home workouts
Happy Feet: Payton Frye prepares to set up a cone drill to practice his footwork techniques.

Home Workouts Take on New Meaning amid COVID-19

Ryan Daine

The air of boredom and monotony amid quarantine has hit people in our MU community along with many across the country hard. Staying home, keeping away from others, and listening to the same album five times over in a day has created a completely undesirable side effect within the COVID-19 pandemic; what does one do to pass the steady stream of days that seem to blend without end?

Finding creative ways to keep fit without access to a traditional gym presents a twofold challenge; utilizing unconventional items to substitute as equipment and constructing a sensible plan that can be completed with the limited resources at hand. Two student-athletes are following this process to maintain their offseason physiques, and to keep their fundamental skills sharp.

Football players really never get a true break, as their off-seasons are consistently spent lifting, conditioning and improving their skill sets to prepare themselves for the coming season. The current circumstances that we all find ourselves in, however, throws a rather large wrench into the off-field game plan that Coach Nate Jensen had crafted for his players during this spring training season. His athletes are soldiering on, undeterred, by completing their workouts from home, creating clever ways to workout.

First-year defensive tackle Tyler Stone has run into obstacles with his workout plans, but is striving to rise above them. “The biggest challenge I’m facing with all of this is the fact that I don’t have a lot of free weights, let alone any equipment at my home,” Stone said. “With gyms being closed, and having limited resources, I can’t work out how I truly want to.”

Stone is not alone in the shortcoming of available equipment at his disposal. Fellow first-year fullback and tight end Payton Frye discussed a lack of what he called “functional and heavy equipment” to be used for lifting, a key part of keeping players strong for the upcoming on-field battles.

Despite not having the option of using a fully stocked weightroom, or any weightroom for that matter, the two are still finding ways to keep tiptop. “I’m lucky to have a neighborhood park within walking distance,” Frye stated. “I can head to the park and set up cone drills to keep my footwork sharp, do calisthenics, and work on other conditioning activities in the open grass fields.

“It’s definitely changed the whole dynamic of what I know as a ‘gym,’” he added, “but it gets the job done.”

Stone shared similar words of the success he has been able to find throughout the new program style, and how he’s worked to overcome the challenges the new environment has placed upon him. “We all have a workout plan that’s been provided by our coach,” Stone said. “This helps keep everyone grounded and seems like we’re all a bit together for a short time during the day.

“I’m able to do the more simple parts of the workout in my room or out in my backyard when needed,” he continued, “and I can use the few dumbbells that I have to do curls, bench press, weighted lunges, tri’s and fly’s, and other things. These are small things, but they’ll get the job done.”

Working out from home or throughout the neighborhood has also presented the pair with opportunities for growth outside of their own muscle. Stone made a note of how he enjoys the spoils of his house after the day is said and done. “It’s nice being able to use my own shower and crash in my own bed for a while after training for the day,” he said. “No more community showers and all the comforts of a queen-sized bed; it’s nice.”

Frye shared his experience of growth with his own family, and how his mother has been there alongside his new fitness journeys. “My mom likes to get out of the house during this time whenever it's safe and responsible, so she’ll often come along with me and we’ll both walk to the park together,” he said. “She’ll usually sit on the benches and watch me work, and occasionally, she’ll go on runs with me when there’s some distance involved.”

Frye’s words help to remind us all that during these times, fitness and family time are both equally important. “Overall, despite the obstacles and adapting to the change, it’s nice to have her right there with me, and makes it all a little bit better,” Frye said.