There is nothing quite like the feeling of getting STRONG! Aside from making up one of the three pillars of our Adult Performance Program (Strength, Athleticism & Resiliency), it’s one of the best physical components that you can emphasize for improving injury-prevention, functional capacity, bone density, muscle mass, and caloric burn. Because of these reasons, it’s also one of the BEST things that fitness enthusiasts of ALL AGES (!!) should be implementing.
Unfortunately, the first wave of COVID-19 left a lot of gyms closed via lockdown, and access to equipment became hard to come by. Strength took a back seat, and bodyweight/minimal-equipment HIIT circuits moved to the forefront of fitness as everyone tried to find some sense of normalcy with their fitness routines. Fortunately, for our members, we found ways to continue to develop and maintain strength in all of the uncertainty! And should a second lockdown approach us in the near future, you can get strong with these FOUR simple tips:
1) Focus on TEMPO and ECCENTRICS
Don’t have access to heavy weights at home? You can still focus on improving your strength in the 5-6 rep range with the weights you have by focusing on controlled tempo. While there are a lot of variations you can utilize, a few of our favourites are (2-2-1-1), and (5-1-1-1) repetitions. Where the first number is the ‘eccentric’ or ‘lowering phase’ of the exercise, the second number is the pause following the lowering, the third number is the ‘concentric’ or ‘lifting’ phase of the exercise, and the fourth number is the pause following the lift. Here are a few examples:
DB Bulgarian Split Squat following a (5-1-1-1) Tempo
2) Focus on DYNAMIC SPEED Reps
You don’t always need to ‘max out’ with heavy weights in order to emphasize strength; you can also utilize slightly lighter weights and perform EXPLOSIVE reps in order to improve total force output. Continue to control the tempo on the ‘lowering’ phase, but focus on performing the ‘lifting’ phase as explosively as possible. Here are a few examples:
DB Goblet Squat Dynamic Speed Emphasis
For a lot of gyms that have remained open in the current yellow and red zone restrictions, ‘workout reservation sign-ups’ have become mandatory, most of which are also accompanied with strongly enforced allotted workout durations. 50-60 minute scheduled times are the new norm, which includes any time you may need to change and exit out of the facility. If you’re used to spending 90 minutes at the gym, this might leave you feeling flustered – but fear not! You can still get in a HIGH-QUALITY strength workout with the limited time.
To keep your workouts honest and organized, set a timer on your phone for 10-12 minute ‘sections’. If you enjoy foam rolling and warming up, and don’t want to sacrifice that time, set a clock for 12 minutes to keep you on schedule. From there, reset your 12 minute clock for your ‘strength’ work and choose your lift of the day. Let’s hypothetically choose a Pause Back Squat – 12 minutes gives us sufficient time to perform 1×6 (getting loose), 1×5 (getting loose, building weight), 1×4 (getting loose, building weight), 1×3 (pushing yourself, trying to max out), 1×3 (if more in the tank, attempting to max out again), with adequate 2-3 mins rest between our heavy sets. All it really takes is 1-2 challenging sets each session to push and expand our strength thresholds. From there, reset your clock for 12 minutes for your ‘accessory work’ and 12 minutes for any ‘conditioning’ work or ‘secondary accessory’ work you want to get in depending on your goals. In and out in 48 minutes, with sufficient time left to change and exit the gym within your 60 minute allotted time. These are principles we’ve been following in our own Adult Performance Program since yellow zone restrictions were enforced, and our members are continuing to improve their 3-rep maxes with each passing week!
4) DEPTH Adult Performance Program App
Of course, if you really want to challenge your strength and want to be kept organized and accountable, you can come on in and try out our Adult Performance Program in person, or our Adult Performance Program App ($59/month) as well! Both barbell (if you have access) and dumbbell options in every workout!
Have any questions about GETTING STRONG or about our Adult Performance Program? Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]!
Until next time – stay strong, and stay safe!
Written by: Ian Schnarr, Strength & Performance Coach