Becca Stevens

Lockdown: Adapting your fitness goals to the changing times

7 April 2020 3 Minute Read

So, it’s two weeks into lockdown and, I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get bored. I finished my uni work, watched plenty of Netflix, looked for jobs, read some books and then reached a plateau. Without my daily trips to the gym or the pool, I found that I was lacking the motivation that I usually have for exercise. Although I have some home-workout equipment, without the squat racks, benches, a variety of weights of dumbbells and cardio machines, I can’t do the same level of workouts at home.

In this article, I’ve put together some tips for working out and some new goals to set yourself, if your old ones are no longer achievable.

Focus on improving balance and stability

Balance and stability are so important to everyone, from a sedentary office worker to a pro-athlete. It is a fundamental skill that ensures that you have control over the movements that your body is doing. This is achieved through having a balanced set of muscles on both sides of your body (surprisingly, most people are pretty uneven), having a strong core and improving coordination. Below are some exercises that will help increase your balance and stability. If you’re unsure about any of the exercises, have a search on youtube or google and there are plenty of demos.

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Single leg deadlifts

With, or without a weight, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lean forward with a flat back, lifting one leg straight up and in line with your back. The leg on the floor should have a slight bend in it. Ensure that your hips are parallel to the ground at all times (don’t let the raised hip reach up). To make sure your hips are parallel, point your lifted toe in towards your body.

Skaters

Jump to the side, laterally, crossing the furthest leg behind your body, in the direction of the jump.

Box Step-ups

In slow and controlled motion, step-up onto a box and lower yourself slowly back down. This should be a slow movement to ensure it is working your balance and stability.

Single leg squats

Lift one leg off from the ground and squat down slowly. The lifted foot can be in front of you or behind you, wherever it feels best.

To make this exercise harder, you can add a jump from the bottom of the squat and up. To make this slightly easier, place a chair underneath you and squat slowly onto the chair, then back up.

Set yourself a few trickier exercises to master

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The exercise that I’ve most recently mastered is the pistol squat. There are loads of cool exercises available online that you can choose to master, and a variety of progressions so that you can get there from any level. Next on my list is to do 10 pull-ups! Let’s see how that goes!

The list of exercises you could try to master is endless but here are some suggestions:

  • Pull-ups
  • Pistol Squats
  • Muscle-ups
  • Handstand
  • Handstand walks
  • Box Jumps
  • Push-ups

Focus on improving your flexibility

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I’ve recently downloaded the downdog app and have been enjoying trying out different types of yoga. Yoga is great for relaxation, stability, strength and flexibility. On the app, you can choose a selection of different styles of yoga, abilities, durations and which area you want to focus on. Although I’m a complete newbie to yoga, I’m finding it easy to follow and the exercises are all modifiable, depending on your ability.

Another goal that I want to achieve is being able to do the splits. Anyone who knows me will know that my flexibility is awful (although improved recently). In the past, when I was a runner, I frequently got shin splints and other injuries due to tight calves and lack of stretching. Stretching is always important before and after a workout but, with the extra time on my hands, I’m enjoying having at least 10 minutes extra per day, dedicated to stretching and relaxation. If you’re unsure on how exactly to stretch, try a yoga app or youtube video to get a routine and see what works for you.

(Whilst we still can) Get outside the house

Although it’s starting to look more and more like we’ll have a ban on exercise outside your home, whilst we still can, it’s super beneficial to get out and clear your head. This is great for your mental health, getting that daily dose of vitamin D and making the most of the sunshine (please no sitting down or sunbathing though!). Whether it’s doing the Couch to 5k, starting cycling or going for a walk, getting outside and changing up your routine can prevent the lull in motivation.