COVID-19 Stress Busting Home Workout

Chances are, your exercise routine has changed a lot in the past few weeks. Before the pandemic, my workout routine consisted of a short 15-20 minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) morning workout. During my lunch hour, I would lift weights, following a push-pull-leg routine. Push, Monday, Pull, Tuesday, Legs on Wednesday, Push, Thursday, and Pull on Friday. Because of my daily cardio, I have found that hitting legs once a week is adequate.

Since the pandemic, I have simplified things. I work out each morning for 20-minutes before I take my dog for a 15-minute walk around the lake by our home. Then I shower, have coffee with my wife, and commute upstairs to start my workday. I purchased a standing desk from Amazon, a 60-minute analog timer, and a deck of kettlebell cards so that I could have a quick exercise snack every 15-minutes or so, throughout the day. When the timer goes off, I perform another kettlebell exercise, or I perform an extra strength training set. The latest research indicates that long periods of sitting or standing aren’t good for our health – sitting is the new smoking and all of that. These exercise snacks are my solution to the problem.

I alternate between strength training and HIIT workouts following an upper body, lower body split. I am blessed to have a spin bike, I begin my cardio workouts with a 2-minute warm-up, followed by a 5-minute Tabata style interval workout, then I spend the remaining 13-minutes alternating every 30-seconds between kettlebell exercises and riding my spin bike. After my twenty minutes are up, I stretch for 2-minutes, before taking my dog for a walk.

Because of the brevity of my COVID-19 workouts, I started combining my strength training sessions with some moderate-intensity cardio, to keep my heart rate up for the entire workout. I accomplish this by performing two compound movements, back to back, followed by two minutes of easy pedaling. 

On upper-body days, I typically perform the circuit below three times (which takes approximately 20-minutes):

  • Incline Dumbbell Press: 1 x 5-10
  • Kettlebell Arnold Press: 1 x 10
  • 2-minutes easy biking
  • Pull-ups: 1 x AMRAP*
  • Kettlebell Row: 1 x 10-20 (each side)
  • 2-minutes easy biking

*AMRAP – As Many Reps as Possible 

On leg days, I perform the circuit below three times (which takes approximately 20-minutes):

  • Bulgarian Split Squat or Step-ups: 1 x 10 (each leg)
  • Goblet Jump Squat: 1 x 10 (lower slowly, pause, then jump)
  • 2-minutes easy biking
  • Back Raises (stability ball): 1 x 15-20 (pause at the top)
  • Kettlebell Swings: 1 x 15-20
  • 2-minutes easy biking

After each strength training session, I take our happy hound for another walk around the lake. Sometimes, I squeeze in another walk during lunch. I don’t have any programmed rest days. I enjoy beginning my mornings with movement. Studies show that it not only increases our metabolism for hours afterward, it also enhances our mood, focus, and energy for up to 12-hours. Learn more.

KB squat

Your COVID-19 Workout

If you like my workout routine but don’t have a well-equipped home gym, I have created a workout that will get you in great shape. This workout is designed to put your body and brain in a good place each morning so you can cope with the stress of these uncertain times. It is not designed to put slabs of muscle on your body, but it is a great program for improving your overall General Physical Preparedness (GPP). Twenty-minutes a day doesn’t sound like much, but it is almost two and a half hours of intense exercise each week. My daily doggy dawdling adds another two-hours of low-intensity exercise. I recommend you finish your workouts with a short walk to cool down and clear your head. 

 All you need to perform this workout is:

On upper-body days, perform the circuit below three times (which takes approximately 20-minutes):

  • Dips (between chairs): 1 x AMRAP
  • Kettlebell Arnold Press: 1 x 10
  • Kettlebell Suitcase Carry (1-2 minutes, walking up and down some stairs, if you have them, one hand on the handrail for safety)
  • Pull-ups: 1 x AMRAP
  • Inverted Row or Renegade Row: 1 x 10-20
  • Step-ups for 1 to 2-minutes

On leg days, perform the circuit below three times (which takes approximately 20-minutes):

  • Goblet Squat: 1 x 15-20 
  • Bulgarian Goblet Split Squat: 1 x 10 (each side)
  • Step-ups for 1 to 2-minutes
  • Back Raises (stability ball): 1 x 10-20
  • Kettlebell Swings: 1 x 20
  • Kettlebell Suitcase Carry (1-2 minutes)

Keep your cardio simple. Go outside and alternate between jogging and sprinting for 20-minutes. After jogging for a couple of minutes, sprint to a parked car, jog to the next corner, and so on until your 20-minutes is up. If you aren’t ready for sprints, you can alternate between jogging and walking. If you would rather exercise indoors, you can use your Tabata timer to shadowbox, jump rope, jog in place, or perform kettlebell circuits. After your Tabata workout, you can perform a kettlebell circuit for the remainder of your twenty-minute workout. Rest approximately 10 to 20 seconds between exercises. 

Here is one of my favorite kettlebell circuits:

 1. Kettlebell Swing: 1 x 20

 2. Goblet Squat: 1 x 15

 3. Kettlebell V Up: 1 x 15

 4. Kettlebell Push Press: 1 x 10 (each side)

 5. Renegade Row: 1 x 10 (each side)

 6. Kettlebell Swing: 1 x 20

 7. Goblet Squat: 1 x 15

 8. Close Grip Push-up off Kettlebell: 1 x 10

 9. Kettlebell High Pulls: 1 x 20

 10. Russian Twist: 1 x 10 (each side)

If you like attending classes, and miss that during this time of isolation, you can download the Peloton App they are currently running a 30-day free trial, after that it is just $12.99/month.  The app allows you to attend virtual fitness classes taught by world-class instructors from across the globe.  They will guide and motivate you through a variety of workouts. For less than $13 a month, you can participate in unlimited biking, walking, running, strength training, boot camps, yoga, stretching, and meditation classes. This app can be a real game-changer. Their instructors are phenomenal! They will take your motivation to a 10. They offer thousands of workouts that vary by length and ability, so you will be able to find a workout that fits your needs. The first month is FREE. They know that once you get a taste, you’ll become hooked. It does not get any easier than FREE. So why not give it a go!

Another great option is the free 7-minute workout app by Perigee. No one says you have to work out for 20-minutes. The efficacy of this workout has been scientifically proven. So that is the workout. If you like the idea of starting each day feeling great and fully energized, why not give it a try. Twenty-minutes isn’t a huge commitment.

kettlebells pull up crossfit

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Best wishes and Best Health!

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