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Learning When to Pull Back

Training is stress. So, respect it.

At times – especially now – the aggregation of training and life can tax our bodies. Our sleep quality becomes poor. Our workouts aren’t working out. And then, all of a sudden, the onset of a cold welcomes its way into our lives. Yes, we have all been there before, and probably will find ourselves there, once again.

But, what is actually going on? Well, in short, our immune system is being “stretched” thin. And since our immune system is a prominent player in the recovery process from training, we need to make sure we implement prudent training strategies that do not overload the system.

Luckily, training is fairly controllable. Sets are sets and, reps are reps. And with an endless exercise selection, and a good coach, you can mix and match to prevent any further hurdles in your recovery. 

So, without further ado, let me introduce to you, your training variables…

  • Volume: This is a great place to start. Say you have 3 exercises prescribed for sets of 10s. You can simply reduce the reps to say, 5-8, and/or shed some sets off. You can also just omit exercises and focus on one lift. This may be a good option, considering that your rest periods may lengthen when you are feeling under the weather, which, will increase your total workout time. Focusing on one lift may prevent any drag from doing additional exercises.

  • Intensity: Although volume bears most of the risk – it has a more lingering fatigue effect – intensity should also be moderated. Not eating well eating and poor quality sleep, may not allow for the psychological energy needed to get ramped up for higher loads, which, if attempted under said circumstances, could increase your risk of injury.

  • Frequency: Just take an extra day (or two) off….Yes, you can do this.

  • Duration: Keep it short and sweet. In and out.

  • Exercise Selection: Vary your exercises. Include more dumbbell and kettlebell variations. Include different planes of motions as well. This will give your body a rest from the heavier loads associated with traditional, barbell movements. 

  • Rest Periods: It may be wise to stay on the longer side (2-5 min) of rest periods during this time.

  • Exercise Tempo: Faster lifts require more energy. Slower lifts cause more damage. 

  • Exercise Order: Sometimes neglected, exercise order is a great way to build “recovery” into your workout. For example, if a workout calls for Back Squats, Snatch First Pulls, and Seated DB Presses, make the presses the focus of the day, while modifying the squats and pulls. 

Alright, by now, you probably understand the major take away – do less. So, talk with your coach, develop an interim plan of action, stay focused, and get back on track.

Just keep pushing!

Meet the author! Mark DiSanto is new to Hunger in the Wild family. He brings a decade of industry experience to the team, and with that experience, he plans to produce direct, high quality content that will engage the audience and improve their knowledge base of health and fitness. You can find him on Instagram @loqysio_training

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