How to Safely Train Every Day During Quarantine

TAGS: train everyday, mental stability, Quarantine, Joe Schillero, conditioning

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I’ve thought through training modifications for times of injury, job changes, training at home, and mental health considerations, but I had never thought about what training would look like during a stay-at-home order until it happened. If you’re like many Americans (or those in other parts of the world) in March/April of 2020, you’re currently unable to work or you’re working from home, you’re unable to engage in normal in-person social interaction, and much of your routine has been thrown out of the window due to the COVID-19 virus and the resulting governmental restrictions.

Now, essential service workers are still working, and some people also have well-equipped home gyms that allow them to continue to train as they normally would. So, this article won’t apply to everyone. For those who currently aren’t working and also have limited gym equipment, I wanted to provide a potential gameplan that you can use to bring some routine and mental/physical stability to your day-to-day.


RELATED: 6 Conditioning Finishers for New Personal Training Clients


I think many of us recognize that despite the seriousness of this worldwide pandemic and the current restrictions and financial/job/health uncertainty we face, many of us are still in very fortunate situations, all things considered. With that being said, I know that a lack of certainty, a lack of routine, and a lack of social interaction can lead to an overwhelming amount of anxiety, frustration, and depression. I’ve found that this is one of the rare times I choose to train every single day. Normally, I train four days per week with my normal strength program (with conditioning and hypertrophy built into that as well). With this quarantine situation, however, I’ve suddenly found myself with wide-open days and a lack of the routine that normally helps to ease my anxiety. Building in some semblance of a routine into my day-to-day has helped with my mental and physical health during this time, and I think it can do the same for a lot of people with a similar personality or routine. Training every day in the morning allows me to focus on something objective and structured on a day that otherwise has a lot of uncertainty or ambiguity to it.

To train every single day (if you aren’t used to it already), and have it be safe and effective, I think there are a few important keys to follow:

  • Number-one rule: If you’re training every day, do not try to make every session a home run. Now is the time to follow the “stimulate, don’t annihilate” rule. If you want to push intensity, do it with conditioning that doesn’t have a high impact.
  • If you’re training with heavier strength movements (similarly to how you normally train at a lower frequency), adjust your training maxes lower to accommodate the extra frequency and total workload (and even extra stress). Using an 80% training max could be a good starting point.
  • Be sure to alternate intensity levels, rep ranges, and movements to prevent injury and overtraining.
  • Leave some in the tank because you know that you’ll likely be hitting that same group of muscles 48 hours later.
  • Focus on making sure that your sleep, nutrition, and stress management habits support the increased training frequency.

Like any type of training, there are a million ways you could do this based on your situation, goals, and available equipment. For myself, the equipment I have access to is:

So, based on the equipment above, my specific powerlifting goals are obviously being put on hold during this quarantine. The good news is that with the equipment above, I should be able to maintain and build muscle and tendon strength, which will allow me to re-acclimate to barbell training fairly easily. It will also provide me with a great foundation of conditioning and health to do so. I can’t stress enough that as much as we all care about training ideally, we have to do what we can with what we have during situations like this. Let go of the ideal, and control what you can control. You’ll be back on the horse quicker than you think.

So, for my train-everyday approach, I basically chose to alternate the upper- and lower-body-focused days. On my upper days, I follow the same general structure for supersetting push/pull movements, and then, I typically use boxing drills on the heavy bag for conditioning. On lower days, I break things into the squat/hinge and then isolation/ab exercises, followed by either a cluster-set conditioning drill or hiking/walking for recovery. I don’t have “maxes” for any of these movements, so I’m basically feeling out the intensities as I try things out. Then, as each week/session progresses, I can add reps, add sets, or increase intensity with heavier band tension, etc. If I do high-rep-bodyweight pushups one day, I might do a heavier-banded variation in the next session, then a stability-based pushup variation in the following session. Variety and different modes are the name of the game for this.

I also think that conditioning is important during these times because it will help you to recover as well as improve your general health and mental health. You can also choose conditioning movements that give you a mental stimulus/challenge. For me, the boxing drills include re-visiting a hobby I enjoy (I boxed briefly when I was younger), and the hiking is a time to get outside and to clear my head with my dog.

Below is an example of a week of training every day. You can use this basic structure to give you ideas on how to design your own program based on what you have available. Once you hit day 7, you will obviously start again at a new lower-focus day and keep the ball rolling. If you have questions or need ideas, let me know in the comments below, and I’d be happy to help! Keep hanging in there, and remember, do what you can with what you have (in terms of both equipment and life). 

