Is it really possible to build muscle in lockdown?
In short, Yes!
Even with limited equipment, it is possible to stimulate muscle growth. Limited equipment means we may not be able to load up our muscles as many of us are so accustomed to doing in a gym environment. This method of building muscle is termed ‘Mechanical tension’ and involved lifting weights closer to your max. This is out of the question for most of us, but don’t say goodbye to your gains just yet as there are other ways in which we can stimulate muscle growth. Another way is by placing your muscles under what is called metabolic stress. This involves taking muscles to failure (in a safe manner), using moderate to higher reps and shorter rest intervals. The third way in which we can cause a muscle to grow is through muscle damage.
This is characterized by slowing down the negative (lowering) portion of the movement. But what do each of these looks like in a practical sense…
Perform 10 full range Press-ups with controlled lowering phase (you can regress to your knees if you are not competent in doing normal press-ups), then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this as many times as you can until your technique starts to breakdown and you reach muscular failure. After, you will feel that your chest and tricep muscles (the main working muscles) are pumped and visually look larger in size. This is because your muscle cells swell up and trigger anabolic adaptations to occur.
Perform 10 full range bodyweight squats lowering for no less than 6 seconds and coming up at a normal pace.