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Covid-19 workouts: A full-body at-home training program to keep you sane during lockdown

Posted by Bulk Nutrients in Workouts

Estimated reading time: 6mins

Covid-19 workouts: A full-body at-home training program to keep you sane during lockdown

Quarantine workouts: Covid-19 Full Body Program for Muscle Growth and Strength During Lockdown

All you need here is a simple barbell. And not a huge Olympic bar that you won't be able to fit anywhere in your house or apartment, but a smaller version. Here's what we mean:

All you need is a simple barbell set up to stay on track with your goals during the lockdown.
All you need is a simple barbell set up to stay on track with your goals during the lockdown.

Olympic bars are 2.2 metres, and the above is only 130 cm and you can take off and add weight as you please. Some of our staff with 10+ years of weight lifting experience have been utilising this barbell during the Covid-19 induced lockdowns, and with great success!

The barbell comes with 2 x 2.5 kg plates, 2 x 5 kg plates, and 2 x 1.25 plates. With the weights on, the barbell weighs about 18-20 kilograms in total. But be aware: they are quite heavy and can damage tiles or floorboards, so be sure to use them on the grass or a solid flooring foundation.

The workout we'll be doing is mainly compound movements -- there's no slacking off here! Just old-fashioned hard work. We'll be aiming for 12-15 reps. Now sure, your reps will be higher here than if you were going to the gym, but there's no reason to be alarmed! This is because higher reps have still been shown to grow muscle. Just make sure you're pushing yourself, and not just performing 12-15 reps and placing the weight down. For some exercises you'll be able to do more reps than 12-15 reps and doing this is important, as you need to make sure you're meeting all three principles of muscle growth:

  1. Muscle tension
  2. Metabolic stress
  3. Muscle damage

We'll be having two days off here -- Sunday and Thursdays will be spent recovering.

So, here's what muscle groups we'll be working on each particular day:

  • 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

You can see we're not going for a Monday chest workout, and a Tuesday back workout. This is because we don't have enough weight and/or a variety of exercises to perform as we do in the gym. Secondly, and more importantly, it's not the best way to approach muscle growth. This is because research shows muscle protein synthesis levels return to normal after 48 hours, meaning a given muscle group trained 48 hours earlier can be trained again! Such is a great benefit of this full-body workout approach.

Moreover, you'll notice that within this program, quads, chest, and hamstrings will all be trained three times. And there will be 12 sets for each by the end of the week. This is not a happy accident: research shows that 10-20 sets per week are a good range when muscle growth is the goal.

So let's look at our first-day training together:

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
  • 4 x stiff-legged deadlifts

Tuesday: Shoulders, triceps, glutes, biceps

Aim for 12-15 reps per set

  • 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)
One barbell, but a whole body workout.
One barbell, but a whole body workout.

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
  • 4 x stiff-legged deadlifts

Thursday: Rest.

Friday: Repeat Monday

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).
If you push it with this program, you shouldn't go backwards during Covid-19!
If you push it with this program, you shouldn't go backwards during Covid-19!

Sunday: Rest.

And let us say, that's a difficult program for any lifter regardless of experience! The weight may be lighter than you're used to, but by performing more reps and going close to muscle failure, you're still making great in-roads. It's certainly harder than lifting 6-8 reps in a gym, surrounded by people, and with music blaring! Higher reps to muscle failure are much tougher. But when performed correctly, this is a great alternative for us in this difficult Covid-19 era.

Be sure to stick to your protein requirements and get 8 hours of rest for optimal growth and recovery.

Covid-19 might be here to stay, but so is our determination, workout plans, and muscle growth/maintenance!

References:

  1. Mitchell CJ, Churchward-Venne TA, West DW, et al. Resistance exercise load does not determine training-mediated hypertrophic gains in young men. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2012;113(1):71-77. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00307.2012
  2. Schoenfeld BJ. The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Oct;24(10):2857-72. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e840f3. PMID: 20847704.
  3. Phillips SM, Tipton KD, Aarsland A, et al. Mixed muscle protein synthesis and breakdown after resistance exercise in humans. Am J Physiol. 1997;273:E99–E107.
  4. Schoenfeld BJ, Ogborn D, Krieger JW. Dose-response relationship between weekly resistance training volume and increases in muscle mass: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Sports Sci. 2017 Jun;35(11):1073-1082. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2016.1210197. Epub 2016 Jul 19. PMID: 27433992.

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