When it’s not working out
It’s Monday. Again. Which means it’s time to set a plan, start a fresh week, and capitalize on what we can as best as we can. I’m talking about movement. About making moving our bodies, breaking a sweat, and putting in the work.
We can’t change the fact that gyms are closed and we can’t throw around the weights, swing on the rigs, or run on the treadmills that we did a month ago. But what we can do is throw away the excuses and learn about what methods exist to get a great workout in with minimal to no equipment.
Reframe your mind and rethink your workouts. Because right now, there is not other choice.
The ideas shared below will help you realize just how much is possible when you have little to now equipment.
Oh and one more quick note:
This is for the zero fluff minded people.
The stop making excuses and put your head down and work individuals.
The ones who, like me, have gotten angry at their lack of options and then even angrier that they reacted that way and let their minds play the victim card.
If you want to be told to take a rest day or it’s okay to skip something and do whatever you’re comfortable with, you can stop reading now.
get in, get out, and make it count
- Simply put, volume is the amount of an exercise you do, like the amount of repetitions
- Intensity is how hard that exercise is, like the amount of weight.
- When it comes to doing specific exercises, capitalize on volume. In a world where you used to do 10 reps of push ups, go for rounds of 15 or 20.
- In regards to cardio and running, this is where you can capitalize more on intensity. Swap your 30 minute jog for 15 minutes of hard sprints. Shorter time, higher intensity.
- But overall, when I’m thinking about exercises and annoyed I can’t throw around a barbell, it’s time to opt for volume.
- Yesterday, I wanted to do some straight leg deadlifts using the one set of dumbbells that I have. I have one pair of 35lb dumbbells and have been exhausting my options and my rep schemes. Now because I only have this one set of weights, I can’t increase my intensity by going heavy. And I really can’t get myself in a rage because of that either because what good is that going to do. Therefore, I increased my reps. In a world where maybe I’d do 15 reps unbroken, I’m doing 20.
- How many times in the past have you done 10 squats or 10 dips without thinking to increase your volume? Right now, go big. Go for giant sets.
- One of my personal favorites, do 400m of lunges. It will suck, and you will hate it. But wow is it good.
- Cam Hanes, endurance athlete, bow hunter, and all around badass, likes to say “endurance is king.” And yes, this can apply to muscular endurance and high volume. It’s Cam’s world and we are just living in it.
- Along the lines of increasing volume is the idea of working to failure.
- Failure is exactly what it means. You go until you quite literally cannot do any more. Push ups are a great test of failure. I’m not talking feeling shaky at the top and dropping to your knees to shake out and then keep gong. I’m taking, collapsing to the ground because the thought of one ore rep is actually impossible. I promise you won’t die. You’ll love it.
- I’ve started to work to failure with my dumbbells as well. Going for goblet squats or setting up my “chest press” on the unopened shelf box I have and repping it out until I can’t anymore.
- Working to failure is a great test of mental strength. When you’re doing working those push ups to failure. Pause and reflect back. Could you have done one more? Did you give up too soon? Or did you really work to failure. Next time. Go one rep more.
- Working tempo is a great way to burn out your muscles and focus on something other than the same basic movement.
- For example, consider the squat. Your standard body weight squat. If you were to do a squat right now and count it out in your head it would probably be something like, down 1 count up 1 count pause, down 1 up 1 pause, etc. But when you play with tempo. Like down 1,2 pause at the bottom 1,2 up 1,2, it changes the game. Adding a pause at the bottom of a squat or lunge is brutal. Try it.
- Let’s take a bicep curl. Assuming you have a set of light weight, try this: Starting with dumbbells down at your sides, curl weights up for a 1 count, then down for a 3 count and repeat 10x. Then, without dropping the weights, go immediately into a burnout set of 20 reps. To equal a giant set of 30. 10 tempo bicep curls, 20 burnout curls.
- Tempo changes everything and turns your standard moves into true burners.
- Maximize efforts in a specific amount of time.
- Doing 5 rounds or 10 rounds of exercises is great. Going out for a few mile run is fine. But using a stop watch or any clock to push you to get the most within a specific window by eliminating or drastically reducing rest time or time spent going through the motions.
- Let’s say you have 10 minutes to move. Set the clock and know that in 10 minutes you will be done. Two great methods for capitalizing on time are doing AMRAPs or EMOMs.
- AMRAP: As Many Rounds and Reps As Possible
- In 10 minutes do as many rounds of:
- 20 push ups
- 20 sit ups
- 20 squats
- 20 alternating jump lunges
- Don’t stop, keep going, get as many rounds and reps as possible in that 10 minutes.
- EMOM: Every Minute on the Minute for 10 minutes
- Min 1: 20 push ups
- Min 2: 20 air squats
- Starting on the 1st minute you hit your 20 push ups. The remaining time within that minute is your rest time. Once the clock hits 2 it’s time for 20 air squats. Again the reaming time is your rest time before it’s back to push ups. The harder you go, the more rest time. The longer it takes, the shorter that rest time becomes. Which, of course, is the point.
- I’ve also started to eliminate working for reps and instead work for a set amount of time. For instance, rather than doing 15 chest press, let’s see how many reps I can get in 45 seconds .
- Timing helps eliminate the bullshit that comes with a standard workout. The taking-a-5-minute-rest-between-sets type BS.
Here are a couple workouts to get you started:
EMOM 15 minutes:
Min 1: 15 push ups
Min 2: 25 air squats
Min 3: 200m sprint (or 45sec)
AMRAP 20 minutes:
10 push ups
15 Kettlebell or dumbbell swings
These are trying times and boy is it easy to get frustrated. Sitting out is a lot easier than changing up how we approach our workouts. But focusing on shorter, harder efforts, higher volume, and tempo and time over amount of reps can help us make the most out of what we have. Especially when what we have is very little.
And if you’re looking for some inspiration and ideas. Check out Cory Gregory or Ryan Fischer. These are my two go-to savages at the moment.
And if you want to check out the most savage of all monsters out there. Here’s some David Goggins to give you some perspective: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy5c2k3W458
Write out your week, set a plan, set a time, thing giant sets and high volume, and get the job done.