Unable to Lift in Gym

I have been strength training twice per week for the past several months with the goal of hitting the level 3 benchmarks from Chad’s strength training benchmarks. I am very close for squats and deadlifts (~95% of the level 3 benchmarks), and I was looking forward to reaching these over the next few weeks.

However, because of the coronavirus, I do not feel like I can go to the gym to continue lifting! I am looking for suggestions on how to maintain my strength gains while I am unable to continue heavy lifting. I understand that I will likely lose some of those gains doing only body-weight exercises at home, but I would like to do whatever I can to be in a good position to continue lifting when I get back in the gym!

Thanks for the help!


Try single leg versions like pistol squats, single leg deadlifts, and single leg RDLs.

Also check out the Kettlebell movie on Amazon:

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I’m in the same boat. Have been hitting the gym 3 times a week for over a year now. Not with any particular goal other than increasing my overall strength and fitness. But since I’m older and the gym seems like a prime place to contract a virus I too have decided to suspend my membership for the foreseeable future. On the plus side I’ve increased my riding which I actually enjoy more and I am substituting hiking for the gym. I’ve come to grips with the fact I will probably lose some muscle mass but nothing that can’t be rebuilt when I start up again. I’d rather deal with some minor strength loss than ending up in the hospital or worse.

I’ve been using the program in Maximum Overload for Cyclists this year. I had planned on joining a gym this year but I never got around to it after I realized that I could do 90-95% of the program with just 20 pound dumbbells.

BTW, if you read the reviews on Amazon you will see some negatives. There is a lot of verbiage and repetition in the beginning. One can just speed through the first part of the book unless you enjoy the reading and anecdotal stories.

Halfway through the book you get to the general conditioning part. This is where one starts. If one is completely new to strength then they could just do general conditioning for a while. After this phase you start doing some of the lifting. The key exercise is the walking lunge which is done with dumbbells. Four sets of walking lunges still wrecks me and gives me DOMS for 2 days. The ironic thing is that walking lunge feel pretty easy when I do them.

The other thing I’d do would be to watch some of DeVore’s youtube videos and listen to him on a few podcasts. Once you do that and get the gist of the program, it makes reading and understanding the book a lot easier.

Finally, if I lived in Los Angeles, I’d be keen on paying DeVore for some sessions at his gym as I have enjoyed his approach.

You can do a lot with a basic (no bar or rack) home gym. Either “Enter the Kettlebell” or “Simple and Sinister” requires just one kettlebell to start. I’ve been doing the dumbbell-only program from Dialed Health, which requires a few different weights, or an adjustable dumbbell like a PowerBlock. Derek (owner of Dialed Health) had a podcast episode (23) on the essential pieces for a home gym, which is a good listen.

You’re of course free to take any measures you feel are required to get on with ‘social distancing’ in this context but I’m going to be devil’s advocate here.

Theoretically hitting the gym could be relatively low risk. The current advice is for good hand hygiene and to avoid close contact with anyone who potentially has the virus. I think that’s achievable at a lot of gyms outside of peak hours if you are diligent and don’t have a lifting partner.


Resistance bands should be relatively inexpensive. Bow flex or other weights cost more but would give you an at-home-gym.