The fitness industry has shown amazing collective initiative and quickly pivoted, learning how to use technologies such as Zoom and Facebook Live to keep people active in the short term.
Now we are several months into ‘living restrictions’ with no definitive answer yet of when gyms may be allowed to reopen. Perhaps you won't feel comfortable rushing back to your gym even when it does reopen.
Zoom lends itself well to instructor led classes but in some cases the constant repetition of the same old movement patterns (insert burpees, jumping jacks, squats, etc…), delivered in high intensity sweat fests is not a good long-term strategy for sustained fitness (or health).
Let’s look at some of the short falls of continual HIIT (high intensity interval training) exercise delivered online and an alternative approach to staying engaged and making progress with home training.
“First move well, then move often”
THE PITFALLS OF ONLINE CLASSES
- Trying to train the same at home as you do at the gym. To achieve the same stimulus at the gym many are turning to more volume to achieve the same levels of intensity they are used to. This can lead to lowered immunity and increased cortisol levels.
- HIIT workouts shouldn't be done in isolation. HIIT training should form part of a whole training system. Only training HIIT is the nutrition equivalent of only eating apples. Whilst they are good for you, you are missing out on a wide range of other nutritious types of food.
- Constant HIIT training can lead to compensation, then injury due to poor movement patterns. We are masters of compensation. If we can’t perform a certain movement pattern well due to a restriction, we will quickly work out how to achieve the movement using a compensatory pattern. Now consider you have probably upped your volume of these movements tenfold and you have a perfect storm on its way. In the words of Gray Cook, “first move well then move often”.
AN EFFECTIVE APPROACH TO HOME TRAINING
By embracing the change and accepting that this situation may go on for while longer then we can explore some positive actions going forward.
There have been many downsides to this period of restriction, and we are fully aware of the very real threat that Covid-19 continues to pose, but there have also been some upsides too. For some it’s meant the opportunity to spend more time with our loved ones and for others the slower pace of life has allowed them to appreciate the simple things in life, such as walks and connecting with nature.
It is also a good opportunity to re-evaluate our approach to training. We may have temporarily lost our beloved 3rd space – the gym, and we may be working with limited space and kit but that does provide an opportunity to explore new stimuli which makes the best of the current situation.
#1: FOLLOW A PROGRESSIVE PROGRAMME
A good programme should consider long term development, be it endurance, strength, hypertrophy, body composition or all-round health. A good coach will carefully prescribe a dosage of volume that will achieve the desired response, with each week building from the previous.
#2: OUTCOME BASED TRAINING
Setting out with the goal of getting sweaty can be fun in the short term but it doesn’t create good long-term results. Exercise is a singular event, whereas training is an accumulative effect to elicit a desired response – such as strength, cardiovascular endurance etc. Try to align your training with your goals. Look at the outcomes not the session.
#3: FIND BALANCE
Balance out your training intensity. Take recovery seriously and practice foam rolling, stretching, yoga and breathing exercises.
Try to acquire new skills, this is nourishing for the body and brain. Prioritise quality of movement and control over speed and volume.
Split training days between complementary modalities – try resistance training days followed by aerobic training days, this will help manage intensity levels. Explore and balance all functional movement patterns. A good program will avoid overuse by balancing movement patterns throughout your week.
If you are bored of endless burpees and looking for a balanced and structured approach to helping you achieve your goals then we have 3 online programmes, along with our virtual community, to suit a range of goals: https://www.base-gym.co.uk/shop/