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How to train effectively in isolation

Training effectively though times where you are without the gym or usual training environment can be challenging. Most people do not have the equipment, space or motivation to train as they normally would. However, although training without a gym does present its own challenges, it is still possible to train effectively, stimulate the body and drive good adaptation – you just have to plan.

Using the tools you have at home: Some of us have access to various gym kit at home and that’s great, that will help add far more variation and stimulate the body effectively.  What do you do though if you haven’t got any gym kit? Well below are a few pointers for training at home:

  • Make a list of any furniture that can double up as exercise equipment. Boxes and sofas could be used as a step or bench for example
  • Find/make a suitable place to perform the exercises. Make space in your living room, dedicate a space in your garden for exercise – any place that allows you to move around without hitting anything.
  • It may sometimes be worth buying some equipment in! If you do not have a lot of space, buying a few Kettlebells and resistance bands could be an option, they are also extremely effective tools you have at home to work with too.

Programming: Now that you are in an environment where (for most people) you do not have access to equipment or as much weight you need to think carefully on how to progress your training as you cannot just add weight on the bar on a weekly basis. Instead, think of other ways that you could make the programme harder so you continually adapt. Below are a few ways that you can progressively overload your programme to keep you making those sweet gains!

  • Increase volume: One simple way to progress your programme is to increase the volume of training. This could be adding reps, sets, exercises or even training days to the programme on a weekly basis.
  • Reduce rest times between sets: Having less recovery into each set will be more metabolically demanding and drive more adaptation.
  • Implement different tempos: Tempo refers to how fast you complete each rep. By performing the rep slower you will keep the target muscle/muscles under tension for longer – thus making the exercise more demanding. You could also implement pauses throughout the rep to further increase the difficulty.
  • Adding other training modalities such as super sets, giant sets, rest pauses and max rep training will also help progress your training and drive intensity.

It is important to note that you should keep your training as basic as possible and adapt it only when your body needs it. Don’t throw all your eggs out of the basket – you want to leave as many options open to you as possible to so can adapt your training for as long as possible. It is also important to make sure that you are still training with intensity. Just because you are training at home or in the park that is not an excuse to not train hard.

Whether you get a programme written for you or not, you should schedule in your training. For a lot of people this time of isolation will open up a lot of time so make sure you are not tempted to just sit in front of the TV all day. Make sure you have a set time to train, be active, eat and sleep.

For a lot of people the gym is the only way to work on their primary goals. My goal, as a weightlifter, is to improve my performance in the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. However I do not have the space or the equipment to perform these movements at home (or at the park) so I have to resign myself to the fact that I cannot train for my primary goal. That is not to say that the work that you will be doing won’t help your primary goal in the long run – just try not to get frustrated and actually try to enjoy the different environment and challenges.

If you have any questions regarding this topic or any other fitness topics then please get in touch!

Take care, stay strong and stay healthy.

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