Tuesday Tips: Workout Ideas for When You Can’t Get to the Gym

All hope is not lost!

Tuesday Tips are presented by Spin Ultimate; all opinions are those of the author. Please support the brands that make Ultiworld possible and shop at Spin Ultimate

This article was originally published on the Breakside Strength & Conditioning website. Breakside S&C is owned by Ultiworld Inc.

If you’re on a Breakside Strength and Conditioning program, you know that having access to at least a moderately well-equipped gym is strongly encouraged. There are simply no good long-term substitutes for barbells.

But you won’t always be able to get to the gym. That’s more true than ever right now, as the coronavirus pandemic closes down gyms and even going to available, open gyms may be too risky given the proximity to other people at a time when social distancing is a must.

It’s worth noting that you cannot contract coronavirus from sweat, only through respiratory droplets or by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth after contact with a contaminated surface. Of course, there are many potentially contaminated surfaces in a gym — like barbells, dumbbells, and benches — so, if you do decide to go to the gym, be sure to wipe down equipment with disinfecting wipes before and after use, and wash your hands regularly while avoiding contact with your face.

But if you can’t or don’t want to go the gym, here are some ideas for at-home or outdoor workouts you can do to keep yourself in ultimate shape.

Run Sprint or Agility Workouts

Any kind of outdoor workouts where you’re not around other people will be good options, so if you have access to a track or an empty field, you can do various track workouts.

  • Run repeat 20s, 50s, 100s, or 200s at top velocity, focusing on quality form, to work on developing your sprinting. Make sure you’re taking at least a 5:1 rest:work ratio. So if you do a 20 second sprint, rest at least a minute and 40 seconds. A good sprint workout is full body — you’ll feel it the next day!
  • Work on agility with a Pro Agility Shuttle
  • Try falling starts or other speed and form drills

Get some At-Home Equipment

Let me show you just the thing you need:

That right there is an over-the-door-jamb pull up bar, which can be yours from Amazon for less than $30.

You can do pullups. You can do chinups. You can do L-hangs and toes-to-bar. You can put it on the ground and do ergonomic, deep pushups. You can do tricep dips. You can use it to fend off intruders.

Even if you live in a small New York City apartment like me, you can get a great at-home upper body workout with this single, inexpensive implement.

I also recommend getting…

…one or two kettlebells!

They are very compact, so you can keep them just about anywhere, and you can get a wide variety of workouts done with them, including swings, shoulder presses, Turkish getups, snatch, rows, and just about anything you could use a dumbbell for.

They come in a ton of weight options: if you want to cover a lot of bases, try getting 18 lb, 35 lb, and 53 lb ones. If you’re feeling frisky, grab a 70 lb one as well.

They’re definitely more expensive than a pull-up bar, but they’re even more versatile. You can also use them as a conversation starter bookend or door stop.

You can also get an ab wheel (very cheap! compact!), hugely versatile exercise bands, and you can even use a frisbee as a slider for squats and lunges.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with weight implements either — fill up a suitcase until it’s heavy and walk around with for a simple farmer’s carry.

Our most recent podcast dives into some additional ideas and tips on just this topic.

Do Yoga

Be honest: how seriously are you working on your flexibility?

Hopefully you’re not skipping the warmups and cool downs during your normally scheduled workouts, where you’ll get some of that work. But even better is to add some yoga to your routine.

It’s not just stretching — it’s real strength and endurance building in beneficial body positions that will help you feel better on the field, improve your balance, and more.

There is a ton of great free yoga on YouTube that you can do in the comfort of your own home.

If you need, grab a cheap yoga mat and get into a three-times-a-week routine. I promise you’ll be glad you did. It’s an important part of anyone’s workout regimen — you’ll start to notice how often warmups and “dynamic stretching” are just borrowing from yoga.

Here’s a perfect starter video (Yoga with Adriene is the best):

Get a Program

If you’re a Breakside subscriber, we have an at-home workout program for those that need to get through these next few weeks without a gym. And you can also check out some other at-home workout ideas from a past Tuesday Tips!

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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