Without the Gym

We have gone a few weeks now without the ability to use the gym. While we all take measures to keep safe, along with protecting others from getting sick. One of the things we can do in protection of ourselves seems to be exercise. But, we get so used to simply going to the gym. Getting on one of the multiple machines and accomplishing movement. It raises our heartrate, has our muscles moving to help prevent stiffness or injury, and can elevate our overall mood by reducing stress. With cerebral palsy, all of these things have been helping symptoms. While taking off any extended period of time could be harmful. Harmful in the area of losing strength, but also losing the mobility allowing me to improve the disability. It was important to have solutions when the gym shut down. The credit goes to Bernard who saw the closer of the gym coming. During our final week before the gym closed, he had the strategy of working out from home. We would work via teleconference, making use of whatever I had in the way of workout equipment. This plan was only going to take care of half the battle. We only workout twice a week, which meant I had to come up with something in addition. It was going to require more than twice per week to remain relatively in shape.

The first step to our new program would be taken care of by Bernard. Using ZOOM, which for the record was the first time of hearing about the application. On my plate would be finding some equipment and space. The space part was fairly easily taken care of, we could use my garage. It was going to be a little colder than working in the gym. We just file that inconvenience under the “small price to pay,” tab and move along. There was also some equipment to be found. Combining things that have been gathered throughout the years. We had a set of dumbbells, ten-pound, fifteen-pound, and twenty-pound weights. There were some exercise bands to be located. We had a couple exercise balls, a mate, and some furniture sliders. It didn’t seem to leave a lot of options, but did give us something to work with. Everything was gathered in the garage and a picture was snapped of the equipment. Letting Bernard know the items we had to work with. We also had the length of the garage. Along with a chair and pool table in the rear of the garage. It has been an interesting month, as Bernard has put everything to use.

Some of the most interesting things about working with a trainer have been watching their creativity. Bernard has an undeniable talent when it comes to creating interesting exercises. Challenging the cerebral palsy in a multitude of ways, which has made this time exciting. It would have been nice under different circumstances. When the gym closed down, we got to work from my garage. As the few weeks have come and gone, some exercises have become staples. Some of the more interesting have been used to elevate my heart rate. Without the gym to work cardio, the elevation of my heart rate during the workout becomes crucial. We do a lot of split-jumping. One foot behind the other, then jumping to have the feet change positions. We may do this for a certain amount of time. Working on coordination, balance, and endurance. The kettlebell swing we work on inside the gym has also been replaced for the garage. The dumbbell has been used in place of the kettlebell. The motion remains the same, while gripping the weight of the dumbbell rather than the handle. As has become custom around the exercise, the warning from Bernard to make sure of a tight grip on the weight. You know, to prevent the dumbbell from being accidently released into the garage wall. So far, my grip has remained snug, but I’ll keep you posted. These couple exercises have done well for keeping me moving quickly. Causing fatigue in my ability to move continuously with the heartrate elevated. While we continue to add elements of strength and balance.

There have been a couple exercises used in the garage to be balance specific. They hadn’t been used as much in the gym. One has been worked with the opportunity of the pool table. Another creation not part of our routine at the gym. The exercise calls for me to balance myself against the pool table in a pushup position. With arms extended onto the edge of the pool table and legs about shoulder width apart on the floor. The body representing approximately a forty-five-degree angle. From this position, our purpose was to take away one of my four balance points. Doing so individually, with each limb rising from its point of stability for fifteen second. The movements took place with each foot being raised first. Next would be each hand raising off the pool table individually. Pointing forward from the shoulder for fifteen seconds, then being replaced onto the edge of the table. The lifting of each leg off the ground didn’t get too challenging. However, extending each arm and maintaining balance presented quite the challenge. The exercise was working on my stability from the pushup position. The movement made easier with the leverage provided by the pool table. We continue working on that pesky goal of having the balance to lift each hand off the floor from the pushup position. The next balancing exercise making an appearance in the garage was balancing on one leg.

We began working on balancing off one leg not long after starting our work together. The challenge has taken many progressions since our beginning. Moving in and out of our workout rotation as a staple. In the beginning of the exercise we used a blue balancing mat to work from. The mat in a rectangle shape, sitting just a couple inches off the floor. It produces mild instability for the planted leg. From working on the mat, we moved to the rounded side of the bosu-ball. The half circle causing more instability than that of the blue balancing mat. Our next attempt with the one-legged balance progression was the flat side of the bosu-ball. Balancing on the bosu-ball with the rounded side against the floor turned out to be too challenging. There were moments of success and signs we may get there one day. But, I couldn’t hold myself for long before re-grasping a rail for stability. Since the bosu-ball progression we hadn’t worked much on one-legged balance. The movement made a comeback in our first garage session. This time the task involved balancing on one leg for a minute. The challenge was done without anything added. With my planted foot resting flatly on the ground and one leg held in the air. In the following week, Bernard added to the task of balancing on one leg. To my surprise, we added the weight of twelve pounds to the movement. Holding the dumbbell in one hand, we lifted a leg off the ground and balanced for one minute. It was an incredibly challenging task, as my body wavered off balance. There was only one instance of the raised leg being set down to catch balance. The movement challenged me to keep my core engaged and remain focused. A great exercise for working the balance cerebral palsy has challenged.

We always seem to be in search of exercises working well to help cerebral palsy improve. So, the ability of Bernard to move from the gym to my garage has been helpful. He didn’t know how much we had to work with until everything was gathered. From there, a plan was placed together for continuing to improve skills outside the gym. Bernard talks about working out as combining many different aspects into one goal. We spend periods of time working on different types of movements. All geared toward strengthening the body from different angles. Our time outside the gym has led to our work with lighter weight and higher repetition. The breaks between sets have been reduced with the lack of moving around the gym. Our exercises are just feet apart rather than a walk across the gym. It’s a type of training we might not spend as much time on in the gym. But, working differently remains important to strengthening the entire body. Working inside the garage has been taken advantage of with creativity. Our sessions have been challenging in different ways, finding myself tired from the new speed with which we workout. The new routine has been fun and I’m thankful we continue to work on improving my disability. With the training session going well, it was on me to create the other part. The exercise on my own that has normally taking place in the gym. Creating a productive routine for the other days has become a work in progress.



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