Preparing Physically for Your Summer Adventures During a COVID Winter

30th Nov 2020

Posted by Lynn Perkes on

Preparing Physically for Your Summer Adventures During a COVID Winter

As winter sets in, especially in areas where snow and cold define your geographical location, many of us begin contemplating the adventures we will take when spring and summer arrive. Many of those adventures may require a body that is conditioned and ready to handle the stresses and strains in order to effectively engage in and enjoy them.

For me, spring and summer (and yes fall too) are filled with many outdoor adventures – hiking, fishing, camping, and exploring – many of which take place in Yellowstone National Park, our favorite location of all. Hiking is the mode that gets me to where I want to camp, the rivers and lakes I will fish, and the hidden gems to be found in nature only by getting off the beaten path. Yellowstone has over 900 miles of trails to hike and over 300 backcountry camping sites, offering adventures most visitors to the park will never experience.

This then requires a consistent exercise program throughout the winter months to be prepared to make the most of these adventures. 2020 has been an interesting year to say the least. Of the many difficulties and challenges that have come to so many due to the worldwide pandemic, one has been our efforts to improve or maintain our health and fitness by working out with so many gyms and fitness centers forced to close.

The Need for a Home Exercise Program

Granted, some individuals have quite an impressive home gym with a large variety of fitness equipment for both cardio and resistance training, and good for them. Many of us do not have this luxury due to finances or space constraints, but want to continue our winter conditioning efforts to be ready for our summer adventures where social distancing is a built in benefit of the great outdoors.

Therefore, I decided to design a home exercise program using minimal equipment that would yet provide a comprehensive resistance-training stimulus to keep the muscles of the body conditioned and ready to hike and explore come summer. Structure or governing guidelines for this program includes:

  • Because time is precious and in today’s world where there seems to be an ever increasing demand for our time, we must prioritize and use wisely the hours we have each day. Therefore, this program is designed to be completed in a short period of time while working all major muscle groups by adhering to appropriate rest periods of one to three minutes between sets.
  • Only a minimal of equipment, and therefore little expense, is needed for the program: 2 dumbbells, 1 kettlebell, and a few exercise bands. Because the level of resistance is less than what a person might lift in a gym or fitness center, (no squat or bench press racks, etc. available at home) the number of repetitions are higher and thus the focus is more on muscular endurance as compared to strength, perfect for hiking which demands endurance over strength.
  • The program is divided into exercises that work the upper body and those that work the core and lower body, designed in a way that the program could be divided up over a few workouts during the day or completed in one session.
  • The following guidelines will be helpful in determining the amount of weight of the kettlebell and dumbbells you will use:
  • oThe amount of the kettlebell weight, used in performing squats and shrugs, should be such that it challenges you to complete sets of 25 to 40 reps to failure or near failure (yup, we want to feel the burn) for each exercise.
  • oThe weight of the dumbbells, used in performing biceps curls, triceps press, shoulder abductions, and the lawnmower pull exercises, should be such that it challenges you to complete sets of 20 to 30 reps to failure or near failure (yup, again working to fatigue our muscles) for each exercise.
  • oSelect exercise bands with enough resistance to challenge you to complete sets of 20 to 25 reps to failure or near failure.

Note: You may need to make adjustments to the number of *reps per exercise as influenced by the weight of your kettlebell and dumbbells and your current fitness level. No problem, as you determine the number of reps best for your current level, you can adjust the number of reps and/or the amount of weight.

Exercise

Upper Body

(exercise equipment)

Set *Reps (reps to near failure - exhausted) Primary Muscles Worked
Push-ups

(Floor)

1-2 TBD by you Pectorals (maj & min), Triceps, Ant Deltoid, Scapular Protractors (Pectoralis Minor and Serratus Anterior)
Biceps Curls

(Dumbbells)

1-2 TBD by you Biceps, Brachialis, Brachioradialis
Triceps Press

(Dumbbell)

1-2 TBD by you Triceps
Shoulder Abductions

(Dumbbells)

1-2 TBD by you Deltoids

Upper Trapezius as stabilizer

Shrugs

(Kettlebell)

1-2 TBD by you Scapular Elevators (Upper Trapezius, Levator Scapula)
Lawnmower Pulls

(Dumbbell)

1-2 TBD by you Lats, Post Deltoid, Scapular Retractors (All Trapezius and Rhomboids)
Dips

(Chair)

1-2 TBD by you Pectorals, Anterior Deltoid, Coracobrachialis, Scapular Depressors (Pectoralis Minor, Lower Trapezius)


Exercise

Core & Lower Body

(exercise equipment)

Set *Reps (reps to near failure - exhausted) Primary Muscles Worked
Squats

(Kettlebell)

1-2 TBD by you Gluteals, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Back Extensors, Gastrocsoleus Complex
Modified Curl-ups

(Floor)

1-2 TBD by you Abdominals
Trunk Rotation Pulls

(Exercise Band)

1-2 TBD by you Abdominals:

Rotation Right = R Internal Oblique, L External Oblique

Rotation Left = L Internal Oblique, R External Oblique

Hip Flexions

(Exercise Band)

1-2 TBD by you Hip Flexors (Iliacus and Psoas Major)

Abdominals as stabilizers

The Cardio Factor

Of course, there needs to be a cardio factor, but this too can be easy accomplished through walking in your house, performing step ups-step downs, or other forms of cardio that you might choose to do. A key minimal threshold of 10-minute increments of cardio can make squeezing this into your workout more doable.

Just Get it Done

We can use this winter season to prepare our bodies for the rigors of our summer outdoor adventures by regularly engaging in exercise. I hope the chart and information included in this article can help you