While we’re all staying at home during this COVID-19 craziness, it’s easy to lament and wallow in your lack of progress – whether that be in fitness, strength, rehab or pain.
We’re all thrown off of our normal routines. We’re in a different environment – and things like fitness goals can sometimes feel like they’re slowly starting to fall off of the rails. Personally, I have found it difficult to find motivation while sitting on my couch at home.
That’s why I’ve provided a few “staple” lower body movements you can do anytime or anywhere, in your home or office to keep you moving pain free and jump start your at home fitness goals. Skip down towards the bottom if you don’t want to learn about all of this!
These exercises can all be completed without any sort of equipment and they provide a great training stimulus when programmed appropriately. Need some help with programming? We help clients all over the country stay fit and mobile with our remote rehab & performance coaching. Click here to learn more.
When talking about building strength and resilience there are a variety of ways to elicit the targeted stimulus of building muscle size and strength. At a 10,000 foot view, without taking a deep dive down into physiological processes, there are 3 basic ways we at Limitless manipulate movements to continue to build strength and resiliency without just throwing more weight or load at a movement – which is hard to do anyways with limited exercise equipment in our garages and basements!
- Take advantage of “TUT” (Time Under Tension)
- Push a movement until failure
- Movement grouping
(1) Time Under Tension
This method has a variety of names that have reached popularity in training slang. Performing “negatives”, “eccentric reps/training” or “isometrics” all fall under this very useful way of training.
Essentially, slowly moving through lengthening phase of the muscle or maximal contraction while holding a portion of the movement, provides a unique stimulus to the muscle fibers involved in creating strength gains without the need for increased resistance. For example, when performing a pull up, slowly lowering yourself from the bar down towards the floor on a 5 second count or during a lunge, hold the bottom portion for 10 seconds to increase time under tension. This form of training is well documented in literature to promote tendon health, robustness and decrease pain while improving strength– Just another reason we love this style of resistance training especially in those who have underlying tendon irritation or injury. We recommend anywhere from 3-10 second eccentric contractions or lowerings and varying amounts of isometric hold times exist (5-60 seconds) depending on the movement to achieve the best results. Start with a smaller amount of time and work your way up to longer durations.
(2) Push a Movement to Failure
This concept is fairly simple. Yet, it so often under-utilized in our current world of training and injury prevention. Working to failure requires the use of a moderate or light amount of resistance and performing good quality, full range of motion repetitions of a particular movement. The trick with working to failure is truly knowing what failure is. Working until true muscle failure is very challenging and oftentimes painful in the best way. Feeling the “burn” is what we strive for here. My caveman-esque rule of thumb for training to failure is to go until you cannot go anymore…and then do 3 more reps (with quality technique and full range of motion that is!)
(3) Movement Coupling/Grouping
This can also be known as “super-setting” of “giant-setting” movements together (which we love at Limitless); however, when talking about building strength and resiliency, we need a more detailed thought process than just slapping two movements back-to-back.
When we prescribe this type of method for a client, we incorporate similar movements that target specific structures in a funnel down fashion. We like to start at the mouth of the funnel with a large, broad, movement (squat or hinge/deadlift, for example) that utilizes larger amounts of muscle and motor unit recruitment. We then work our way down the funnel to a more specific area that was targeted within the previous, more broad movement (with the same example: a single leg bridge or step-up). Lastly, we like to finish off this sequence with a pin-point, targeted movement that works a very small but critical component of the movement (think a specific muscle with a very unique and distinct. [For those of you that have ever tried our Rotator Cuff Trio exercise, you’ve experienced this method of training!]. If you haven’t tried it out, check out our previous posts to give it a go.
These 3 methods are just a few of many ways to manipulate your training variables to continue to build strength, reduce pain, and improve your ability to move and do what you love while at home. Utilizing any (or all) of these methods into the Living Room Legs routine is a great way to continue reaching your goals and spice things up, offering you a new challenge while still providing great results.
Living Room Legs (Our Favorite No-Equipment Exercises to Keep Your Legs Strong-At-Home)
Here at Limitless, we’ve been directly impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis by having to close our doors to those who need rehab and therapy services in typical 1-on-1 and face-to-face fashion. We want to continue bringing our excellent service to anyone who needs it.
We were on the forefront of telehealth physical therapy in the State of Michigan, and with over a year of telehealth services already under our belt, our providers are skilled in giving you the care you need-in any capacity-regardless of where you’re at. Additionally, we utilize a state of the art, individualized custom programming platform to provide you with the detailed explanations, personalized videos, and 24/7 communication and accountability that you need to continue to move more and limit less.
Aren’t interested in paying out of pocket? We now can accept and bill your Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan health insurance. Tap an option below to learn more!
About The Author
Matt Zoelling is currently in the final stages of earning his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Indiana State University. Matt is an Oakland University alumnus, receiving his BS in Health Sciences and is a CrossFit Level 1 Certified Trainer (CF-L1). He is Graston technique IASTM Certified, Rockblades FMT IASTM certified, and a Rocktape certified provider with additional training in Myofascial Decompression (Cupping). In addition to being a CF-L1 coach, Matt has extensive knowledge in exercise science principles with a background in strength and conditioning implementation and programming. He is a born and raised Michigan native, with a love for the great outdoors. His passion is rooted in enhancing lives and human performance through optimizing movement while instilling confidence in his clients to overcome their obstacles.