I started writing this whilst sat in Alicante Airport waiting to fly home from Spain. I was feeling lots of feelings at that moment and one of those was guilt. Perhaps we were blinded by our eagerness to get out and ride in the sun, but I didn’t really ever think about not going. I’m hoping that by travelling to/from Spain we haven’t put ourselves or others in unnecessary danger. There’s not much we can do now, other than take all the right precautions.
We live a pretty isolated existence as it is, residing in a small village and working from home, so, in that sense, our lives won’t change much. But lung health in my immediate family isn’t the best, so I’m definitely going to be keeping my distance for the foreseeable.
I’ve been meaning to include this next thing in a blog post for a while and I suppose now is a pretty good time. At the moment, the UK government isn’t prohibiting outdoor sports, so absolutely keep riding, running, walking, exploring whilst you can. It’s a perfect way to keep the brain and bod happy, and as long as you don’t go out in a big group, is a great way to adhere to any isolating measures you might need to take.
However, if anything changes and we’re confined to our homes (or even if we aren’t), here’s a fun twist on strength and conditioning that I thought up a while ago to try and motivate myself to keep on top of basic strength and mobility.
It’s called Circuits Royale!
NOW, I’ve created it as part of my training towards riding the TdF, meaning all the exercises are geared (pun not really intended, but I’ll take it) towards cycling. If you like the idea, but not the cycling specificity, then by all means use the structure and incorporate your own moves.
Firstly, decide a rough outline of how long you want to spend training, maybe you have a few minutes to spare after your run or turbo session, or perhaps you’ve got 45 minutes to really go full HAM on your muscles.
Then the rest is down to chance! OoooooOOoooh.
You’ll need a dice (just a standard 1-6 one, not one of those mad shaped ones that goes up to like 20) and either a screen or a print out of the following:
As you can see, exercises are grouped into Core, Glutes and Mobility.
Each row corresponds to a number between 1 and 6.
How many exercises you’ll do will depend on how long you want to spend (I’d recommend a minimum of 15 minutes a couple of times per week).
You can pick which order you do the columns in, but I recommend alternating between the columns, so you don’t overload one area.
For example: I want my circuit to be: Mobility, Core, Glutes, Mobility, Core, Glutes…
Now roll the dice!
Let’s say you roll a 5, then a 2 and then a 6.
You could leave it at that and do multiple rounds of Hip Opener (and balance), Plank: Toe Tap and Alternate Lunges.
Or you could roll 6 times and get a more varied circuit. It’s really up to you!
Do all the dice rolling before you start, and memorise/note down your circuit – that way you know the full extent of what you’re doing before you get going.
And that’s that! The beauty of the dice roll is that you can’t favour the exercises you like and ignore the ones you don’t. And every training session is slightly different. Yayyyy.
If you decide to do this regularly, I’d recommend progressing the circuit over time, so you’ll really see improvements. You can do this by:
- Adding more exercises into your circuit
- Increasing the number/length of reps
- Reducing recovery time between exercises
- Adding weights e.g. a can of (stockpiled) soup in each hand, or a backpack filled with books!
- You can also do Stage Training, where you do all 3 sets of one exercise before moving onto the next (CORE CORE CORE, GLUTE GLUTE GLUTE…etc. You’ll really feel the burn)
What is a rep?
If you’re doing Bird Dogs for example, the spreadsheet states 8 on each side; so, that’s 16 reps altogether.
For something like a Plank, where you perform a sustained movement, one rep = 30 seconds.
What is a set?
A set groups together all the reps of one type of exercise. So, if you do 3 sets of Bird Dogs, you’ll do 8 on each side, 3 times, separated by rest and/or other exercises.
All these exercises can be found online, so if you need a demo, head to Google and type in the exercise name.
You’ll need a resistance band for some of them, these are cheap to buy or you’ll probably have got one from a physio at some point!
A yoga mat might make some exercises more comfortable to perform.
A few weeks ago, we printed this out, stuck it on the wall and left a dice in the room with the turbos in, so if the mood takes us, we can just chuck the dice and see what fate has in store for our tums, bums and joints!
I hope you like the idea! Please share it with your friends, families and team mates, and let me know if it helps to get you in the habit of doing a bit of strength and mobility. No matter who you are or what your goals might be, these kinds of movements are pretty useful for good posture and efficient movement.
Why not organise to do a circuit session #TogetherButApart. You can set a time, call your pals on Skype/FaceTime/WhatsApp video and lunge, squat, cat-cow simultaneously?
OR instead of a dice, ask someone to pick a number between 1 and 6 for you. They can be your coach without knowing what a Boat Crunch even is.
This next **unknown period of time** is going to be strange and new for all of us. I know a lot of events are already cancelled and many things will continue to be up in the air for a while, but we’re going to have to find ways to keep positive, stay busy and I’m certain we’ll all come out the other side just fine (and with bodies of STEEL after intense Circuit Royale-ing).
Stay well. Be good. Thanks for reading!