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Load management is immensely important when you get back to training after this COVID-19 mayhem!

Injuries are inevitable in any sport, weightlifting included. Although they're inevitable, that does not mean that you can't minimise the risk of the occurrence of injuries. There are, in essence, two types of injuries in sport. Traumatic and overuse. Traumatic being injuries like an ankle sprain, a hamstring strain, a broken arm, or a ruptured ACL. These injuries, although not impossible to prevent/reduce the likelihood of, are caused by a sudden and excessive load on a particular structure. Take your arm as an example. Your arm is only capable of an "X" about of bending force before it snaps. If you fall and the load exceeds that amount there is simply nothing you can do to prevent that arm from breaking. Overuse injuries, however, we can have a lot greater influence on. Let's take running for example. If you're not used to running and suddenly start running 3 miles every day it is likely that somewhere down the road you'll start to develop some sort of overuse injury, be that a knee, an ankle, or your lower back. Now, overuse injuries are way more predictable than a traumatic injury, this is a good thing. There is tons of evidence to suggest that poor load management eventually leads to injury, likely an overuse injury. Overuse injuries can be "prevented", so to speak, if the load is managed properly. Instead of running 3 miles every day when you're not used to running and ending up injured, starting off with 1 mile twice per week and only increasing the milage when you're confident that your body can manage the load it's being put under. Eventually, you'll get to 3 miles every day. #smallsteps Weightlifting is no different than running in the context of overuse injuries. Since most of us have been in lockdown for the last couple of weeks, and some of us will continue to be, it's immensely important to be aware of how you manage your load when you get back to the gym and start weightlifting again. Just because you were able to train 5 times per week, 2 hours per session, does not mean that you'll be able to continue that volume when you get back to training. Depending on how long you've been away from training and what you've been doing to try and keep some sort of form while in quarantine, will determine what load you'll be able to manage after the lockdown. Getting undressed upside does not count, neither do the steps you've achieved due to running back and forth between the fridge and the living room for ice cream 8 times per day, unfortunately.

How to reduce the risk of overuse injury

My best advice for you, no matter your level, is to start off fairly easy and build your training tolerance up over a couple of days/weeks. Don't just go all-in with what you did before the lockdown, because it will eventually catch up to you! For the first week just do something, anything. It doesn't have to be structured down to the last detail, just enjoy yourself. As for frequency, cut it down to half of what you did prior. The second week, build it up, and if there are no injuries or annoying niggles keep increasing until you're back to the level you were before.

Injured already?

In weightlifting, the wrists are usually the ones to nag you first after some time off. There are loads of scrawny littles bones, ligaments, muscles/tendons, joint, etc in the wrist that are quite fragile if they're not being taken care of. If you start getting issues when you get back please try to be sensible and reduce the training load/volume as the first "treatment". This doesn't only apply for the wrist, but for all body parts. If the injury is nagging you more than you're able to handle, try the POLICE protocol, Protect (brace/tape if necessary), Optimal Loading (only use the given body part within its pain-free zone), Ice (10 min on 10 min off for an hour, every other hour. Within the first 24 hours), Compressions (wrap something around the wrist), Elevation (If there is any swelling this applies)

Structured program

Last thing! After your initial week back training and you're comfortable on how much training you can handle, it would be a great idea to begin a new structured weightlifting cycle. Having a structured training cycle is just what most people need after this mayhem of quarantine, social distancing, and washing hands a million times per day. Feel free to take a look at the programs has to offer HERE, or message FAE Barbell if you're interested in a customised program/online coaching.


Thanks for reading! Stay home, stay safe.

FAE Barbell

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