COACH! I’ve worked SO HARD to get stronger and now I can’t lift heavy, am I going to lose all my gains?! Can I at least maintain strength through COVID-19?-Every Member we’ve Talked With (Which is all of them)
We keep getting asked if it’s possible to maintain strength right now as we’re all kept away from our favorite barbell. Not only is it possible to maintain strength but for many of you it’s possible to get STRONGER!
The Excellent News
I have some very encouraging and enlightening news for you. When it comes to ‘muscular strength’ – our ability to exert force against a given object in a single effort – the science tells us we won’t lose much if any strength over a short period of time. As a matter of fact, these studies show you aren’t going to lose any of your gains if you were to quit EVERYTHING, that’s all physical activity, over the course a two week period. We won’t bore you with the full nerdy details, but losing your progress isn’t something that happens quickly!
How Loco Can Help You Gain Muscle
Luckily, the LocoFam isn’t just doing nothing. In fact many of you have told us you’re working out more now than when the gym was open! And your coaches have got your back providing customized workouts to keep you progressing. We aren’t going to let a simple closure of the doors stop your athletic progression. We’re not going to allow this stay-at-home order turn you into a couch potato. Instead, you’re tackling this ordeal head-on with your personal coach based on your goals and what you have available to you.
To that end, we have the ability to still focus and work on strength-specific wants, as well as continuing to work metabolic conditioning — even without much equipment. One of the best things about having a smart, science-backed, approach toward programming and design, is that we’ve got TONS of tools in our tool belt. If maintaining or gaining strength is important to you, here’s the three things you need to focus on.
Three Ways to Maintain Strength
- Good Option – Time Under Tension:
- Time Under Tension is simply the amount of time your muscles are contracted while fighting against an external load.
- The easiest way to increase time under tension is with tempo training
- Focus on perfect quality reps at lighter weights being done at a tempo.
- It may get really uncomfortable, but a tempo down (eccentric) of 5 seconds will trigger significantly more physiological adaptation than simply flying through the work prescribed. Be deliberate in your movement for maximum return from your workout.
- Better option – Increased load:
- Lower the rep count on certain exercises while going heavier than normal.
- This option will be much easier with smaller muscle groups right now given equipment constraints but it is absolutely still possible.
- Strength is heavily tied to the ability to move weight on an absolute scale. Though we may not be able to do a heavy deadlift right now, I bet we can still so a heavy strict press!
- Think of areas that don’t require as much external load and focus on overloading them.
- Best option – Adding the above, as well as periodizing your lifts and focused auxiliary movements:
- This may not be available to everyone without some serious creativity, though we do know that some of the LocoFam have some incredible home gyms. Talk to your personal coach, and we’ll make large, wholesale changes to your programming. We can bias and pick an area of emphasis that we can work on several times in the coming month. We’ll get nerdy and work linear periodization while adding specific auxiliary movements to improve that core goal. This requires the greatest amount of equipment, but will also yield the greatest result.
You Will at Least Maintain Strength Through Covid
If you’re worried about keeping your strength while away from the gym, set your mind at ease. Every single Loco Member is working out at least a few times per week. So even if we don’t see strength gains you’re absolutely doing enough to mitigate losses.
Instead of worrying, focus on what you can control: diet, sleep, and exercise!! Many of you have more time now than ever. Use that time to work on whichever of the Five pillars of health (Fitness, Nutrition, Recovery/Sleep, Mindset, and Relationships) need you attention most.
Finally, trust your coaches to help you stay strong and improve even from a distance!