This might have been asked before, phrased in a different way but how do you go back to your training regime after a couple of weeks break, due for instance to a cold infection?

I normally try to train 3-4 times a week; 2 sessions of football, and 2-3 sessions of weights/cardio. But a couple of weeks break seems to revert me back to a weaker, slower state. How do you get back on schedule, without straining your body too much after a minor infection?

  • 3
    Acknowledge your diminished capabilities, deload, go easy for a week or two, and progress back up. Nov 7, 2012 at 18:27
  • 1
    see this question, fitness.stackexchange.com/q/7172/3778
    – FredrikD
    Nov 7, 2012 at 20:04
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    Dave's pretty much hit the nail on the head, though I'd add that because of the nature of your infection you probably deload your cardio a bit more than your weights. While you've been benched, your weight capacity has deteriorated from not doing anything, but your cardio/particularly lung capacity has probably been actively damaged from coughing/sneezing a lot while fighting your infection.
    – tmesser
    Nov 7, 2012 at 21:50

1 Answer 1


Practical Programming for Strength Training by Rippetoe & Kilgore is written for strength and conditioning coaches including power lifting teams so it applies to athletes in strict training programs. In a section called "Going Backward: Detraining" he says that strength persists much longer than aerobic VO2 max...ability to generate force drops in a few weeks...drops at about 15% per year...returning after 2-6 months, the trainee should drop one level e.g. an intermediate lifter should restart with novice programs (he defines these terms strictly) until his strength returns to pre-layoff levels, which will occur faster than the time it took to become intermediate (this is true for size as well). He strongly cautions coaches/trainers to not "get greedy" in that even an athlete who's just turned intermediate has a neuromuscular system far more efficient than the untrained individual and though it's weakened it is still able to work the detrained muscles harder than they can handle. This is what Dave, FredrikD, and YYY have already said in their comments, I just wanted to put a reference in an answer for those who want to pursue these issues further. Interestingly for me at least, he then goes on to discuss the returning 'retired' lifter, someone who's taken a year or more off. Here he suggests restarting with novice level programs regardless of pre-layoff level.

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