I used water bottles to train, then – by chance – I discovered the gas cylinder.
It seems our commercial gyms are struggling to work around the Covid-19 restrictions. No one knows when the gyms will officially open, so we are essentially left to our own devices.
Many of us have managed to survive over 100 days with online classes for yoga, dance, pilates, functional training and outdoor running, walking and cycling.
These have managed to fill the gap for most of us who used to do these activities at the gym.
Just a few days ago, I started missing the free weights section in the gym and I am sure there are lots of people who are with me on that one. I don’t have the privilege of having a home gym or the space to store a variety of free weights around the house.
I can tell you that I certainly miss carrying 20kg dumbbells in each hand and doing walking lunges up and down the training area at the gym, or a 50kg barbell for deadlifts.
Earlier on during lockdown, one had to start being creative with weights and I used to fill up five-litre containers with water. That would essentially give me two 5kg weights to train with. Those weights have a life span and for me that life span has long ended.
So, the other day I picked up my empty gas cylinder to take to the garage and have it refilled. As I walked to the car, I found myself doing biceps curls with it.
A light bulb went on as I realised that as empty as it was, it is significantly heavier than my five-litre water bottles.
I then tried a few other exercises to see if I would manage. Those exercises were sumo squats, basic squats, deadlifts, walking lunges, reverse lunges, shoulder press and bend over rows. This made me realise I could essentially have a full-on exercise routine with my empty gas canister.
Obviously, if you try this at home you need to be careful and avoid knocking your head or your toes. This is the same as when you use heavy weights in the gym.
Upon returning from refilling my gas cylinder, I decided to walk around the house to identify heavier items to training with.
I discovered I could do deadlifts and sumo squats by lifting the one side of my couch and my bed. That equates to two extra pieces of equipment to work one’s lower body.
For my upper body, I realised that my mountain bike is just over 10kg and it is good enough for single-arm shoulder presses and frontal raises.
The truth is, there aren’t many safe heavy items in the house, but for my fellow fitness fanatics that are also missing the free weights section at the gym, do yourselves a favour and walk around your house. Lift a couple of items and check what you can creatively add to your current routines.
My muscles have undergone muscle atrophy (which is a loss of muscle tissue) but, with the few heavier items around the house, I can somehow salvage some lost muscle tissue. Try it and thank me later. Remember to keep moving.
Zulu is a qualified biokineticist and cofounder of PopUpGym. Follow her on Instagram: @letshego.zulu; Twitter: @letshegom; Facebook: Letshego Zulu
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