- Online Training
As humans, we are innately drawn to routine. It gives us a sense of predictability which leads to us feeling we have control. With recent events, all those things were thrown out the window as the world has essentially been put on pause while we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, I am not here to offer any medical opinions whatsoever. I will leave that up to the experts and those who are much more intelligent than me. What I do want to share are some actionable tips we can give to our athletes when it comes to bringing a little more routine to their at-home training.
In particular, we will talk about creating a training environment that will allow our athletes to take advantage of both the physical and mental benefits of consistent training during their time away from campus. It is important to point out a few things before we jump into the tips.
First, I am not egotistical enough to believe I have written the world’s best bodyweight program and I’m assuming most strength coaches would agree. Do I want my athletes to do every part of the program? Yes. Did I program with performance in mind? Absolutely. Is it my number one priority at all times? No. My athletes’ well-being as a human will always come before performance for me and in light of that, I will offer some suggestions to make sure training time is productive, but still allows for flexibility and creativity.
One of the top things I have heard from friends, athletes, and other coaches is that it is hard to find the same motivation to train at home in the current situation. I think there are some “hacks” we can use to fix that.
First and foremost, it is important to define where you are going to train during your quarantine workout routine and try and make that space yours as much as possible. I know that can be difficult for those training in apartments or at home with family, but it can go a long way to designate an area as your workout area.
Doing this will allow you to connect that area with “work”, similar to how you naturally get tired when you lay down in your bed. Your mind looks for connections and we can take advantage of this to get into the right mindset to train if that area is associated specifically with training. Put your phone away, let your family know you need this space/time to train, and make it your own.
Everyone has their soundtrack or routine when it comes to training. Obviously, we won’t have the chalk bowls or blaring sound systems that are often found in college weight rooms. We can, however bring some things into the environment that will make it feel more like a training session.
This can be as simple as wearing your college workout gear, putting on the music you typically listen to during training, or hanging your school logo or team picture on the wall while you train. Do things that remind you why you’re training and give it a purpose.
Plan your training sessions ahead of time and look at the workout you plan on doing. Find creative ways to load or perform the exercises to make the workout matter. I won’t drag this out by offering a million suggestions as I’m sure we’ve all seen plenty of the social media posts about squatting with your dog on your shoulders and rowing laundry baskets.
Get outside the box and take ownership of your quarantine workout routine. I’ve seen some videos of athletes including their families in at home workouts and I think that is phenomenal if the work is still being done. Have fun with this time and find creative ways to push yourself.
I know I just said have fun and enjoy the workouts, but it is also important to find ways to strain yourself. We all know how good we feel after straining through a tough set or workout and it’s important to still chase that feeling during these times. Don’t be afraid to push.
If an exercise is too easy, superset it or change the tempo. Can’t load it enough? Add a focus on the eccentric portion. The possibilities are endless and I’m sure everyone’s strength coaches are more than happy to offer suggestions on variations and progressions. Do something different from time to time. Add in a circuit or a new exercise (safely) that you’re interested in or just feels good and allows you to strain.
On some level, we all enjoy the strain, and it is important to find ways to recreate that not just for performance gains, but also for the mental component.
Add in some mindfulness or yoga to your training regimen. Utilize your “training space” as a place to get away from the influence of outside news, social media, and other negative noise that is all too common right now. Spend time in your defined training area by yourself and unplug. Training should be your time to get back to neutral.
When I was approached to write this blog, I immediately went into strength coach mode and started thinking of all the ways I could discuss loading, time under tension, and the best bodyweight movements. Then I stopped myself and really thought about what I felt needed to be discussed. The reality is this, programming is important and proper prescription of training is absolutely crucial in sports performance, but it is not why I am in this field. I’m in it for the young men and women I get the opportunity to serve on a daily basis.
So, during these times, I’m not going to stroke my own ego and put programming at a premium. I’m going to make sure my athletes are safe, healthy, and well. I want them to train and to train hard, and I trust that our staff has given them all the tools to be successful in their time away from us. Some things, however, are bigger than sport. I encourage my athletes to not only use the tips in this post and the programs we distributed to enhance performance and stay healthy during quarantine, but also to use training as a means to return some of the normalcy we all are missing.
Stay safe and wash your hands!
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