Day 1 – Upper Focus

Warm-Up:

A1. Band Pull-Aparts: 4x15

A2. Chin-Ups: 4x5

A3. Push-Ups: 4x15

*Add Weight Vest

B1. Chin-Ups: 4x10

B2. Feet-Elevated Push-Ups: 4x20

C1. Bent-Over Rows w/ Short Bands: 4x12

C2. Band Tricep Pushdowns with Light Band: 4x30

D1. Supinated Dumbbell Bicep Curls: 4x10 each arm

D2. Rolling Dumbbell Tricep Extensions: 4x12

E. 8 Rounds on Heavy Bag: 1 minute on, 30 secs off

 

Day 2 – Lower Focus

Warm-Up:

A1. Copenhagens on TRX: 3x6 each leg

A2. Goblet Squats: 3x8

A2. Band Good Mornings: 3x8

*Add Weight Vest

A1. Bulgarian Split Squats w Mini Band: 4x10 each leg

A2. Abs on TRX: 4x10

B1. Straight Leg Deadlifts w Dumbbells & Average Band: 3x10

B2. TRX Leg Curls: 3x20

C. Goblet Squats: 10 rounds of 15 reps at the top of every minute

 

Day 3 – Upper Focus

Warm-Up:

A1. Band Pull-Aparts: 4x15

A2. Chin-Ups: 4x5

A3. Push-Ups: 4x15

*Add Weight Vest

B1. Chin-Ups: 5x10

B2. TRX Push-Ups: 5x8

C1. Banded Shrugs with Average Band: 4x20

C2. TRX Tricep Extensions: 4x10

D1. Banded Tricep Pushdowns with Light Band: 4x30

D2. Dumbbell Bicep Curls: 4x10 + 3 each arm

E. Heavy Bag: 10 rounds, 1 minute on, 30 secs off.

 

Day 4 – Lower Focus

Warm-Up:

A1. Copenhagens on TRX: 3x6 each leg

A2. Goblet Squats: 3x8

A2. Band Good Mornings: 3x8

*Add Weight Vest

A1. Squat with Dumbbells in Front Rack: 5x10

A2. Abs on TRX: 5x10

B1. Single-Leg RDLs with Short Band: 5x8 each leg

B2. TKEs with Monster Mini Band: 5x15 each leg

C. Hiking – 2 miles with my dog

 

Day 5 – Upper Focus

Warm-Up

A1. Band Pull-Aparts: 4x15

A2. Chin-Ups: 4x5

A3. Push-Ups: 4x15

*Add Weight Vest

A1. Chin-Ups: 5x10

A2. Pushups vs. Light Band: 5x10

 

B1. Banded Rows with Average Band: 4x15

B2. Shoulder Raises with Dumbbells: 4x15

C1. Banded Tricep Pushdowns with Light Band: 3x30

C2. Dumbbell Curls: 3x10 each arm

D. Heavy Bag: 11 rounds, 1 minute on, 30 secs off

 

Day 6 – Lower Focus

Warm-Up:

A1. Copenhagens on TRX: 3x6 each leg

A2. Goblet Squats: 3x8

A2. Band Good Mornings: 3x8

*Add Weight Vest

A1. Bulgarian Split Squats w Mini Band: 4x12 each leg

A2. Abs on TRX: 4x12

B1. Straight Leg Deadlifts w Dumbbells & Average Band: 3x12

B2. TRX Leg Curls: 3x25

C. Goblet Squats: 10 rounds of 15 reps at the top of every minute

 

Day 7 – Upper Focus

Warm-Up:

A1. Band Pull-Aparts: 4x15

A2. Chin-Ups: 4x5

A3. Push-Ups: 4x15

*Add Weight Vest

B1. Chin-Ups: 4x10

B2. Feet-Elevated Push-Ups: 4x25

C1. Bent-Over Rows w/ Short Bands: 4x20

C2. Band Tricep Pushdowns with Light Band: 4x35

D1. Supinated Dumbbell Bicep Curls: 4x13 each arm

D2. Rolling Dumbbell Tricep Extensions: 4x13

E. 12 Rounds on Heavy Bag, 1 minute on, 30 secs off

Header image credit: Maxim Zarya © 123rf.com

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