Work out at home during Covid
It is 2021 and Covid is still a heavy weighted blanket on us. One of the things that have been cropping up more in the public’s eye is the topic of mental health and with that a whole myriad of angles is presented in this area spanning from our physical health and activity to our social circles, our interactions, and the food and substances we consume. The lockdown has separated us from the gyms we frequent. Social connections are relegated to screen time and diminished physical contact. Here are some suggestions to help each other through these uncertain times.
When dealing with the mind, I’ve always found a significant value in starting with the body. There is a ton of data and research that has been showing the benefits of exercise and how it can help improve our moods. For one, it helps the release of neurotransmitters; another, it works out accumulated aggression and frustration to building confidence where we can improve ourselves physically and that can give way to the idea of improving your life and the situations that we find ourselves in. Starting from the ground up is a good way to go, so let’s start with moving. Our bodies have evolved to move and articulate in incredible ways. If you’re already moving, great! If not, let’s start there.
Any movement practice is better than none and what might be ideal at one moment in our lives may not be best suited at another moment. There are many great examples that can be found online. There isn’t one single program that’s best; as the saying goes in the strength community when asked what’s the best program, the answer always seems to be the one you’re not doing. This is because we adapt and change often so what was once effective no longer is. Often, what worked for one person may not work for another. Your personal health is an on-going journey of discovery that is personal to us. Challenge and growth doesn’t stop until you stop and hopefully that’s when we are dead.
Since the gyms are closed and equipment can be scarce or expensive to purchase, let’s keep things simple with whatever is accessible from home. Imagine trying to acquire a set of kettle bells or dumbbells to lifting bars and bumper plates. Let’s work with an introductory workout out using bodyweight calisthenics.
The program design is following a simple German body composition training format where we are combining an upper body movement with a lower body movement. The idea is when we are using an area of the body, there is a demand for blood to the area that is being worked and can be seen when someone experiences a “pump” in an area of the body. Here, blood is focused and causes swelling of the tissue in the area from all the blood. We are not striving for a pump but it’s to illustrate where there is a demand for action in the body there will be a demand for blood in those areas. When picking exercises, we are trying to pick the more distal areas to pair so the body is demanding the blood to be sent to far parts in the body thus increase the effort of the heart where it has to work harder at transporting the blood back and forth over greater distances creating a greater metabolic effect.
Here is a simple example for a beginner’s workout that requires just you and the floor.
I’m a big fan of spending 5-10 minutes on the ground going through a series of various animal movements. Depending on the space you have, perform each of the movements by going forward and backward 6 times in each direction.
Stiff legged bear
Perform each of the following with sets of 3 in a circuit. When one circuit is complete, rest 60-90 seconds then start next set.
- Down ward dog to cobra rock 9 reps
- Body Squats 9 reps
- Hollow body tuck 9 reps
- Push ups 9 reps
- Back lunges 9 reps
- Plank on elbows 24 seconds
Things can get much more specific and more challenging from here. We’ll assume that we haven’t worked out since before December so it’s worth easing into the exercises. Injuries can often occur from having some time off and then resuming your workout where we left off. We don’t realize there’s been some atrophy from our downtime making us weaker over those sedentary months we took. Ultimately, if we are able to train consistently without injury, we will be able to train longer. One of the greatest keys to having success is consistency.
Please reach out if you’re interested in more personalized programs or have questions.