Stuck training at home? These tips could help.

So this pandemic has thrown everyone through a loop. I’ve been forced to close the studio for the time being and write up training plans for my personal training clients to do at home which presents new challenges.

I believe now more than ever it is necessary to keep on keeping on. And Covid-19 is deadliest for people with comorbidity factors (obesity, smoker’s lung etc). It pointed out that we NEED to be healthy.

One of the best personal training certifications I was part of was the Strongfirst Bodyweight certification. The premise behind the cert wasn’t to maintain the purity of bodyweight training. It was quite simply to be able to get an effective training session in whether or not you have any equipment available to you or not. The slogan of the cert is “We train with bodyweight in case civilization is temporary.”

From the way people are acting, civilization might have already passed us by.

Now in the absence of equipment, is it optimal? It could be depending on what your definition of optimal is. For the sake of moving forward, it’ll be “doing the best with whatever the current situation is”. Optimal is a moving target and a mindset for creativity.

So if you are at home, first thing to do is take inventory of everything you have available to train with. Do you have any kettlebells? What weights do you have? How about a suspension training system (like a trx)? A bowflex? Maybe all you have is a wall and a step stool. Once you know what you have to work with, you can start to put something together.

Then you have to put a balanced training program together. As an example, for every pushing movement, you should have a pulling movement.

Then you need to find some way of applying the principle of progressive overload. Essentially, you need to find some way of making progress towards your goals. When you don’t have access to multiple or adjustable weights you’ll need to get a bit more creative with progressing other aspects.

When putting together a program there are a couple of factors that can be adjusted. Load, sets, reps, volume, density, and tempo. There are actually more but that is going to be what we will be talking about for now.

Load= the weight you would be using. It’s a variation of “intensity”. This is the easiest to adjust in the gym (add a plate to the bar or use a heavier kettlebell). For home workouts, this is unlikely to be able to be changed all that much unless you have access to multiple weights or adjustable weights. In my experience, the amount that most people have in their homes isn’t enough anyway.

Sets= a group of reps. If you do 5 pushups in a row, you are doing 1 set of 5 pushups.

Reps= is every time you do a movement. If you do 1 pushup, you are doing 1 repetition.

Volume= the total sum of your sets and reps.

Density= the total sum of your sets and reps over time.

Tempo= one that fewer people tend to talk about. Essentially it is the time and pace of each repetition. As in during a pushup, if it takes you 2 seconds to lower yourself down, pause at the bottom for 1 second, take 1 second to push yourself back up, and hold the top for 1 second before going into the next rep. This would be a tempo of 2111. This is 5 seconds of time under tension for each rep. 1 set of 5 would be approximately 25 seconds under tension per set.

So for progressing these.

With load in the absence of adjustable weights, you would change the leverage or load distribution. Using the pushup example the easiest version of this would be doing pushups against a wall. After that would be pushups with your hands on an elevated surface or doing pushups from the knees. Use creative variations of the same exercise. It should be the same, but different in some fashion. Get creative.

For total volume you look at the sets and reps, you could do more sets, or more reps to increase the volume.

For density, this would simply be volume measured across time, you can shorten the rest periods to progress density. As in doing the same amount of work in less time.

For progressing using tempo, you would either lengthen the time it takes to do 1 rep, or you would make some aspect of it faster (like doing an explosive clapping pushup compared to a regular pushup). You could also isometrically pause during certain sticking points. It depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

Building more power, building more control, being able to do the same thing in a shorter time frame, being able to do the same thing easier and being able to do things you weren’t able to do before. These can all be measures of progress.

So to put together your program is to determine where you currently are and compare it to what you would like to achieve. Find a level that challenges you but isn’t so difficult that you can’t do it effectively.

Then find ways of progressing so that you can get closer to your goal, whether you have access to a gym or not.

Do what you can, with what you have and start where you are. If you need additional help with this hit me up.

Eric Moss is a world-record-holding modern-day professional performing strongman, author, motivational speaker, and personal trainer. In the tradition of the strongmen more common during the turn of the century, he performs feats of strength such as bending steel and breaking chains as part of a show and speaks on goal achievement for corporations, nonprofits, government as well as for schools and universities. His exclusive personal training studio is located on Main Street in Boonton New Jersey, is close to Mountain Lakes, Denville, Montville and Parsippany New Jersey.

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