Returning to the gym after lockdown: A GUIDE…

We are so happy to welcome you all through our doors once again! It’s important, as we all get super excited about training, to make sure that we don’t just jump back in where we left off and we ease in.

Expect your coaches to moderate intensity of workouts for you very closely. The programming will feature lots of key movements, including strict work and it is of course really important that you keep the amount of training you do (volume) under control to allow your body to adapt. 

This guide is a great resource so you can prepare yourself and make sure you set yourself up with a better approach to training for the first 4-6 weeks of in-gym training post-lockdown. 


It is really important that you try and catch any negative thoughts that may want to creep in nice and early.  After a period of irregular training or time away from certain exercises the common thoughts tend to err towards ‘Whoa, I am not fit!’ or ‘This is gonna be so hard’ 

We recommend that you physically write down a few sentences that are positive. Things that you can refer to when it gets a bit hard in a WOD or post-WOD when you inevitably run through how the workout went for you. 

Training tools to help your return to the gym.

Here are some actionable tools for your return to the gym.

1. Use RPE appropriately. The colourful RPE chart here is a great starting point for fitness work. Have a read and understand it well.  

2. For those of you who have been lifting for a few years, we have also included an RPE chart for Lifting from coach Jacob Tsypkin. We totally recommend that you forget your old numbers and percentages for 4 weeks unless you have had access to a barbell. Even then, consider if you have had access to ample space to do higher rep lifting and to blend this in WODs. 

3. Quality over quantity. We may ‘AMRAP’ in WODs but use this simply as time to move, surrounded by your Shapesmates.  This is a perfect time to go back to basics. We should all be working on the mantra of Mechanics, Movement, Intensity. This is your chance to focus on gymnastics strength, build up the kipping action slowly, step down on box jumps and build rebounding and ballistic movements in gradually. Lean on your coach and listen to their advice, we are here to keep you safe. 

In closing we surveyed the Shapesmiths Coaches for their top tip for you all, when it comes to getting back to adult PE…here’s what they had to say… 
Coach Jamie encourages you to not compare yourself to your pre-lockdown fitness levels/abilities:

The single most toxic mindset when coming back from a lay-off or injury is comparing your current self to your former self. For example “Back in 2018 I could do X & now I can only do Y.”

Accept where you are right now and make the best of each session. Don’t compare to the past. Just enjoy making the best of the present.

Coach Tom P says catch your Z’s:

Prioritise sleep. Your body will need the extra rest with the increased training volume. If you’re tired an extra hour in bed will benefit you way more than dragging yourself through a workout. Get into good nighttime routines. Not looking at screens an hour before sleep and limiting your caffeine intake is a great place to start

Coach LB says pick only a couple of things to focus on:

Focus on one to two things you really want to improve in the first few weeks back. Now isn’t the time to worry about everything.

For example, if you’ve missed lifting – book into classes and get used to the movements again.

Or if you are worried about “lost” strength. Focus on your basic strength movements such as squats and lunges and give your body a month to adjust to life back on the inside

Coach Ed Caltieri tells you to forget the numbers for now:

Don’t go chasing numbers immediately, listen to your body and have faith in your strengths, the chances are that big power clean you hit or first muscle up pre lock down haven’t gone anywhere, allow your body to recondition and you’ll be back fitter and stronger than ever.

Coach JJ says that being humble has never been more important…

Some of you have been smashing training after buying a complete home gym, others might have been hit really hard by lockdown through family or work commitments and haven’t quite managed to train much at all.

As a community we work to support each other – whatever you’ve been able to do over lockdown we can’t wait to get you all in the gym and to build each other up. If you’re worried about coming back to the gym then don’t, we don’t care where your fitness levels are, just where you are and that should be at Shapesmiths!

Coach Em says, Take it easy!

Step back, take a breath and enjoy what you are doing! If you focus on the quality and consistency of your training for now, then strength, fitness and smashing all your goals will come with time.

That’s all for now, folks! Can’t wait to see you all in the gym!