Concerned about STRENGTH during COVID? Read This
When talking with members about how things are going during the COVID closure, there have been a few common concerns related to fitness. The top two are motivation to workout, and losing strength while away from the gym. This blog will address the later. [Stay tuned for the motivation piece next week, or check out Coach Nicks Tips Here]
So in terms of strength, and "losing it" while away from the gym, there are a few truths you need to know:
1. Yes, your 1 rep-max will go down without lifting heavy weights
2. Yes, it will come back faster once you return to lifting
3. Yes, there are other things you can do to help prevent loss and even get gains
Lifting heavy is fun for many athletes. While heavy is relative, it could be 35lbs for one or 350lb for another, it creates a unique stimulus, both in the central nervous system and muscles. Since most athletes do not have a robust home gym with copious amounts of weight, here are a few things you can do that will help.
1. Banded Exercises. While most fitness equipment stores are sold out of weights, you can still find bands. They are a great way to increase the difficulty of an exercise and add some explosive strength training. You can do "banded" versions of pretty much any exercise out there with some creativity! If you are new to these, start with very light bands, they are more spicy than you think! If you have bands, be sure to tell your Coach so they can adjust your TrueCoach workouts!
2. Plyometric Exercises. Any explosive exercise: squat jumps, box jumps, jumping lunges, clapping pushups, the list goes on. Typically no extra equipment is needed here, just some creativity and a desire to get explosive. These are great for developing power: high amounts of energy in a short amount of time. If you want a better power clean when we return to the box, do a lot of these!
3. Tempo Exercises. Typically performed to the tune of 3 seconds down, 2 second pause, 1 second up, these are fantastic for developing the mind-muscle connection during a lift. You can do them with virtually any exercise: air squats, pushups, back squats, bench press, the list goes on. If you have limited weight at home, simply adding tempos to your workouts will significantly increase the difficulty! The great thing about these are they are great for beginners and advanced athletes alike. A beginner may opt for tempo air squats, while an advanced athlete may opt for tempo pullups (ever tried a 10 second pull-up?) The challenges and gains never end.
While the above tips will help with strength maintenance, the COVID closure is a great time to work on the less sexy side of fitness. Many athletes are limited in what they can lift not because of strength, but because of mobility or core strength. If you are stiff, tight, or lack full range of motion, you need to spend this time focusing on that weakness. If your core is the weak link (how often do you put a lifting belt on or lose midline stability?) you should focus on your core. Think planks, L-Sits, and anti-rotational moves like the Pallof Press. This is the mature side of being an athlete. Everyone loves a good metcon or strength session, but those who spend time stretching and working on their core, not only will they be better athletes, they will get significantly less injuries in the future.
Questions? Hit me up!