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An insight into a home gym workout for coaches

How to do S&C without a Gym – Part 1

John Shields, Level 3 Coach and Tutor for Athletics Ireland

In these extraordinary times we as coaches are challenged to come up with a programme for our athletes that maintains and even adds to the strength that we have gained over the autumn and winter without having access to a gym. This article is for those who have limited equipment and want to stay fit and strong. There are, however, things that you can purchase online and will not break the bank.

There are three areas that you need to work on. Firstly, the upper body, secondly, the lower body and finally the core. It is easier to work on the upper body and the core outside the gym, the lower body is significantly harder.

With no gym you can work on the upper body through a whole series of press ups. There are normal ones, as well as elevated, rotational, military, clap press-ups and a host of others. Then there are dips which can be done on a chair, a table or any raised object. To add extra resistance, you can wear a backpack with heavy objects in it. If you can afford it you can get

medicine balls, mini bands and resistance bands online from

Examples of these exercises are as follows:

  1. Chest Focused Press Up Variations

  • Press Ups

  • Incline Press Ups

  • Decline Press Ups

  • Rotational Press Ups

  • Band Resisted Press Ups

  • Dumbbell Press Ups

  • Clap Press Ups

  • Medicine Ball Press Ups

  1. Triceps Focused Press Up Variations

  • Narrow Grip Press Ups

  • Narrow Grip Incline Press Ups

  • Decline Narrow Grip Press Ups

  • Band Resisted Narrow Grip Press Up

  1. Dip Variations

  • Bench Dips

  • Bench Dips with feet elevated

  • Parallel Dips

  • Backpack Weighted Parallel Dips

It becomes more challenging to work the lower body, but it can be done. It’s not easy to replicate cleans, squats or deadlifts without a decent amount of external resistance. When doing body weight squats increase the reps significantly to achieve a similar result. Lunges, Split Squats, Single Leg Squats and step ups can be done with high reps producing good results.

An excellent hamstring exercise is a Nordic Curl. Get somebody to hold your ankles or fix them under a chair. RDL’s are another good way to challenge the hamstrings and glutes. Here you will need to do them correctly and use high reps.

For the glutes all sorts of bridges are excellent for strength development as well as work with the resistance bands.

Don’t forget the calves. They can be worked on with single leg calf raises on the stairs or a block.

  1. Lower Body Exercises

  1. Quad-Dominant lower body Exercises

  • Bodyweight Squats

  • Med Ball Squats

  • Walking Lunges

  • Reverse Lunge

  • Split Squats

  • Rear Leg Elevated Split Squats

  • Single Leg Squats

  • Pistol Squats

  • Sissy Squats

  1. Hamstring-Dominant Exercises

  • Single Leg RDL

  • Hamstring Walkouts

  • Hamstring Leg Curls

  • Resistance Band Deadlifts or RDLs

  • Nordic Curl

  • Band Resisted Nordic Curl

  • Sliding Hamstring Curl

  • Straight Legged Bridge

  • Reverse Hyperextensions

  1. Calf Exercises

  • Single Leg Calf Raise on the Stairs

These are simple ways without a gym to get a similar effect and at least maintain the strength you gained. In Part 2 I will talk about ways to challenge the core.

John Shields 10-04-2020

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