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One Method Making Home Workouts Actually Effective

Upon learning that my gym was closing for the foreseeable future, I was pretty numb. Normally I would’ve been downright distraught, like each year when I have 20 minutes to workout because New Year’s Day is apparently a holiday.

However, COVID-19 is a novel virus that has presented novel problems, which will each require…novel solutions. So, it is fitting that my feelings toward this temporary normal should be unique as well.

Like scores have done before me, I’m here talking about home workouts.

“Home workouts.” “Body-weight training.” These are things that admittedly make my skin curl. But for whatever reason, I’ve embraced the inherent creativity incumbent to each.

Another thing. I’m a bit of a hypochondriac.

For a few days as COVID-19 was starting to spread across the US, I, like many others, monitored my breathing and body temperature with fever pitch (pun intended). And each time my anxiety grew, I’d either go for a walk or grab my 25 lb. dumbbells and get to work.

This has helped me cope with a pandemic.

What is this One Method?

A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article for detailing Myo-reps and why this technique is so great for building or maintaining muscle in times like these. An abbreviated version of the article will be inputted here:

“The ‘size principle’ dictates that as an exercise gets more difficult, more motor units (muscle) are inserted into the game to keep up. Type I fibers are the first in the game, while Type II fibers are then recruited as exercise becomes more intense. Type II fibers are much more akin to gains in both size and strength. This is the reason we must train hard in order to see results.

The beauty of Myo-rep training is that exercises lower in intensity, such as those performed with body weight, resistance bands, etc. can be suitable for gains or maintenance of both size and strength.

Here’s how this relates to Myo-reps (and working out at home)…

By performing one set of exercise to technical failure or close to it, Type II fibers are activated. If the lifter then takes a traditional 1-2 minute rest break prior to performing another set, the “fiber cycling” will start over, beginning with Type I recruitment and ending in full Type II activation. When the load is heavy, say 5RM or below, this is no issue because all fibers are activated from the first rep. 

However, training at home with minimal equipment isn’t exactly conducive to a 5RM. So, what you’ll do is rest 5-15 seconds before performing another 3-5 reps. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. If it’s the final five or so reps that reap the most benefit, those are the reps we should be focusing on by living close to muscular failure. 

I am not sure when public gyms will resume normal hours and activities. However, that doesn’t mean we should throw in the towel. Using Myo-reps for full-body training is beneficial in the mean time

Here’s what a conventional Myo-rep set might look like using push-ups. 

· Set 1: 32 push-ups

· Rest 10 seconds

· Set 2: 5 push-ups

· Rest 10 seconds

· Set 3: 5 push-ups

· Rest 10 seconds

· Set 4: 5 push-ups

· Rest 10 seconds

· Set 5: 5 push-ups”

From my experience, the biggest barrier to completing exercise in this fashion is the mental fortitude it takes to do it. It’s very easy to extend the rest break because you don’t like the song Spotify chose for you or “because my dog keeps jumping on me.” But a dog on your back just sounds like extra resistance to me, so…

If you’re struggling to come up with new exercises because equipment at home is either limited or nil, shoot me a question below.

Stay safe.

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...well done

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