How to Keep your muscle on time off

By RICARDO FLORES

How to Keep your muscle on time off

Whether your gym is closed or not,  around the world is that we should all stay at home as much as possible, avoiding any unnecessary social interaction or travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

This has posed something of a challenge for gym fans — and specifically, those with a penchant for weightlifting.

While runners can still run, cyclists can still cycle, and yogis can still flow from their living rooms, when your preferred method of training is picking up and putting down really heavy things, working out while self-isolating is a little more difficult. 

However, you don't need to fear losing all those hard-earned gains, as elite performance coach and human movement specialist Luke Worthington explained to Insider.

You won't suddenly lose all your muscle

If you've been working hard to build muscle and strength, you may be stressing out about not being able to go to the gym, but don't panic.

"Strength and aerobic conditioning are actually pretty resilient and they stay pretty consistent up till a four-week lay-off, after which we start to see a decline — so don't panic!" Worthington said.

"You can absolutely delay and then mitigate that decline by keeping going with your resistance work as much as possible."

If maintaining speed and power are your main priorities, you might have to put in a bit more effort though.

"Speed and power decline a little more quickly, so do try to incorporate sprinting into one of your cardio sessions to keep on top of that," advised Worthington.

The best ways to maintain strength at home

That said, if you go from working out four times a week to spending three months sitting on the sofa, you can't expect your body to look and perform the same at the end. 

"There is truth in the expression 'use it or lose it' when it comes to your physical capabilities, so it's important to keep moving for your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing," said Worthington.

Although doing resistance-training from home is harder than cardio and mobility work, Worthington said it's the most important — and it is doable.

"All we have to do is be sure to cover the fundamental human movements of push, pull, squat, hinge, and lunge," he said. And here's how:

Push

Yes, we're talking classic push-ups. 

"This is a surprisingly advanced movement to do well — you can regress it by placing your hands on a chair or stool to effectively bring the floor closer to you," said Worthington.

Pull

Despite being the hardest movement to perform at home, it is possible if you get creative — and be sure to do so safely.

"The simplest way I have found with clients is to improvise  by looping a bath towel around the top corner of a door and using this as an anchor point to perform a row," Worthington said. "Perform four sets of eight to 10 reps."

Squat

We might not be hitting PBs any time soon, but squats aren't hard to do at home.

"They're an easy one to replicate as we do this every time we stand up from a chair," Worthington explained. "For a beginner we can simply do this, sit and stand from a dining chair without using your hands.