It has now been 10 days since gyms in the UK were ordered to close, and 1 week into lock-down. There has been panic buying of gym home equipment, PT’s everywhere streaming online workouts, more requests than I can count for the lone of our gym equipment, and a huge increase of people going for daily walks, runs, and cycle rides. Now lets all just take a second to breath, put things into perspective, and think about this in a different way… how can we make the best of this, without P A N I C I N G!!!
So yes, we can’t train as we usually would, the competitions that people were focusing on have been postponed or cancelled, all the kid’s sports clubs have been called off, not to overlook the challenges of home-schooling and working from home, often simultaneously. However, despite all of these new challenges, we shouldn’t lose sight of our goals, just maybe readdress the path slightly (a lot!).
When writing any training plan the questions that should always be asked are; Why do that movement? What benefit does it have for that person? How is it relative to their goals? Or more to the point how is it relative to their needs? And what is achievable? Yes, the initial goals may now be put on hold, however now is a great time to dial things back and really address any problems that may have been holding you back, so how about a goal of coming out of this time injury/niggle free, more mobile, having lost that kilo or five of body fat that you’ve never got round to losing because the weight on the bar was always more important than the scales. What can you do now that will make you a better lifter or player in the long run when you get back to regular training?
I’m not saying don’t keep your strength up and do what you can with what ever equipment you have available, however don’t lose focus. Don’t just do something because that’s the particular bit of kit you have, but equally don’t stress too much about what you don’t have, remember to ask yourself why am I doing this, what benefit does it have to me, and how is it making be a better athlete in the long term.
Here is an example of what I’m doing, and why I feel it will help me long term:
Yoga & Pilates – streamed off YouTube – there is a lot of vids, so finding what is most suitable is a challenge in itself. The reason I’m doing this is because I could really do with improving my mobility and balance, especially around my hips and shoulders, like most powerlifters I have become less mobile than is ideal and have picked up unnecessary injuries in these areas, also due to other issues my balance sucks so improvements here are always a good thing for me. I hope that getting in the habit doing these sessions will allow me to continue with them when all this is over too, even if not as frequently.
Home-workouts – Main focus here is to use the equipment available (a kettlebell, resistance bands and powerbag) to work on my weaknesses, which mostly involve unilateral work on my lower body, and core movements for the reasons listed in the above section. For upper body the heaviest resistance implement I have is myself, and you can’t beat a press up using pausing, resistance bands, declines, and super-sets to keep my upper body in good shape for when bench pressing recommences in a few months time!
Daily walks – I did these anyway as I have a dog, but the point is also that I enjoy walking, and doing things you enjoy are also important, It’s a time to reflect and relax, no internet, no computer, thinking, chill-out time. Also helps keep my body weight where I want it.
I think the main thing that I’d like people to take away from this is not to put extra pressure on yourself at a time that is very stressful anyway – you’re not going to lose all your strength in a few months, yes you’ll lose a bit, but you can easily build it back, a good example here is ladies that take time off regular training while pregnant, I took 5 months off training completely due to complications with my last child, and despite having to overcome pelvis displacement, still came back stronger afterwards. It will be ok, your hard-earned gains won’t just diminish into thin air, keep doing what you can, focus on the weaknesses, and don’t stress about what you can’t do.
Faye Jordan – Champion Strength & Conditioning