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No gym? Secret to making gains…

Between the first shut down when this pandemic started and the recent Highland Park shut down of gyms (which has now been lifted), our gym has been closed a total of 3 months this year.

Needless to say, we’ve all become a little more familiar with the home gym setup.

I’ve seen some pretty fantastic setups, but most of us are stuck with a few dumbbells or bands.

I’ve talked extensively in the past about the importance of lifting heavy weights and challenging yourself in your program to elicit muscle growth. This, by the way, is important not only for athletes (for obvious reasons) but also adults looking to improve longevity.

But how do you really make significant strength improvements when you are limited to lighter weights?

Well, I have two suggestions. Both are based on some of the research I’ve been thumbing through.

Studies have shown that even if you are using a weight that is 30% of your 1 rep maximum (which is simply the most weight you could lift or move for 1 single rep) you can still make strength gains if you are training close to failure.

So what does all that mean in layman’s terms? Basically, you can still make great progress with lightweight, you just need to be really diligent about significantly increasing your rep count and actually making sure that you are truly challenging yourself.

Now, I’m not saying doing 47 reps of squats is the most fun thing in the world, but just like everything else in 2020, you must figure out a way to get it done.

A secondary option for increasing strength and muscle size might actually surprise you…

Sprint training.

Yep, some of the studies that have come out lately suggest that sprinting alone can increase your lower body strength and size. Although the data isn’t as solid as the first strategy, it’s still another option that’s worth trying.

I’m aware that not everyone reading this will have the ability to incorporate sprint work, and that’s OK – just focus on the lightweights and incorporating a significant amount of reps.

But for those who can sprint…Do it!

Start light – maybe 75% of your top speed. Try 10 sprints of 50 yards at three-quarters speed for a few weeks. If it feels good, take it up to 80%. DON’T rush into it! If you pull a hamstring don’t blame me either. You need to be careful and ramp up slowly. Unless you’re under 21…then your invincible. 🙂

All that being said, stay after it. Try out these strategies and let me know how it goes. Keep pushing yourself and reach out if you need help.