Ideas for Athletes to Keep in Shape During the Shutdown

woman exercising on a mat on the floor

By Stephanie Davey, MEd, ATC, PES
Athletic Trainer
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

We don’t know when or if our high school spring athletes will be able to return to their sports, but they can still keep their fitness going at home. Many people don’t have access to their normal equipment, but there are plenty of ways to minimize strength and fitness losses. Things to focus on are recovery, mobility, core strength, and cardiovascular fitness.

  • A silver lining to this is that there’s now time to allow all those nagging injuries to heal. Many high school athletes play their sport year around. Now is the time to follow those rehab programs without the worry of missing any training. If you don’t have a program to follow, contact your athletic trainer. They’re probably more than willing to send you rehab exercises.
  • Work on increasing joint mobility. Many core lifts can be done with just body weight. Now is the time to work on mechanics. Work through the full range of motion. For example, if you’re squatting, do an overhead squat and go as low as you can while holding proper mechanics. This works to increase your shoulder and hip mobility. Yoga is also an option. There are many videos or apps that you can follow.
  • Core strength is probably the easiest to work on with no equipment. Again, yoga can help here. Plank variations, bridges, and single leg balancing variations are all great body weight options.
  • If you can get outside, you can run. Cardiovascular workouts should be as sport-specific as possible. If your sport requires running long distances, go for a long run. If your sport requires short bursts of running, focus on intervals. If your sport requires both, focus on workouts that include both endurance and speed.

Finally, try to stay in a routine. Having structure to your day and doing things that feel normal can help with the anxiety of the unknown.