Coming Back from a Training Layoff

Coming back to training after a layoff is a tricky thing. There is a real danger that you jump back into full intensity training and re-injure yourself right off the bat (especially if you’ve been gone for a while and/or are coming back from an injury).

No, you need to ease back into training. Give your body some time to ‘remember’ what it used to do and ramp up your intensity slowly.

I actually have some authority to dispense advice here, because I’m coming back from a training layoff myself.

Three months ago, in November, I was working like crazy on some new grappling instructional products. Filming, producing, editing, writing and quality control took up almost all my time. I trained, but not very much.

Two months ago I injured my chest. This interfered with most aspects of my training, and so I was only on the mats once or twice a week in December.

One and a half months ago – on New Year’s Day no less – I was shocked to find out that I had a hernia (a direct inguinal hernia, to be precise). It didn’t hurt, but I really didn’t want to make it worse, and so I stopped ALL training and ALL conditioning until my surgery.

Three weeks ago I had surgery, during which they lined my abdominal wall with a prolene mesh. The recovery has gone well, and I’ve just been cleared to get back to strenuous physical actiivity

So I didn’t train much for a couple of months, and then not at all for the last 6 weeks. I’m recovering from two injuries and one surgery. Should I just jump back into class and start training, hell bent for leather?

Obviously not.

I really, really want to get back to training, but I’ll have to make haste slowly. It would really suck to have my repaired hernia explode again (or to injure myself somewhere else).

My back-to-the-mats program has consisted of two things so far:

  1. Easy bodyweight exercises: pushups, pullups, squats, shrimping, hip heists, etc. Nothing too strenuous and certainly nothing to failure.
  2. Non-competitive partner flow drills for repetition of basic grappling techniques. And I’m only using sane, in-control, and relatively light partners for this drilling.

I feel like a bit of a wimp going so light and easy, but there are three things I’m trying to do with this program. I’m trying to:

  1. Get my body used to the physical strain of exercising again.
  2. To recover a bit of timing and help my body to remember how to move like a grappler.
  3. To test things out in a nice controlled environment. If either injury flares up again, I want that to happen in a controlled setting, and not with some bozo doing a flying knee-on-belly technique on me in sparring.

In another couple of days I’ll start with some (light) sparring. And here I’m going to pick and choose my partners very carefully: lighter guys with self control only, thank you very much.

For once I’m taking my own advice, and it feels weird!

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