It’s no real secret that I’ve recently diverged over to pretty much a full calisthenic based training style. Summer was wonderful; long hours in parks, minimal clothes, daylight for up to 18 hours per day and happy moods all round……….
Anyway, let’s end my digression and get back in the present. Training outdoors is tough at this time of year – especially in a cold climate (UK). I’ve spent the last month or so trying to extend the shelf life of my outdoor workouts and it’s not been easy. In actual fact, I’m going to admit defeat with this post.
Cold conditions lead to cold joints. Cold joints require extensive warming up and effort to maintain adequate temperature (no fun). All this means in simple terms is: cold, outdoor workouts lead to decreased performance and increased risk of injury.
Calisthenics are getting more and more popular by the day, and with the amount of practitioners it has, how on earth do the experienced trainees tackle the winter? I pondered this for a while and eventually done some research. And it turns out there are generally two options………
1) Resort to working inside until the weather conditions improve
2) Abandon ship and spend winter abroad in a summer climate
The latter is more unlikely unless you’ve got a very freelance job which allows you to work from anywhere, the former is much more common. Just because you’re in a gym, it doesn’t mean you have to use machines or even weights. You can still do calisthenics exercises. All you need is a bar to pull yourself up, and most gyms nowadays have dip stations and even TRX/gymnastics rings.
“From around November through till late March I stay away from the parks and train in the gym.
I have a gym near to where I live in Essex which has a great CrossFit style ‘pull up rig’ installed in there and plenty of floor space for parallette training and I also train at the CrossFit gym where I run a monthly class so that adds a bit of variety.
Winter in the UK isn’t much fun, cold, wet and miserable and goes dark around 4pm so not ideal for the kind of training I do and also training with cold joints and muscles is only gonna increase the risk of injury”…………..
………..Lee Wade Turner, in an interview with Calisthenics Parks Blog (blog.calisthenics-parks.com) when asked how he tackles working out in the winter. There are countless other examples just like his.
(Lee Wade Turner in a back lever, courtesy of pullupsandpeanutbutter.co.uk)
I know this isn’t the most picturesque option and the scenery will not be as good, but hey, when all’s said and done, your progress will be better and that’s the most important factor. There’s nothing more dejecting than a workout with performance numbers half that of what you usually do.
The moral of the story
If conditions aren’t conducive to productivity, CHANGE THEM! Don’t try to force the issue. You can’t change nature. Working outside at this time of year requires plenty of respect – especially if you’re doing advanced stuff like levers and skill based work. Even more so for plyometric exercises. Sometimes you just can’t beat the conditions, so lose the ego and stubbornness and go into the gym. It’s warm there and not so bad after all.
Disclaimer: This isn’t a case for pure calisthenics and an attack on weights and gyms, but more a reminder that there are many people who love training outside and may not want to stop, in spite of the season change. However, accepting reality and working out in a warmer environment is not only safer, but far more productive.