Minimalist Training

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Fear has swept the globe with the COVID-19 outbreak and many are forced to stay at home and avoid social contact for an undetermined amount of time. For those of us in the fitness industry, there is a lot of uncertainty with regards to when it will be safe to return to the gym and resume our normal routines.

In interim, we have to make do and it makes no sense to complain about what we cannot control.

Instead of thinking about the gains we’re going to be losing we could strategically use this time to recover, address nagging pains, as well as discover new forms of training that you probably wouldn’t give a second look under normal circumstances.

But before you start worrying about losing gains not being able to move big weights, what you should consider first that will have the biggest impact on your gains is:

  • Improving the quality of your sleep – Try to hit PR’s on the number of hours you sleep at night.
  • Improving nutrition adherence – Being stuck indoors doesn’t mean you’re free to eat like shit.
  • Managing Stress – Let’s be honest the unknown can be stressful, but instead of worrying about what you cannot control worry about all of the aforementioned points that are within your reach.

In terms of a training plan, a little will go a long way. Here’s what we suggest:

What you need to know

  • This is a 3-week training plan that can easily be turned into a 6-week plan by simply changing exercise selection.
  • This plan does NOT require any equipment other than a few bands that you can grab on Amazon for a couple of bucks.
  • If you do have basic equipment like dumbbells you’ll be able to use them with this plan.
  • If you have access to additional cardio equipment like an air bike, a rower, or a treadmill you’ll be able to include those as well.
  • Some of the videos included are with dumbbells, but if you do NOT have access to dumbbells perform these movements with bodyweight only. 
  • Control your tempo with all movements – the goal should be perfect movement and controlling both lowering and raising of each movement.

Furthermore, this plan is intended to be SIMPLE and be something you can take action on right away even if you’re new to training – I’ve kept the number exercises low on purpose. This plan is very similar to our Homebase Training plan keeping equipment needs to the bare minimum.

The Movements

Bodyweight Basics

  • Air Squat
  • Lunge & Split Squat Variations 
  • Push-up Variations
  • Pull-ups Variations (if possible) 
  • Step-up Variations
  • Glute Bridge
  • Plank Variations

Bodyweight Conditioning

  • Burpees or Up Downs
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Jump Lunges
  • Jumping Rope – Single or Double Unders
  • Jumping Jacks & Skip Jacks
  • Shoulder Taps
  • Squat Jumps

Band Work

  • Pull-aparts
  • Pushdowns
  • Leg Curls
  • Pull-Throughs
  • Glute Bridges
  • Banded Goodmorning
  • X-Band Walk
  • Banded Hammer Curls

The Plan

Day 1 – Strength Emphasis

1a) Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats: 4 x 8-10 each. Rest 30s.
1b) Yoga Push-up: 4 x 10-15. Rest 30s.

2a) 3D Banded Pull-apart: 4 x 15. Rest 30s.
2b) Side Plank: 4 x 15s each side. Rest 30s.

3) Finisher – Banded Glute Bridges: 100 Reps, AFAP.

Day 2 – Conditioning Emphasis

Tabata – 8 x 20s on/10s off. Rest 60s before moving on to the next movement.

  1. Air Squats
  2. Mountain Climbers
  3. Jump Rope Single or Double Unders
  4. Burpees or Up Downs

Day 3 – Strength Emphasis 

1a) Banded Pull-Through: 4 x 15. Rest 30s.
1b) Banded Pushdowns: 4 x 15. Rest 30s.

2a) Hollow Rocks: 4 x 20. Rest 30s.
2b) X-Band Walk: 4 x 10 steps left/10 steps right. Rest 30s.

3) Finisher – Banded Facepull-aparts x 100 Reps, AFAP.

Day 4 – Conditioning Emphasis

EMOM 20:
Minute 1: 10 Jump Lunges
Minute 2: 10 Banded Push-ups
Minute 3: 10 Single Leg Glute Hip Thrusts each
Minute 4: 10 Banded Hammer Curls (3-second eccentric + 3 second concentric)

Optional Conditioning:

  • Tabata Intervals on Air Bike – 8 x 20s hard/10s off.
  • Rowing Intervals – Every 2:00 x 10 sets: 250 meter row.
  • Running or Treadmill Intervals: 5 Rounds of 20s sprint/60s walk.
  • Cardiac Output Style Conditioning: 30 minutes of steady-state conversational work.

Other Strategies

  • Tempo Training: Controlling both the eccentric and concentric phases of movements will allow you to create tension and make light weights feel heavy.
  • Pauses: Using strategic pauses at various positions will provide a novel stimulus to otherwise basic exercises.
  • Isometrics: Isometrics have been proven to work improving the ability of a muscle to generate force. As such, perform body-weight movements like split squat and push-up hold with isometric pauses is another available tool.

Closing

Hopefully, we’ll all be back to normal sooner than later, but there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to still get some great training in. Above all else, focusing on your diet & sleep will afford you the most bang for your buck.

Deloading from the barbell from time to time can be the catalyst for igniting your motivation and giving your body time to recover – this is the time for that.

And if all else fails and you prefer an expert to handle your training – check out BP Homebase which requires only a few common pieces of equipment to take your at-home training to the next level.

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