Updated: Sep 27, 2020
I’ve had a few requests for strength ideas that you can do while working from home. To be clear, this isn’t a full at-home strength routine. Lots of people have posted great ideas for those. This is geared toward the working parent who’s not only working from home but also facilitating their kid’s education, taking care of the housework and hopefully taking care of themselves as well.
Think of these ideas as supplements that you can add in while you’re on a conference call, Zoom meeting, working on the computer, etc. Not all of these will work for all situations. Some you can’t do while typing at your computer, and some you may need to turn off video and go to audio-only on your chat.
There are SO many things you can do with a band! And best of all, since you’re emphasizing slower movements, you won’t get out of breath so nobody will ever know!
You can do clamshells, side leg lifts, etc. Anything that works your abductors (the outside of your hip). You can also do kickbacks to work your glutes.
If you’re on an audio-only call, you can do these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22eLXLhl8q8
Eccentric Heel Drops
I haven’t worked with many runners who haven’t had a sore achilles at some point. Get in the habit of doing these at least a few times a week, and you’ll hardly ever have issues. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmnFGUvT_Fs
You can do a lot of strength work for your ankles and lower legs with a band as well. Prepare for those ankle-rolling trails now! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgnMoSHF0qE
Single Leg Strength
The great thing about single-leg strength exercises is that your muscles will likely fatigue far before you get out of breath. So it’s great if you’re on a conference call, and you may be able to do some while doing some types of computer work. Integrate these into your routine a little at a time. The stability demands are very high, and it’s easy to overuse smaller stabilizer muscles and not realize until the next day. If you get good at these, you can do them on a soft surface to further increase the stability demands.
Single-leg Squats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F265xoevqrY
Single-leg Deadlifts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_Ca2YRRdtE
If you have a balance board, use it! I’ve taken to using one while using the computer. Be sure to work both forward/back and side-to-side motion. Only use it as a wobble board (single contact point underneath) if you have great balance.
I like this balance board for its flexibility. You can work just one axis, or turn it into a wobble board. You can also get different sized balls to make it easier/harder. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ORZBZMG/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Ab1EEbV7H7G2G
The Mobo board is a newer product. Though pricy, it is GREAT at working the feet and lower legs. You can use it for both strengthening and stability. If you are prone to ankle injuries, this may be very helpful for you. I can already feel my ankles and feet getting stronger after less than a week with it. https://www.moboboard.com
Don't have any of these and can't buy one? Make your own from things you have around the house. A quick google will show you some different designs, and if you have plywood and basic tools, you can fashion something as good or better than what you'll find online. Don't have time to make one? Use a pillow or some other soft surface.
The Bottom Line
This is a busy and stressful time for many of us. Some people are out of work and concerned about financial implications, others are grappling with the loss of routine because they are working from home, still others may be working harder than they ever have both working from home, teaching their kids, taking care of a family member... you get the idea. Everyone's situation may be different right now, but we're all in this together.
So, give yourself the grace to change your priorities if necessary. Maybe dedicated training has to drop down a few notches on the list. Perhaps adding these in is a way to get some focused work in without adding to your stress.
Regardless of what your life looks like right now, if it's legal and safe to do so, try and get some dedicated outdoor time each day. Even if it's working on the computer outside... it's sunlight and fresh air, and it's so important for your physical and mental health.
Stay strong everyone; we'll get through this, together.