By Adam Meakins, a Specialist Physiotherapist, as well as a qualified Strength & Conditioning Specialist in both the NHS and private practice in England. Also known as ‘The Sports Physio’.
The COVID19 virus is currently sweeping across the globe and battering the hell out of the human population. Some unfortunately become severely ill and die, some are left with long term disability, and some have other diseases go untreated.
Thankfully, most have not been severely affected by COVID19 with either a mild fever for a few days or no symptoms at all. However, despite the difference in symptoms there is no doubt this virus has affected us all in other ways forcing us to drastically change our way of living now and for the foreseeable future.
Social distancing and lockdown measures across the world mean many of us have been forced to spend extended periods in our homes unable to travel, move around, or go about our business as normal. Extended periods of time under social distancing and isolation measures has the potential to increase sedentary behaviours and risks creating further health and disability issues in our population. 
Maintaining levels of physical activity can be a challenge at the best of times, but even harder when unable to access facilities or equipment, especially when it comes to engaging with resistance exercise. The WHO recommends that all adults get a minimum of two sessions of resistance exercise a week . This, however, is often overlooked or forgotten due to the more widely known target of 150 minutes of physical activity a week.
One of my long-term goals has been, and continues to be, to promote the physiological and psychological benefits of resistance exercise with my slogan “you can’t go wrong getting strong”. At the start of the lockdown in the UK I began a ’30 Day Home Workout Challenge’ on social media posting daily videos of my own workouts done in my office/spare room.
‘You can’t go wrong getting isolation strong’
The idea was to demonstrate that simple, effective, no nonsense resistance exercise can be done in a limited space and with minimal equipment. These videos show a daily circuit of exercises that lasted about 20-30 minutes. The exercises were programmed through the challenge to equally work the upper and lower body, and focused mostly on simple push, pull, or lift movements, with some occasional light hearted fluff thrown in such as doing regular bicep curls, coz you know… curlz getz the girlz!
The dosage parameters of each session were also kept clear, simple and evidenced based, usually involving between 3-5 sets, with each exercise done to a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) level of between 8-10. My reasons for choosing RPE levels for resistance exercise is in a continued effort to get more to move away from using fixed rep ranges when prescribing or doing resistance exercise. I often find fixed rep ranges don’t allow for individual variation and often lead to under or overdosing, whereas RPE levels can simply and easily be used by all.
The idea for this 30-day challenge, and others I have done in the past is to help promote the idea that regular resistance exercise doesn’t have to be complicated or only done in gyms, with lots gadgets and gimmicks. Instead resistance exercise can be highly effective if it’s simply done regularly and is challenging and effortful.
 Chen, P et al (2020). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): The need to maintain regular physical activity while taking precautions. Journal of Sport and Health Science. Vol 9, 2, 103-104
 World Health Organisation (2010) Global recommendations on physical activity for health ISBN: 9789241599979 https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/9789241599979/en/
 Lowe, A et al (2017). Are physiotherapists walking the walk? A global survey of physiotherapists physical activity levels. Poster Presentation at The World Congress of Physical Therapy, Cape Town, July 2 2017. Sheffield Hallam University Archive, http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/16662