your potential. A step back doesn’t mean that you have to completely give up on squats or powerlifting. It’s all about modifying and managing your workout (something a physical therapist can really help you with!).

A physical therapist understands what your goals are and where you want them to take you. Looking past the number on the weights will help get you there. When you’re recovering, it’s all about effort. If your physical therapist sees that you’re giving your 100%, even if it’s not at the weight/intensity you’re used to, that’s a win. That means that you’re putting in the necessary energy to get you there. This way, little by little you’ll be back to reaching your goals in full force!

Getting back to the gym post-quarantine

Very similar to getting back into the gym post-injury, getting back post-quarantine requires the same amount of patience and effort. When coronavirus hit the US and gyms began to close, many of us had to deal with the same frustrations of not being able to train in full force like we would at the gym. This could mean months without working out or months trying to train with what little equipment you have at home. In both of these situations, you’ll have to work your way back up to the strength you once had, As a rule of thumb, for the entire amount of time that you were away from the gym, it should take you about 50 percent of that time to fully get back to where you were. For example, if you were out of the gym for 12 weeks, it will likely take you about six weeks to build up your strength.

Often with home workouts, lack of equipment can mean that you’re not getting the variety of exercise that you once did at the gym. Repetitive workouts can lead to overtraining which can cause injury. Our best advice for maintaining your fitness level throughout quarantine is just getting in a lift or workout at least once a week. What you need to maintain is probably a lot less than you think. Three to five times a week of intense training isn’t necessary to maintain. If you get in a good lift just once a week, you’ll be in good shape!

Getting back to the gym post-injury or quarantine can be both frustrating and even a little scary, but Precision Performance Physical Therapy is here to help you through it! Listen to part one in the six-part series: Return from Rehab on the Training Room Talk podcast. Listen now >>

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