Right now, for so many of us, our usual gym routine has been put on the back burner, and goals have had to be modified. But that’s okay! We have more time now than ever to rest, so let's use it to our advantage.
We want to encourage utilising this time for figuring out what equipment you need, what household items you can use as replacements, and if you need to purchase anything from stores. This rest is a buffer period for trial and error.
Within a 2 week period, if you train less or not at all, your muscle characteristics don't typically change a significant amount. BUT in saying that, after this two week period, you need to keep moving, bring up your volume and make your home workouts are intense to ensure previous gains aren’t lost!
Here are some tips for how to best manage your extra time away from the gym without losing all the hard work:
Take 1-2 weeks to ‘deload’, but no more than that
Let us repeat, this is a one to two week buffer, you can't deload forever. It's a good time to trial and error what you enjoy doing from home.
Now is the perfect time to do what is known as ‘deloading’. It's the process of decreasing total volume load for a SMALL PERIOD to allow the body to fully recover and therefore adapt to the progressive overload created in previous weeks, leaving the body feeling fresh and ready to tackle another training block.
So if you’re doing less than usual, that is okay — but for a small period of time only.
What a deload period would typically look like is maintaining the frequency of your training schedule, but decreasing your volume by 30-50% for a week would give your body the rest it needs to recover and adapt appropriately. While this is difficult with no equipment, you can alternatively maintain frequency, reduce your load, but still keep up volume. Not only is this beneficial physically, but mentally it gives you a well deserved rest. Plus it's also very important for injury prevention!
This isn't an excuse to slack off though, it’s a good buffer period to sort out your home workout routine so you can keep at your goals.
Unless you’re new to working out, you most likely won't make muscle gains with minimal equipment. Given the circumstances, it is important to adapt to the situation and become creative by aiming to maintain your muscle mass.
Substitute equipment for common household items
So while you're in your deload period, it's time to figure out how you will utilise your home to keep up your workouts. Believe it or not, there are so many items in your home that you can use to replicate the gym.
Here's what household items/substitutions we recommend:
Fill a backpack with heavy books to load squats, lunges, good mornings and pull ups if you have access to a bar
- Use a mop or broom for mobility or put it across two chairs for inverted rows
- Use stairs for running up and down
- Go for a run around the block
- Skateboard for kickbacks
- Bulk pet food (eg. 10 kilo) for a heavier weight! Pop it on your hips for hips thrusts
- Use a chair for movements like tricep dips and Bulgarian split squats
- Fill two material shopping bags with items to use as “kettlebells” for movements like farmers walks
- Use a filled bottle or can for a lightweight lateral raise and any upper posterior work
- Hold two heavy bags of rice on each shoulder for walking lunges
- Sports bag full of books for overhead work, bent over rows, deadlifts, RDLs and goblet squats
Modifications we recommend for movements at home:
To maintain muscle mass, we want to create a stimulus that will get us as close to failure as possible. These techniques and adjustments can be made to facilitate that and prevent us from having to do huge amounts of volume. This is about maintaining muscle mass, so give these modifications a go.
- Pulses for movements like hip thrusts
- One and a quarter reps for lifts like squats
- Pause reps - get creative with this, pause at the bottom of the rep, pause at the middle, have multiple pauses throughout your lift, it's completely up to you!
Tempo! For example, using a 4-1-x-1 tempo for a squat would look something like this:
Four seconds on the way down (the eccentric phase, generally the lowering phase)
One second at the bottom (the isometric phase)
Explode up (the concentric phase, generally on the way up)
One second reset
Get your hands on a booty band if you want to train legs and focus on those neglected glutes
Have confidence in changing or modifying movements, your workout is not ruined if you have to change an exercise here or there!
Take the time to try and break old habits with poor performance
With being at home more, practicing technique by fine tuning in front of a mirror will help you greatly for when your gym opens up again. It’s also a good opportunity to learn new motor patterns under lighter loading conditions to perfect technique and not let those bad habits creep in. Not only is this good for preventing injury, but depending on the movement, you can potentially lift heavier with better form too.
Set up a mirror or a camera to film and review, to then analyse your lift. This is an easy way to identify any parts of your lift that need working on. If you want to take it to the next level, listen to the PUSHH athletes explain the movements on the app, as they give tips and tricks on how to best perform the lifts.
But all in all, make the most of this time and turn this period into an advantage. Instead of pining for your favourite squat rack, use the enforced rest time to build a new routine, fix broken movement patterns, get creative with equipment, and learn new techniques.
Here at PUSHH and Ryderwear, we have tried to make this transition as smooth as possible by releasing 12 At Home programs for you to maintain the hard work you have put in. Let's get through this together.