A Random Sapien
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Training Without the Gym

At the time of writing this article, the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) pandemic is limiting our access to gyms and training facilities. Before the closures, I had been training regularly without more than a week off for over five years.

I didn’t have a good at-home fitness solution in place before. Living in an apartment, I have limited space. Over the last months, I’ve cobbled together a small amount of equipment, movements, and progressions that I’m very happy with.

Usual Disclaimer

I’m not a doctor! Talk to a medical professional before starting any fitness routine.

Essential Equipment

A pull up bar

I’ve had several of the door mounted pullup bars that don’t require putting any holes into your walls. By far, I have liked this type the most. The highest bar comes out from the door/wall by a bit over 6 inches. That clearance makes it great the for next essential piece of equipment…

Gymnast Rings

You can do a lot with gymnast rings hanging from the pull up bar. With the caveat that it’s probably harder the taller you are. Unless your door is equally tall, I would imagine. But it’s perfect for me, being a bloke of average height. I’m astonished at how difficult it is to perform short range of motion dips from these rings.

Yoga Mat

For more than just yoga. When you’re in spaceship you for extended periods, this also serves as a nice exercise area. This Manduka mat has served me well for years.

Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor

These are much more accurate and capable in comparison to the wrist worn fitness trackers and smart watches of the day. I chose this bluetooth monitor so I can use it with apps on my phone and not have to bother with a separate device.

I personally use the monitor one to three times a week when the goal of the training session is to sustain heart rate for a given time. By focusing on this heart rate zone training, I’ve been able to take my resting heart rate from ~70 beats per minute (bpm) to ~55 bpm. I’m not entirely sure if it is related, but this has also coincided with a large drop in blood pressure.

The Routine

Consistency, progressions, and always focusing on proprioception, aka the mind-muscle connection are all critical elements of training.

What your training schedule and program looks like depends on where you are in your fitness journey. If you can’t do a pushup, do partial pushups from your knees or even hips. Once you can do a pushup, get to ten in a row, then move on to a more difficult variations.

Likewise, if it has been a while since you’ve worked out, training two days per week for a couple of weeks is great.

There are some of the excellent routines available online. It really doesn’t matter which you choose as long as you are consistent—and make sure the effort required is also consistent. That is, if you can do ten pushups and keep doing it in perpetuity… you’ll get nowhere.

Some great links to get started with routines, more to come!

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