How to Train Under Lockdown

There is absolutely nothing ideal about the current situation in any way, shape or form. That said, there’s no use complaining about it, we must simply accept and move forward with a plan.

Before you make this plan, it is important to accept a few things. Firstly, this will be completely different from your normal training routine so don’t try and hold on to your normal programme. Secondly, you will (probably) lose some muscle mass if you don’t have weights at home to be training with – you will see a bit of weight loss and this is okay. Finally, training just won’t be as fun on your own – so get others involved!

Now that we have accepted those as facts we can get down to the plan.

The Training

Some of you reading this will have highly structured plans given to you by coaches but others won’t have a coach and I am sure that there will be everything in between. If your coach has given you a programme then follow it like a holy text. If you are lacking direction or need a bit more of a plan in place than use this one!

What I suggest you do is divide your day in to 3-4 workouts/activities as follows 5 days a week with 2 days of rest:

Endurance Session:

  • This is the big work of the day eg. Erging, Bike, Run etc

  • Warm up for 10min before starting. Activity will be slightly longer, 30-60+min.

  • Make it hard!

  • Best done first thing with friends on video chat or socially distant but doesn’t matter too much.

Workout of the Day (WOD)

  • This is effectively your strength training

  • Will work full body usually

  • This will be a real physical challenge. We publish workouts daily on our social media channels.

  • This can be super short taking 10-15mins or can take a lot longer 30+mins. Usually with a higher heart rate than your early morning endurance session.

Strength and Conditioning / Pilates

  • This is the isometric holds such as Plank, Glute bridge etc

  • This is where you iron out any weaknesses in the body.

  • 1min on 1min off for 10reps, progress to longer on and less off

  • Generally, you want to pick 2-3 exercises for this one and work them to total exhaustion.

Flexibility / Yoga

  • This is your daily stretching. I like to do it in the evening before bed but really it doesn’t matter when you do it.

  • Focus on 3-4 stretches and hold for 1min x 5 (so a total of 5 minutes per muscle). This will be harder stretching than usual.

  • Push every stretch to the limit.

If you follow this then you will find that your day is very structured and regulated by exercise which, for me at least, is a very good thing.

Train First thing 

The hardest part about having limitless time at home is the routine. Its so easy to go to bed later and later and wake up later and later. Plan your first bit of exercise early in the day, that way you’ll have a reason to go to bed early, get a good night’s sleep and wake up at a reasonable time.

One of the best ways to ensure you wake up in the morning is to plan to do a workout with someone over video chat or go for a socially distant run or cycle. 

Train with Friends

Training on video chat is obviously not the same but it is better than nothing! Once you get a regular group stretch going it can be really good fun. Some people have even been erging on Zoom (conference calling website) together.

This is a really good way of holding yourself accountable for your training, making sure that you turn up and do the work. It also makes the work fly by and you can catch up with your friends which, during times like these, is very important.

Make Training Fun

Training on your own is boring as hell but you can make it a little more interesting. One way is with a pack of cards. Assign each suit an exercise, work through the deck doing the number of reps on the card. For example, if you assign hearts as press-ups and you pull out the 7 of hearts, do 7 press-ups.

Other ways of making it fun and effective are by lifting weird and wonderful things such as family members, sofas, furniture etc. the best way to train with weight is to take a duffle bag, fill it with heavy objects and throw it around the same way you would with a power bag or kettlebell.

Another way is by challenging your friends to workouts, run times, cycle speeds or erg scores – try to keep training as competitive as it would be in the gym. Keep yourself working to be better than everyone else and most of all, keep yourself motivated.

Test Yourself Regularly

Your muscle mass will (probably) decrease and you will start to notice negative changes. What you need to do is test yourself to notice the positive changes. You will probably come out of this Aerobically fitter and overall better conditioned than when you came in to it.

Test yourself in as many ways as you can as regularly as you can to notice all the things that are improving in your training. You can test the obvious things such as running pace, cycling speeds or erging splits.

You can also test the slightly less obvious such as planking time, wall sit time or v sit time. You can also test yourself in totally new ways by testing flexibility, mobility and muscle activation. YouTube is a treasure trove of obscure ways to test your body.

The best ways to keep training during lockdown are create a structure, find ways to hold yourself accountable for it and have a bit of fun!

Harry Henderson

Level 2 Rowing coach & Gym instructor

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