THE OFFICIAL BLOG OF RAHUL HARSH RAJE

Sharing nuggets of knowledge and ideas accumulated on health, strength and fitness based experiences. While here, feel free to hit the comments section and share your invaluable feedback about the blog's betterment. Have fun.

Friday, 1 May 2020

WHAT WOULD CHANGE AFTER THE LOCKDOWN

A carelessly handled strand of virus has changed the way we live forever.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, complete or partial lockdown has been the go-to resort for most nations across the globe. While effective in reducing the doubling rates of the cases, it has brought about significant restrictions in our once carefree lives.

But restrictions or adversities can open up new ways and introduce us to ourselves.

In a lot of ways, living, eating, moving and playing will experience a dramatic and almost permanent shifts. People across the globe have already started considering to tailor their activities to occupy a 'smaller footprint'. Long walks have become marches across the house. Road runs have become running around the house perimeter or rope skipping. Swimming seems to have become an almost extinct activity overnight and I fear I may lose all my limited ability to flutter kick in a water higher than six feet all this time.

In this time of most granted luxuries being almost unfairly snatched away from us, it is restorative to relax and rethink what we have been doing all this while and chisel the extra 'ceramic' off our sculptures.

If you are like me, you would have already used this period as a renaissance for your training and health endeavors by now.

The spotlight would remain on a few significant areas of physical training and lifestyle management:

HOME WORKOUTS ARE BUSTING THE CHARTS

More importantly, setting up a small exercise space in your house or balcony, or what I'd prefer calling a 'Courage Corner' would become a part of most people's interior decoration. The usual belief that you 'need' a gym to get better will be got done with. After you have lost close to 5 to 6 kilos doing kettlebell swings with a single kettlebell for two months, you will be shocked to know how little YOU actually needed when it comes to exercise hardware. My forecast is people will shift to either extreme of the weight loss continuum after a long lockdown: They will either become a gluttonous over-sized mammoth adaptations of themselves; or become a wiry, reasonably stronger and significantly leaner versions of themselves. You might witness changes in some driven home-warriors they were never able to earn during their overhauled hours after hours of workouts in Planet Fitness or Gold's Gym.



Training at home and developing your own training zone gives you a greater purpose and priority for physical transformation. You might be devoid of a lot of space-intensive options but the dearth of options will take care of itself in the form of lending an unseen innovation to you to create a winning combination with minimalist choices.

REDISCOVERY OF THE POWER OF BODYWEIGHT TRAINING

Open your Instagram and go to any of the highly featured fitness coach or exercise-fashionista out there and you will see a common theme since the pandemic broke out: Everyone or the other is doing a form of pushup, or pullup, or bodyweight squat or giving a bodyweight touch to any other weight or machine based movement they were doing all this while. Unknowingly, almost all of them are tapping into this uncharted territory of the School Of Bodyweight skills that can teach us more than we have a chance to grasp ever doing partial super heavy deadlifts in a power rack. Lessons in total body tension and linkages throughout the body as Pavel Tsatsouline would like to call it.



Callisthenics, especially the High Tension bodyweight drills like one legged squats and one arm pushups, one of the most underrated training style in existence have resurfaced as the savior of strength and health in the form of high-output and less-investment strength drills that can be done anywhere and not let you become a wimp or lose your man-card ever. One of the biggest myths paralyzing most exercise enthusiasts today is the mindless chase of 'size' or the 'bodybuilding mindset' making us myopic towards the brightest tool of training we have been blessed with all our life: 'Our Own Bodies'. 'Health-Building' over bodybuilding is the right way to go if we need to keep sound gains in our strength and appearance coming for ages and ages.

THOSE OFT OVERLOOKED 'EXTRAS' AND 'IN-BETWEENS' WOULD GET THE ATTENTION THEY DESERVE

We used to call them 'correctives'. Joint mobility, flexibility, movement preparation, cardio and similar additives. Well, they might not just stay as additives any more. Being indoors gives most of these equipment-less training pieces more opportunity to be trained on their own right. Moving better will have a self-explanatory carryover to your main workouts.

A word of caution though: Do not overdo them believing in the 'more is better' cool-aid. Treat correctives like a dose of medicines and try to prevent overdoses.

TRAINING WOULD ONCE AGAIN BECOME MORE 'MEDITATIVE'

You're in a big box commercial gym surrounded by about 50 more sorry people like you drenched in sweat and participating in a 'grab that barbell before anyone does' contest. You have your last set of 300 left with the deadlift and you can see scores of bar snatchers surrounding you who are least interested in how technically proficient you are in execution of the pull but to grab the bar on that last rep and disappear into oblivion with the bar and the plates combined. And did I mention the blunt stares you get when you are compelled to do the same to someone else?

In a space surrounded by swarms of people and chaos, your mind has no option but to give up all ideas to stay sane and indulge in a battle to gather resources. The prime purpose of you being in a training facility gets defeated and unnecessary struggles take over.



 Now imagine you with your 24 Kg kettlebell sitting in front of you in your quiet living room. Nobody is trying to rob it away from you. The blank emptiness of the room is a striking contrast from the mayhem you just witnessed in the gym. Your mind can solely focus on the crisp movement of the lifts you are going to perform.You achieve what was inevitably unachievable elsewhere: You can link your mind in a mindful manner to the movement. You get one with the lift. You get in the 'Zone'. There's no one coming over, tapping your back in between a set and telling you 'Hey Bro, here, let me correct your form on this'.

Getting into the zone is highly therapeutic and can drastically shift your attitude to the positive side of the continuum.

EVERYTHING AROUND YOU STARTS LOOKING LIKE TRAINING EQUIPMENT

A couch or a sofa to do hip thrusts from, a ledge to hang on it for doing some rock-climber pullups, a towel to wet and wring for training the grip and core, a pair of chairs to do pushups or dips between. The more I am staying indoors, the more ideas are springing up to device a challenging variation of a bodyweight exercise.

Here's a powerful exercise that can be done whether you're in your household or in a hotel room. Take a thick towel and a bucket filled with mater till a mark. Soak the towel with water as much as possible. Then wring the towel dry using the entire force of your body till all the soaked water from the towel is rinsed back into the bucket and it is full again till the marked point on it. You will be shocked to know how much stronger this simple exercise can make you over a long run of time. The trick is to use your entire body, right from the hands to the feet by generating total body tension to squeeze the water out of the towel.

TRAINING WOULD GET MORE PORTABLE

I've been thinking of making my strength programs handy enough to be carried in a travel bag to guarantee assured consistency and near zero failure rate since a long time now. Notice something similar with the lockdown? We are dealing with a situation where a training approach exactly like this is coming to help. I think the lockdown has given us just the right time to come up with ideas and improvisations to let that happen.

A simple yet progressive strength program with very few moving parts is not only fool-proof, you can also carry it with you anywhere in the world. Come on, you can do a Pistol Squat on the cliffs of the Himalayas as crisply as you can in a Submarine around the Arctic. All travel woes and worry for training get solved.

You can carry a suspension training attachment such as a TRX, a set of push up handles and assortment of resistance bands or training springs or cables in an unbelievably small space in you bag and can still have room to store so much more. You're only limited by your imagination.

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