Five Steps to Get Back in Control of Your Training in Lock Down

author - melissa witmer strength and conditioning

If you've transitioned into lock down recently, you may have gotten off track in your workout routine. This is a tough time. It's okay to give yourself some time and space to come to terms with this new reality we're living in.

Your motivation may have come to a screeching halt. Perhaps you're overwhelmed and anxious by what you see in the news. These are all normal responses to what's happening right now. But listen - we do not know how long lock down is going to last. The truth is, if you want to hang on to your mental and physical health, you are going to need to formulate a plan.

At the UAP, we believe that our role in this crisis is to help you stay connected to your body, your passion, and your community. 

So if you've felt a bit lost, here are five steps to help you assess what you can control, make a plan, and take care of yourself.


Step 1: What is your Objective?

What do you need and what are you expecting from yourself while training in lock down?

Is your aim to continue training with as little interruption in your plan as possible? Do you just want to stay as physically and mentally healthy as you can? Are there particular ways in which you want to improve your skills or strength?

If this seems like a big questions in an uncertain timeline, make it shorter. What is your objective for the next three weeks? Or the next one week?

There is no right or wrong answer here. And perhaps that answer will change in a few weeks time. But having a realistic objective, even if it's a small one, can help keep you focused.

Moving 4-5 days/week is a great objective to start with if you're struggling.

Step 2. What Equipment do You Have?

If you are transitioning to a home gym environment, take stock of what equipment you have available. 

Finding Equipment

Do you have any random equipment hiding in the back of a closet somewhere? A discarded jump rope? Perhaps a basketball or tennis racket you rarely use? Get it all out and put it all in one place.

You may need to get creative in your workouts over the next few weeks. The more tools you have available, the easier that will be.

Buying Equipment

Here's a list I made for UAP members that may be useful to you also: Goes from cheapest/simplest and most versatile to more complex.

  1. Yoga mat
  2. Stability ball
  3. A set of dumbbells (anywhere from 10-25lbs depending on your strength)
  4. Three sets of dumbbells: perhaps go with 10, 25, and 45 lbs sets to cover a variety of exercises.
  5. A bench
  6. A chin-up bar
This list will get you 80% of the way there. You should be able to do almost all of the UAP S&C program exercises. The only thing you'll miss with this setup will be heavily weighted squats and deadlifts. (Most relevant in Off Season Phase 3)
Other options:
- A kettle bell or several of various weights.
- A variety of resistance bands can help with cable column substitutions and with some of the prehab type exercises.
- A medicine ball, especially if you have somewhere to throw it could also be good.
- A jump rope is a cheap and versatile piece of equipment that can add some fun and variety to your conditioning.
- A weight vest can help you add more resistance to lunges and squats in addition to dumbbells. You can also use if for adding more resistance to traditional bodyweight exercises.
After this point we're talking about more complexity and expense like bars, plates, and squat racks.
Even if your region is not on lock down now, I highly recommend making some preparations for several weeks of at home workouts. If a lock down is announced, it will all happen rapidly so wash your hands and go find equipment sooner rather than later. Or better yet, order it online.

Getting Creative

Can you find and additional object or piece of furniture to double as a piece of exercise equipment?
A sturdy table can be used for inverse rows (a chin up substitution). A large water bottle can be used as a dumb bell or to add resistance to core exercises. 

Step 3: Decide on a Time

What Times and Days will you set aside to work out this week and next? 

If you've been sporadic this past week, what's been working and what hasn't?

Learn from your failures and try new ways of doing things. Maybe the times you used to work out just aren't working for some reason. That's okay.

Remember, this is a time to be nice to yourself by finding a way to prioritize taking care of yourself. Find a way that works for your life and environment as they are now, not as you wish them to be.

Whether in lock down or not, having a time set aside to train every day will help you keep up good habits. Maybe even find a workout accountability partner. Even if you're not doing the same workouts, having a time to meet up online with your gym clothes on can help!

Step 4: Decide on a Weekly Schedule

What do you want your weeks to look like? Do you want to do the same thing each day? Probably not.

So decide on a weekly schedule. Even if you don't execute it perfectly, it will help you stay focused.

If you are not working, or working from home, it's easy to let one day flow into the next. It's easy to decide to do that workout "tomorrow." Combat this with a weekly plan.

If you are on the UAP S&C program:
You can stick with your regular schedule as planned. I will help you adapt to at home workouts. Please look at the lock down resources available on the front page as you log in to help get you started. We will be posting a bodyweight only phase as soon as we can for those of you who are stuck with no equipment (like me!). The full phase will become available within the next 2 weeks.

If you are not in the UAP:

An example schedule could look something like:

M: Upper body strength
T: Conditioning
W: Lower body strength
R: Conditioning
F: Full body strength
Weekend: Extra yoga, mobility, or tissue work

I will have short workouts available for you next week that fit into the above schedule. These sessions will be 15-30 minutes long each.

Or look online for workouts that make use of the equipment you have available. 

Step 5: What is your plan for the next several weeks?

By now, you're most of the way there. Hopefully you're feeling a little more in control.

The last step is to simply think ahead a bit more. You have a plan for the coming week. Do you want to repeat that plan several weeks in a row? Do you think you might want to start looking for something more organized?

Starting Simple

The workouts I will release next week will be body weight only. the time required will be about 20-30 minutes per workout. They are a great option if your objective is to have something simple you can do every day to stay healthy and fit.

Though they are simple, they are still designed with ultimate in mind. I have paid special attention to exercises that will help reduce your injury risk when you transition out of lock down, back on to the field.

We will be releasing these workouts next week in our free Social Distance Training Tips group on Facebook

Join our Social Distance Training Tips Facebook Group here

More Organized

In our UAP - Strength and Conditioning program we'll have a complete body weight phase available with several progressions. Or if you have some of the equipment listed above in this post, you can start on our periodized plan. If you're finding yourself with and unexpected off season, this is the best way to make something good come from your disappointment.