Over the next few months, the idea of hitting the gym is looking pretty bleak for many across the globe. With no idea when gym access will be granted again, it can be pretty stressful when thinking about the potential “loss of gains”. We feel you on that and we’re here to help.
Instead of reacting negatively to the situation at hand, we’re trying our best to compile the best resources possible to help others continue to adapt and productively train despite not having a gym, or much equipment for that matter.
We thought it would be a great idea to compile a list of tips and workouts from athletes and coaches from all walks of life and hear what they had to say about not having gym access for a while. The main message throughout, it’s going to be okay and the loss of gym access is only a minor setback in the bigger picture of one’s lifting career.
Will I Lose My Gains?
Probably not as much as you think. For strength athletes that train in a very specific manner, there will be a slight loss when it comes to the specificity of some movements and their maximal strength. It’s also important to realize that a decline in performance with specific sport movements is fairly normal when they’re not practiced regularly – they are skills after all, and the gains made prior to losing gym access will come back.
Additionally, it’s important to acknowledge that most lifters will not be completely detraining, but only shifting the stimulus they’re placing on the body. For context, there’s a difference between loss of strength when there’s a complete cessation of training versus a change in training. Our article that discusses six things that happen to the body when you stop lifting is a great resource to further explain this topic.
Another important aspect to acknowledge is that time spent away from a specific strength sport can actually come with multiple benefits if you approach the situation strategically. Some of these benefits include:
- Mental Refresh/Deload
- Time to Heal Nagging Injuries
- Realign Focus to Weaknesses/Correcting Imbalances
- Improve Adaptations That Have Been Neglected
When you consider the above, gains can actually be made for most, if not all lifters, during this time frame and the whole “lack of gym” can become a net positive for longevity in one’s sport. Gains are not only limited to weight on the bar after all.
8 Workouts From Strength Athletes and Coaches
If you’re running low on at home workout motivation, don’t sweat it because we have you covered. We built out a PDF with seven workouts from a variety of athletes and coaches.
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Athlete Tips for Preserving Strength
However, why take the above just from us? Check out some of the tips below provided by different athletes about preserving strength and making the “no gym” time frame a net positive.
JamaRR Royster | Elite Powerlifter and Strength Coach
Some of us may not have access to a gym and that’s ok. I have a saying and that’s stay committed to your decisions but stay flexible in your approach. This is a great opportunity to set a few new short term goals.
Please do not freak out about losing all your gains immediately. That will not happen so calm the panic and focus on what you can control.
Kari Pearce | 5-Time CrossFit Games Athlete
It is easy to think about all of the negative things associated with something like corona virus, however, we can also find positives. Struggle with Handstand Push-Ups or Pistols? I am sure you can practice those at home because chances are you have a wall.
What about that overhead position that you say needs work? We can all learn how to move better so you can spend extra time on your mobility. I know many of us are afraid of losing those gains, but theres other things we can work on that don’t require a gym or heavy barbell in the meantime.
Francheska Martinez | ONNIT Academy Coach
I love using single leg exercises and eccentric loading when limited on equipment. Also incorporating plyometrics, or even loaded explosive movements can help maintain or even build muscle. If you really want to chase the gains while indoors, add some eccentric loading AND plyometrics to your single limb exercises.
Khan Porter | 6-Time CrossFit Games Athlete
As for preserving “strength loss”, I would say you can build and maintain strength by getting creative with things like tempos. If you can’t squat, some super slow pistols and step up/downs will still work your legs. Same with tempo strict HSPU etc, and try to make sure you’re doing at least one slow controlled strength set per week per body part!
Jennifer Thompson | 11-Time IPF Champion
If you get a good pump, you’re strength will come back fast. Use this time to do strength conditioning/high reps which will transfer over to strength gains when you can get back in the gym.
Think about this as an opportunity to let an injury heal, get in some conditioning, and try something new. Just don’t turn into a CrossFitter!
Angela Gargano | 3-Time American Ninja Warrior Competitor
So I wouldn’t worry about losing your gains during this time. I would put major focus into things we tend to neglect, a.k.a, those “boring” exercises that keep our body healthy and smaller muscle groups.
Our body definitely has muscle memory, so if you focus on the accessory work you will come back 10x stronger and 10x healthier than before. Your gains will not be lost! If anything, you’ll be better for it, just keep moving.
Lulu Faria | CrossFit Coach and Athlete
As for the gains part, everyone just has to be on point with their nutrition. Ryan Fischer (who I look up to very much in the industry) just had surgery and went through 3 months of no working out at all. His body composition didn’t change too much because he just really stayed on point with his nutrition — so if you need some inspiration, check him out!
More At Home Training Content
On the lookout for even more at home training content. Check out some of our favorite no equipment and minimal equipment training content below.
There’s a lot of uncertainty right now for many when it comes to gym access, but it doesn’t have to necessarily be a completely negative ordeal. With a little strategy and a curated mindset towards the current challenge, we can all reap some benefit from this time out of training facilities!