How to maintain your bulk/muscle growth or continue it during lockdown

Posted by Dayne Hudson in Muscle Building

Estimated reading time: 5mins

How to maintain your bulk/muscle growth or continue it during lockdown

Preventing weight gain during lockdown

The first strategy for those who were bulking before the lockdown hit is to prevent weight gain. Tell me if this sounds familiar: you were disheartened upon hearing about the lockdowns and threw the towel in. You ate everything in sight because what does it matter? You can't train "properly" anyway, so why not just eat whatever, whenever? Such is a normal reaction and one you shouldn't beat yourself up for. But it's also the perfect time to switch over to what is referred to as maintenance calories.

Eating at "maintenance calories" refers to eating the same amount of calories you burn daily. The benefit of this approach is that you don't gain fat. For example, let's say Jenny's TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) is 2100 calories. Jenny would tune her macronutrients to 2100 calories to ensure no weight was gained. And so many have opted not to train at all. So that's strategy number one.

Just make sure you're getting enough protein to maintain muscle: ~1.6 - 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. The lower end is advised if you're opting to do no weight training. This will help you maintain as much muscle as you can despite no muscle work.

Strategy number two involves maintenance calories again, but with added weight training. This is a great way to maintain what you have until the gyms open again, without gaining any fat. If this is what you want, then we'd advise you to order a home barbell, and take a look at this home workout we've put together for you below:

Monday: Chest, quads, back, hamstrings.

Tuesday: Shoulders, Triceps, glutes, biceps.

Wednesday: Quads, chest, back, hamstrings.

Thursday: REST

Friday: Repeat Monday (Chest, quads, back, hamstrings)

Saturday: Shoulders, triceps, rear delts, biceps

Sunday: REST

We've touched on this workout in previous posts, but it's critical you understand just how challenging and effective it really is!

Muscle growth is still possible with the right attitude and equipment at home.
Muscle growth is still possible with the right attitude and equipment at home.

Monday: (Chest, quads, back, hamstrings) Aim for 12-15 reps (and do more on all days where you can)

  • 4 x weighted push-ups (place a small weight on your back and perform push-ups).
  • 4 x walking barbell lunges 
  • 4 x barbell bent-over rows (OR, chin-ups or inverted rows at the playground)
  • 4 x stiff-legged deadlifts

Tuesday: (Shoulders, Triceps, glutes, biceps) Aim for 12-15 reps.

  • 4 x military barbell press (standing)
  • 4 x lying barbell triceps extension (Do this lying on the ground with a towel, or the grass. We're assuming you don't have a fitness workout bench).
  • 4 x elevated single-leg hip thrust. (For example, when working the right glute, simply place the barbell on the right thigh and balance it with both hands, then perform a rep. You're targeting one glute at a time. You can use a chair or even your lounge to lean back on). 
  • 4 x barbell curls (standing)

Wednesday: (Quads, chest, back, hamstrings) Aim for 12-15 reps.

  • 4 x barbell Bulgarian split squat
  • 4 x decline push-ups
  • 4 x barbell bent-over rows (OR, chin-ups or inverted rows at the playground)
  • 4 x stiff-legged deadlifts

Thursday: Rest.

Friday: Repeat Monday's workout. Aim for 12-15 reps.

Saturday: (Shoulders, triceps, rear delts, biceps) Aim for 12-15 reps.

  • 4 x Standing side raises
  • 4 x bench dips (place some weights on your lap to make it harder! Try using a chair or a step (that will act as a bench) to ensure stability.
  • 4 x rear delt raise (standing). (On the weight plates you'll see little handles. You're going to hold these handles in a way that they act like dumbbells).
  • 4 x barbell curls (standing).

Sunday: Rest.

Also, as touched on above on "back" day, you can mix it up by attending playgrounds to do chin-ups (outdoor exercise is currently acceptable by law at the time of writing). There are also parts of a playground you can use for step-ups and inverted bodyweight rows (pictured below).

Inverted bodyweight rows. Playgrounds have many creative opportunities for muscle growth.
Inverted bodyweight rows. Playgrounds have many creative opportunities for muscle growth.

How can I grow muscle at home during a lockdown?

The third strategy involves going all out with the above gym program but eating for muscle growth with a mild calorie surplus. 

We don't need to eat a huge surplus for muscle growth. Research shows a small surplus of 360 - 480 calories only!

So if Bulk Nutrients customer Jackson has a TDEE of 2000 calories, then he'd simply need to eat 2360-480 calories per day during the lockdown, whilst doing the program above (and sticking to the aforementioned protein requirements). 

Now let's be clear: the program above isn't the same as going to the gym. But when pushed to muscle failure, growth can still occur with a home barbell. And it's certainly better than nothing!

So there are three strategies to prevent you from "giving up" during the covid-19 induced lockdowns; the best strategy is the one you're more inclined to follow, and how motivated you are to do so. All the best with your bulking goals!

References:

  1. Slater GJ, Dieter BP, Marsh DJ, Helms ER, Shaw G, Iraki J. Is an Energy Surplus Required to Maximize Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy Associated With Resistance Training. Front Nutr. 2019;6:131. Published 2019 Aug 20. doi:10.3389/fnut.2019.00131
  2. Stokes T, Hector AJ, Morton RW, McGlory C, Phillips SM. Recent Perspectives Regarding the Role of Dietary Protein for the Promotion of Muscle Hypertrophy with Resistance Exercise Training. Nutrients. 2018;10(2):180. Published 2018 Feb 7. doi:10.3390/nu10020180
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