By: Chris Parchmann, MS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Recent challenges surrounding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak has left the country stuck at home in order to help prevent the spread of this infectious disease. Restrictions have been placed by the local and federal government to minimize social contact. Many businesses are shuttering their doors including gyms in order to keep people safe. Most of us have dramatically adjusted our routines to cope, which includes our workout regimes. With all the gyms closed until further notice, you can continue on your journey of health and wellness by working out at home.
Begin with a warm-up to start your in-home exercise routine. Warm-ups provide a slow progression from simple movements to the more complex movements that are similar to those used during the exercise sessions. Warm-up exercises serve to increase neuromuscular functioning, improve ease of movement throughout joint range of motion, increase blood flow, motor awareness, dexterity, and improve overall physical and psychological preparedness. Ageility suggests warm-up exercises last 5 – 10 minutes. Choose a variety of exercises that target the entire body. Exercises can be performed seated or standing. Example exercises are dynamic quad stretches, toe touches, shoulder circles, and jumping jacks. 1-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions using bodyweight exercises is a good starting point. There are times when cardiovascular exercise such as jogging or biking (when available in-home) is used as the primary mode of warm-up, especially when these are the primary modes of exercise within the workout. Breaking a light sweat is an easy way to know that the warm-up was adequate. Be sure to keep the intensity low so that the warm-up is not overly fatiguing. This is relative based on individual fitness levels and must be adjusted accordingly.
The segment of exercises following the warm-up are chosen based on client goals and needs such as improving strength, balance, coordination and endurance of the body. Exercises can be performed seated or standing. Perform the most complex and metabolically demanding exercises first in order to maintain form and technique and manage fatigue. For example, compound multi-joint exercises such as the push up should be performed before single joint assistance exercises like a lateral arm raise. Exercises can be performed one at a time for 1-3 sets of 5-15 repetitions and again are dependent upon training goals. Rest periods between each set should last anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes. Strength exercises should precede endurance exercise or be performed on alternate days. Bodyweight exercises are generally recommended if there are no resistance equipment options on hand. However, the use of dumbbells, resistance bands, jump ropes, etc. are some examples of low-cost options that can be added to your workout. You can also get creative and find things around the house to provide external resistance. Examples include soup cans, books, boxes, brooms, shovels, and wheelbarrows.
Ageility recommends each workout conclude with a cool down to allow the heart rate and blood pressure to recover toward resting levels before exercise stops completely. Cool downs consist of exercises such as static stretches or low-intensity cardiovascular exercise. Cool down stretches are performed using body weight, simple in nature, slow and controlled, and low level of difficulty. Each stretch is brought to an end range of motion that brings on a sensation of slight tension in the targeted muscle group. Static stretches are commonly held for around 20 to 60 seconds depending on your ability to hold the stretched position.
The following is an example workout using bodyweight exercises that can be done at home.
- Arm Circles: 1-2×10 each (forward/backward)
- Arm Swing Across Chest: 1-2×10
- Torso Twist: 1-2×10 each
- Quad Stretch: 1-2×10 each, alternating
- Knee to Chest Stretch: 1-2×10 each, alternating
- Toe Touch: 1-2×10
- Hip Cradle: 1-2×10 each, alternating
- Jumping Jacks: 1-2×15-25
- Squat: 1-3×10
- Push Up: 1-3×10
- Lunge: 1-3×10 each
- Plank: 1-3×30 seconds
- Hip Bridge: 1-3×10
- Side Bridge: 1-3×20 seconds each
- Calf Raise: 1-3×10-15
- Back Extension: 1-3×10
- Run or Walk: 1 mile
- Quad Stretch: 1-2×30 seconds
- Lying Knee To Chest Stretch: 1-2×30 seconds
- Hip Flexor Stretch (kneeling): 1-2×30 seconds each
- Butterfly Stretch: 1-2×30 seconds
- Hands Behind Back Stretch: 1-2×30 seconds
- Arm Across Chest Stretch: 1-2×30 seconds
- Calf Stretch: 1-2×30 seconds each