Having breaks during training periods can be strategic and non strategic. Regardless of whether it's planned or not the time out can be used as a benefit to your training adaptations.
In a strength and conditioning perspective we aim to incorporate strategic breaks from trainings after the competition season. This can last a couple weeks to a month or two depending on how rigorous your sport is.
We do this for a couple reasons
It's necessary for your body to receive a "deload" or allow for your body to take a break. Continuous stress without breaks can lead to overuse injury
The mental break is beneficial to avoid burnout. If you are training day in and out, it may catch up to you on the psychological side. Breaking it up can definitely play in your valor.
We use a variety of different muscles when we do off season training. Off season training is similar to cross training. Meaning you do something different you're not used to. It mixes it in and tries to decrease the likelihood of muscular imbalances developing.
Now you could also nonstrategically taken a break because of having a baby, working through life, stress, life events, and flat out surviving parenthood.
If you are in either camp I want you to not stress that you have lost all your gains! Not all is lost and like I said before, sometimes breaks are beneficial for decreasing likelihood of injury and mental breaks.
So let's chat about detraining and what to do if you are trying to get back into your training program.
What is Detraining?
Detraining is defined as
“the partial or complete loss of training-induced adaptations, in response to an insufficient training stimulus. Detraining characteristics may be different depending on the duration of training cessation or insufficient training.”
When have I "Detrained"?
There is both short term and long term detraining.
Have you fallen off the training wagon for a few weeks?
Did a major life event occur and you haven’t trained at all?
Both can have effects on your adaptations. Obviously if you have not trained in months that will be different than that of a few weeks but the body needs a stimulus (exercise) in order to continue with adaptations.
Without that stimuli you now are not challenging the body to keep up with the set “requirement” you have requested of it during training. The body uses the phrase, “use it or lose it” and takes it quite literal.
Don’t use your muscles... they will atrophy.
What Can I Do?
Start at the basics and progress slowly!!!
This is not the time to rush back into your training. Treat this timeframe like you had an injury or just delivered a baby.
You want to ease back into athletics to reduce likelihood of injury and pelvic floor symptoms.
2-3 strength training sessions per week
non structured cardio, aim for 150 minutes per week of easy pace training
mobility, daily of able to but definitely couple times a week
following a consistent workout routine
Starting at the basics can help reduce the likelihood of an injury, overuse training, or burnout. Take your time to adjust mentally and physically. Your body will thank you for taking the extra time to do this.
BONUS - if there was anything I wouldn't skip out on it would be the strength training. That's because strength training can help with muscular imbalances and prime your body for taking on any extra load and tension you will require it by getting back into training mode. Plus it takes longer for muscular adaptations to occur with strength training than it does for cardio training. So get started on those and don't skip out on them!
My friend don't forget, the key here is to ease into training again. It's not a sprint to get back to where you were "before". I would prefer you take the time to ease back into your training program so you successfully are training a year from now than rushing into it and now you're nursing an injury.
Have any questions? Drop them in the comments! I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Of course if you have the opportunity, please share with a friend whom you think could benefit from this post.
Your Pre/Postntal Strength Coach