The “Post COVID-19 Gym” is going to look a lot LIKE same place you used to work out at. However, the main difference would be, and it hurts for me to say this, the lack of strength in all of us. For the majority of us, it hasn’t been easy to train during a deadly pandemic and for the unfortunate among us, we’ve had to shoulder a weight far heavier than any barbell, the weight of losing a family or a friend.
However, with the recent announcement of Pfizer Vaccine in the UK, things are starting to look optimistic for the near future. On December 2nd 2020, all gyms, irrespective of tier or class, were officially opened signalling that the normal days are not far behind.
But going to the gym after months of emotional turmoil and a largely sedentary lifestyle might prove to be a bit difficult. The majority of us won’t be pulling any PR’s for at least a while, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t instantly get back on the road to recovery.
For all those planning to return to the Iron Church soon, here’s some advice on how you should do it.
I will be pulling from a bunch of sources to make you better (and myself) understand what a Post Covid-19 Gym recovery should look like. First, I’d like to point you all towards this video, shot during the beginning of the pandemic by OmarIsuf.
The video features several powerlifting experts, namely Candito, Calgary Barbell, Silent Mike and my personal favourite Alan Thrall. OmarIsuf and the gang discussed several aspects of maintaining strength during the pandemic, keeping your anxiety in check, and the future of powerlifting.
The gist of their initial conversation, regarding keeping strength up during the pandemic, had the following main points:
All the powerlifters largely agreed that muscle loss is inevitable, but strength could be preserved with proper conditioning. Lifters would first have to get back into their regular strength routine and forget about setting up any PRs, at least initially.
According to the American College of Cardiology, people with mild or no symptoms, who needed no sort of hospitalization, must rest for at least 2 weeks right after they’re cleared of infection.
According to the institute, the Coronavirus not only affects the lungs but also the heart of the infected person, without them knowing. So taking a 2-week hiatus right after a negative test is highly advised.
According to Jeff Nippard, the road to recovery requires a perfect balance between stimulus, recovery and adaptation. Your workout provides your muscles with the stimulus, and the way you recover from it builds within you the adaptation to survive an even stronger workout.
If you give too high of a stimulus to your body to recover from, it’ll take longer to recover, and your gains will be less. So optimising the weight and volume is a great first step. A proper rule of thumb to follow is that if you can manage medium volume in great form with a particular weight for at least 10 reps, then you’re doing ok.
Sorry if I sound too optimistic. Your strength and muscle recovery won’t take as long as you think. The biggest factor between a new lifter and newbie is that you already have muscle memory. You’ll be gaining lost muscle and not creating new ones, at least initially.
The specifics of the workout are quite intricate, so please follow the link from Jeff Nippard’s bridge program. I read it, and I really liked it, especially the warmup protocol. I suck at doing warmups because I am not a patient guy, but having a to-do list in front of it makes it easier.
Low cardiovascular conditioning and no nervous system memory are the biggest disadvantages a lifter has when he/she is starting from scratch. If you’ve been training, even just a little bit during the lockdowns, your muscles will catch up to you.
During my Post COVID-19 recovery phase, I too tried several different methods of training and noticed a few important points.
Initially, full-body workouts will give you the best result. You’ll regain most of your stamina and a lot of your strength and movement via full-body workouts. I’d usually include benchpress, deadlift and squat on a single day.
I trained three or maximum four days a week; however, the average time I spent in the gym was much higher.
After three weeks, I was finally able to hit my get a lot of my muscles back and was going heavy on deadlifts and squats; my bench still needs some practice though.
I went with 3 sets of 10s with each exercise but went to failure on every exercise in my third week as I started getting my strength back.
Lastly, the most important thing that helped me was my note-taking skills. Having two weeks’ worth of planning made me avoid the temptation to even attempt a PR during the early days of the workout.