Return to Training: The Transition

COVID-19 has presented many limitations and difficulties this year, which eliminated the access to gyms and athletic facilities. However, the United States and many other countries are transitioning into opening gyms and athletic facilities through phases. As we transition into the new normal, my concerns regard individuals who jump right into a training regimen with no proper planning. In fact, individuals who engage in training right after long periods of physical inactivity are susceptible to exertional injuries (Caterisano et al., 2019; NCAA, 2019). Therefore, close monitoring, proper planning and incremental progressive loading are critical when transitioning back into training.

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa) had created joint consensus guidelines for transition periods for athletes (As shown in Figure 1). These guidelines present recommendations for conditioning-related activities. However, the guidelines are progressive in nature and can be applied to any individual with modifications after the conduction of an individual needs analysis and tests from a certified professional (i.e. certified strength and conditioning specialist). In addition to the joint consensus, the NSCA had provided information related to guidance on safe return to training (As shown in Figure 2). Not only do the NSCA’s guidance on safe return to training provide conditioning training recommendation and weight training recommendations, the figure provides information related to minimizing risks with CDC guidelines and proper sanitation procedures. Overall, the figures can be used as an excellent visual as you prepare to transition into training. However, it is important for individuals to seek out additional guidance for training during this weird period. Feel free to reach out to me with any additional questions!

Figure 1: NSCA and CSCCa Joint Consensus Guidelines
Figure 2: NSCA Guidance on Safe Return to Training


Caterisano, A, Decker, D, Snyder, B, Feigenbaum, M, Glass, R, House, P, Sharp, C, Waller, M, & Witherspoon, Z (2019). CSCCa and NSCA Joint Consensus Guidelines for Transition Periods. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 41(3), 1-23.

NCAA’s Interassociation Recommendations: Preventing Catastrophic Injury and Death in Collegiate Athletics. (2019). Available at: Accessed April 13, 2020.