How to Strength Train Without a Gym

May 8, 2020

There are so many great reasons to do resistance training - even for endurance athletes and self-described non-athletes who simply want to increase healthspan. We know that strength training improves quality of life, bone health, insulin sensitivity, body composition, and neurological health. However, in this uncertain era of COVID-19, commercial gyms are almost universally closed and many people are challenged to find new ways to maintain their training regimen.

On this podcast, NBT Head of Strength and Conditioning, Zach Moore, CSCS is with me to discuss the best strategies for adapting your strength training routine - or starting one - when you don’t have a gym. He describes creative ways to use bodyweight and household items to challenge yourself and load muscles and shares his favourite online resources to refer to for proper form. If you're just considering adding strength training to your routine, Zach also offers a simple way to get started.

Here’s the outline of this interview with Zach Moore:

[00:03:44] Outline for this podcast.  

[00:04:07] 4-quadrant model.

[00:04:32] Study: Westcott, Wayne L. "Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health." Current sports medicine reports 11.4 (2012): 209-216.

[00:04:44] The importance of type II muscle fibers as we age; Study: Nilwik, Rachel, et al. "The decline in skeletal muscle mass with aging is mainly attributed to a reduction in type II muscle fiber size." Experimental gerontology 48.5 (2013): 492-498

[00:06:53] Joe Friel; Podcast: Joe Friel: World-Class Coach of Elite Athletes; Book: Fast After 50: How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life.

[00:07:57] Subjective quality of life; Study: Hart, Peter D., and Diona J. Buck. "The effect of resistance training on health-related quality of life in older adults: Systematic review and meta-analysis." Health promotion perspectives 9.1 (2019): 1.

[00:09:26] Bone health; Studies: 1. Chen, Hung‐Ting, et al. "Effects of different types of exercise on body composition, muscle strength, and IGF‐1 in the elderly with sarcopenic obesity." Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 65.4 (2017): 827-832. 2. Hong, A. Ram, and Sang Wan Kim. "Effects of resistance exercise on bone health." Endocrinology and Metabolism 33.4 (2018): 435-444.

[00:11:35] Muscle as a glucose sink and improvement of insulin sensitivity; Studies: 1. Han, Seung Jin, et al. "Association of thigh muscle mass with insulin resistance and incident type 2 diabetes mellitus in Japanese Americans." Diabetes & metabolism journal 42.6 (2018): 488-495. 2. Croymans, Daniel M., et al. "Resistance training improves indices of muscle insulin sensitivity and β-cell function in overweight/obese, sedentary young men." Journal of applied physiology 115.9 (2013): 1245-1253.

[00:13:11] Body Composition.

[00:14:47] Fewer injuries in athletes; Study: Fleck, Steven J., and Jeff E. Falkel. "Value of resistance training for the reduction of sports injuries." Sports Medicine 3.1 (1986): 61-68

[00:15:47] Resistance exercise results in fewer injuries than other sports, especially if someone is there to teach proper form. Studies: Aasa, Ulrika, et al. "Injuries among weightlifters and powerlifters: a systematic review." Br J Sports Med 51.4 (2017): 211-219; Faigenbaum, Avery D., and Gregory D. Myer. "Resistance training among young athletes: safety, efficacy and injury prevention effects." British journal of sports medicine 44.1 (2010): 56-63.

[00:16:40] Improved endurance performance; Study: Blagrove, Richard C., Glyn Howatson, and Philip R. Hayes. "Effects of strength training on the physiological determinants of middle-and long-distance running performance: a systematic review." Sports medicine 48.5 (2018): 1117-1149

[00:16:50] Podcast: The Importance of Strength Training for Endurance Athletes, with Mike T. Nelson. Podcast: The Importance of Strength and Mobility for Mountain Bikers, with James Wilson.

[00:17:02] Neurocognitive health; Study: Herold, Fabian, et al. "Functional and/or structural brain changes in response to resistance exercises and resistance training lead to cognitive improvements–a systematic review." European Review of Aging and Physical Activity 16.1 (2019): 10.

[00:18:19] Strength training when the gym is closed.

[00:21:58] Incorporating movement into your day.

[00:22:19] Habit stacking; Podcast: How to Get Motivated, with Simon Marshall, PhD.

[00:28:35] Strength training for endurance athletes.

[00:30:58] Elite Performance Members Club Forum.

[00:32:43] Simple workout structure: 2x/week, lower body + upper body push + upper body pull.

[00:37:57] Why some people struggle with strength training.

[00:40:01] Zach’s recommended strength training YouTube channels: Jerry Teixeira for bodyweight exercises; Alan Thrall for barbell exercises when you’re back at the gym.

[00:41:11] Podcast: Movement Analysis and Breathing Strategies for Pain Relief and Improved Performance, with Zac Cupples.

[00:42:08] Exercise videos: pistol squat, Nordic hamstring curl, rows using a table, one-arm pushups.

[00:46:29] Podcast: How to Protect Your Brain from Decline, with Josh Turknett, MD.

[00:48:11] Podcast: Nudge Tactics for Performance and Health, with Simon Marshall, PhD.

[00:49:40] Blood flow restriction training.

[00:53:03] The XTERRA Podcast, with Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson.

[00:53:56] Recovery.

[00:54:49] Podcasts on sleep: with Greg Potter: How to Entrain Your Circadian Rhythm for Perfect Sleep and Metabolic Health; Morning Larks and Night Owls: the Biology of Chronotypes; What to Do When You Can’t Sleep; Better Sleep for Athletes; and Matthew Walker's "Why We Sleep" Is Riddled with Scientific and Factual Errors; with Ashley Mason:  Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Strategies for Diabetes and Sleep Problems; and How to Use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia.

[00:55:07] Sleep important for muscular adaptation with strength training; Study: Jåbekk, Pål, et al. "A randomized controlled pilot trial of sleep health education on body composition changes following 10 weeks resistance exercise." The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness (2020). Also, see this graph.

[00:55:23] Diet: protein, anti-inflammatory whole foods.

[00:56:49] Getting the people you live with involved.

[01:01:27] Support NBT on Patreon.

Join the discussion on the NBT forum when you support us on Patreon.

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