Photos Courtesy Long Beach State Athletics
As the world collectively adjusts to a life spent at home, athletes and non-athletes alike are forced to get creative for their workout needs. With the recent cancelation of all NCAA sports through the remainder of the school year, Long Beach State now has hundreds of student-athletes scattered across the country, unable to access the school’s weight room or participate in group workouts or practices.
That has created a new challenge for LBSU Director of Sport Performance Laura Teel and her staff, with a sudden need to create fun, challenging workouts that athletes can do at home. With reliance on Zoom, Instagram, and YouTube, the staff has been able to give LBSU’s athletes enough guidance to stay in shape on their own.
“Our goal is really to keep (the student-athletes) engaged as much as we can,” Teel said of her current operation. “We provided them with five weeks of at-home programming that required zero equipment. The minute that we knew all of our facilities were closing down, within two days they had that at their disposal.”
That program consisted of two days of strength training using body weight, two days of power training, two days of circuit training, and two days of aerobic conditioning. The staff also put together weekly calendars for how athletes can structure their weeks, and created videos demonstrating some of the movements and exercises for the athletes.
“We weren’t allowed to be in our facilities either, so we were recording all these videos at home. (The athletes) got a good look at our living rooms and garages,” Teel said with a laugh. “It’s proven to work really well. Training should be fun, and we want them to enjoy that process just as they would in the gym. So we’ve tried to find ways to do that even though we’re at home.”
As the weeks of the shutdown drag on, it’s easy to fall into the trap of staying on the couch for most of the day, but it’s important to maintain physical activity even while stuck at home. For those without the luxury of owning their own workout equipment, Teel offered some suggestions to the average person sitting at home looking to stay fit.
“You’ve got to find something that you enjoy doing. Working out shouldn’t be a chore,” Teel explained. “That looks different for everybody. But the simplest advice is just to move; just do something, because something is better than nothing.”
Teel suggested people use density training, which creates a more intense workout just by limiting the amount of rest in-between reps. People can also achieve a more effective workout by slowing down their movements; for example, bending more slowly on the way down during a squat for a more intense exercise, and even holding at the bottom for a few extra beats to maximize a squat’s effectiveness.
In addition to strength training with body weight, getting aerobic exercise to boost heart rate is also key. Teel suggests using circuit training based off the acronym E.M.O.M., meaning Every Minute On The Minute.
“One minute I’ll run 100 meters, the next minute I’ll do 15 burpees, the next I’ll jump rope, or at least pretend to if I don’t have a jumprope,” Teel said. “Say you pick five movements, you do running, jumping, burpees, jumping lunges, and sit-ups. You can go through that for 25-30 minutes and every minute do those reps for about 40-45 seconds.”
While those are some universal tips to get someone moving around the house, there’s also room for creativity in any living situation. For shoulder stability and strengthening work, there isn’t much weight required in those exercises. Teel recommends using canned goods or a book to provide that extra resistance during those exercises. It’s up to everyone to find their own way to be active and stay fit, but there’s always a way to get the job done.
“There’s a lot of things around the house you can use for resistance. Even with a towel we can do rows off of a bannister,” Teel added. “Everyone has a towel and there’s some place in your house that you can wrap it around. Things you normally wouldn’t think you can use, you can get a workout with.”