Lockdown Training: Desperate Measures and the Need for Innovation.

Featured Image By Jazmin Sawyers


With us well into lockdown 2.0, I thought it would be a great time to look into the adaptations that some of us have been making to our lives and training. There has been a lot of disruption recently, closures of facilities, limitations to how many people we can see or train with – but it’s not all bad.

The thing I like most is having to be innovative, to make changes to the “tried and tested” things we do every day. Most of us have been able to find ways to work around this, with people running on roads or grass and hills. What I love seeing, is how innovative people are with their lives and training methods. They are not moping around, complaining about how they can’t train, they are finding ways or even making ways. I have said this before, as have many others, you don’t need world-class facilities to make progress or gains.

Throughout the first period of isolation I was lucky to have a garden, and most importantly, a pullup bar and a dirty great boulder that weighed 24Kg (we weighed it on the bathroom scale!) that I found lying around. Having taken 9 months out of athletics in 2020 (great timing, I know) I had to find new ways to train, new sports to enjoy and ways to keep sane – this included an absurd amount of pull-ups and push-ups. I would include a video, but my haircut and form have seen better days. In April I went down a Crossfit rabbit hole, new types of training fuelled by a lot of motivational CrossFit videos and David Goggins, what a man…

This led to me “attempting” a Murph challenge, for those who don’t know about it, below is a quick summary.

Murph – The 2016 CrossFit Games

Partitioned into 1 mile, 20 sets of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 air-squats and 1 mile to finish. I completed it in just over 39 minutes – I did strict pull-ups which was a struggle and had no weighted vest (pathetic).

That is far too much about me, this is about how others have done some cool and creative things to maintain a level of fitness and have fun simultaneously.


Gregory Thompson, owner of the UK’s furthest discus throw since 2013, took matters into his own hands by making a rack with some wood and buckets of cement. He explains “these posts went with me basically anywhere and everywhere I went (10hr journeys up the US etc), served me real well for 6 months”. Bench press on the road? Say no more!


To carry on the home gym theme, these next two caught my eye for many reasons. Reiterating what I mentioned earlier, you don’t need world-class facilities or equipment, just innovation and determination. Two of our countries best athlete’s in their events respectively, showing it can be done at your own home.

Great Britain Junior hammer thrower and writer, Ben Hawkes got inventive and found new ways to clean around the house – this still counts right?


My favourite thing about this next one is the commentary from the spectating locals. As athletes, if we are ever to train in a public place, the questions we get asked from randomers are often “what are you doing?” or “are you going to be in the Olympics?”. I am sure you can all relate to these questions! It only took 2 hill sessions to be stopped by a local man mid recovery to explain what we were doing, who we were and why we were running past his house 15 times on a Saturday morning in November.

But for Jazmin, Olympic long jumper, singer and pin maker (check them out!), to name but a few skills, being asked these questions literally mid-rep by a stranger was quite the entertainment for both herself and fellow sportspeople who can relate. This is not the typical “work from home” footage you would be used to seeing, more of this, please!


For others it has been harder, the closure of swimming pools wreaked havoc on training plans for swimmers and those in water-based sports. Times are tough, if you want to train you have to do something about it. Unless you fancy open water swimming or a cooler dip in your local lake or river you might have to be a little experimental. Maybe you could take some inspiration from Loughborough University student and swimmer Reiss Ormonde-Cunningham?

2020 wasn’t all bad, after all. Given the adversity, there were some seriously good performances despite only having a small “Season”! It was great to see sport back, briefly.

Whilst juggling a full-time primary school teaching job, Nike 400m Hurdler Jessie Knight was one of many to have the year of their lives, setting personal best after personal best, becoming National Champion indoors and out. Showing us that if you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen.

Many athletes have had to use roads and hills to run on, some even having to resort to hurdles and plyometrics in back roads or housing estates! At the end of the day, if you work hard, it doesn’t matter where you do it, it all counts. Some honourable mentions from Great Britain Internationals Katie Stainton, Ethan Akanni and James Weaver using water pipes, dining table chairs to train over hurdles, with James even building his own hurdles from scratch!

There isn’t too much left of lockdown 2.0 and hopefully, things will be back to normal soon. But in the meantime, keep working hard, keep setting goals and ticking them off – it will all be worth it.

If you have any amusing, or quirky and innovative training methods you feel others would benefit from, get in touch and we can keep some positivity and creativity going during these challenging times.


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November 17, 2020

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