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Strength Training: Use It Or Lose It

Something I panicked a lot over during my playing days, certainly when being injured and out for lengthy periods of time was that I was going to lose all my strength and power! No doubt many of those that enjoy lifting are feeling the same during this lockdown period!

Robin Sowden Taylor Rugby

So as lockdown continues in Wales for another few weeks, many of you are currently training with little, to no access to weights and may think that all those months, years of developing your maximal strength qualities will be disappearing by the day!

Stay positive, as that’s not necessarily the case as there are a number of things we can be doing to mitigate these losses and keep you on track from a training perspective. As discussed in our ‘3 Mechanisms of Hypertrophy’ (Mechanical Tension, Metabolic Stress and Muscle Damage) and ‘Are you worried about losing your Gains’ articles, for those gym monkeys it is important to stay disciplined during this lockdown period and maintain all that hard work you’ve put in in the past

For many, there will be little to no exposure to Mechanical Tension (Lifting Heavy Loads) that provides the real neural stimulus that gets all our muscles firing in sync and increases our potential to lift heavy loads (inter/intramuscular coordination) developing our Maximal Strength quality. However, you can still maintain and even build lean muscle mass by using the other two methods of developing Hypertrophy – Metabolic Stress and Muscle Damage. With using lower intensity ranges (a dumbbell or kettlebell) or even bodyweight you will develop muscular endurance and muscle cross-sectional area (hypertrophy). Couple this with eating well and being aware of calorie and protein intake will keep you anabolic!

Muscle dimension is arguably the most important factor in potential force production (Zatsiorsky and Kraemer, 2006).

As Jordan Helyer and I discussed on our ION Performance Podcast in Episode 1, building Volume and developing Movement Efficiency and Technical Competency is key to having the ability to develop and improve Maximal Strength. So, even though during this period you are using very submaximal loads/bodyweight you are most certainly able to maintain many physical qualities as well as build a big general base that will prepare your body (particularly ligaments and tendons) for greater intensities (mechanical tension) when you start back on the heavy tin!

Strength Training at Home

I’ve put together an Upper and Lower Body workouts that you can do in the comforts of your home with minimal to no equipment.

Part A 4 Sets Air Squats – 20 Reps Single Leg Rdl – 8 Reps Each Leg Plank Hold – 30 Sec Rest 60 Seconds Part B 4 Sets Bulgarian Split Squats – 12 15 Reps Each Leg Long Leaver Glute Bridge – 10 Reps Each Leg Copenha

Part A 4 Sets Air Squats – 20 Reps Single Leg Rdl – 8 Reps Each Leg Plank Hold – 30 Sec Rest 60 Seconds Part B 4 Sets Bulgarian Split Squats – 12 15 Reps Each Leg Long Leaver Glute Bridge – 10 Reps Each Leg Cop (1)

Remember, when you’re doing these higher rep workouts this is still an opportunity for you to practice quality reps and develop motor patterns!! Technique, technique, technique is going to provide you with those long-term goals you are working towards – sloppy reps won’t!

Issurin Table

Issurins table above indicates the rate of decay of our physical qualities if not trained – you’ll be glad to know that maximal strength and aerobic qualities will take the longest to diminish and with maximal strength. If you follow the above suggestions, once you are able to access heavier weights again, you will soon fire up your nervous system and those max strength qualities will return…

 

Robin Sowden-Taylor

Passion Trumps Everything at ION
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