16 Jul 2021

Impact of COVID-19 on strength training

Dr. James L. Nuzzo
Head of Exercise Science Research at Vitruvian
Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
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Strength training is often performed at gyms. COVID-19 has led to gym inaccessibility and thus an impact on strength training participation has been expected.

Dr. James Steele and a team of researchers from around the world recently set out to determine how lockdowns have impacted the way people practice strength training. They conducted a survey of over 5,000 adults who had been participated in strength training prior to lockdowns.

A total of 80% of respondents said they were able to maintain strength training during lockdowns. However, the way they performed training changed. They indicated lockdowns impacted where they performed training. Prior to lockdowns, 18% had been performing strength training at home. During lockdowns, this number jumped to 89%. Respondents also reported they changed the type of equipment used in training. Prior to lockdowns, they were more likely to use free weights and weight machines. During lockdowns, they were more likely to rely on body weight exercises. Respondents also said their overall training experience was negatively impacted by lockdowns. Their perceived effectiveness of their workouts was lower, as was their workout enjoyment, and the likelihood they would complete their workouts. Finally, they reported they were less likely to record training data during home workouts compared to their previous gym workouts.


According to the survey, individuals who perform home-based strength training during lockdowns are likely to transition to body weight exercises. Reliance on body weight exercises is potentially problematic because such exercises do not load the musculoskeletal system to the same degree as external loading from resistance exercise equipment. Consequently, improvements in muscle size and strength will not be maximised. 

Training with the V-Form or Trainer+ can help overcome limitations imposed on strength training programs by lockdowns. Vitruvian devices are compact and mobile, making them well-suited for home use; they stack on up to 180kg of resistance, providing plenty of external loading to make muscles stronger; and they are controlled by the Vitruvian phone app, which records training data automatically, overcoming the issue of exercisers not recording their data when strength training at home.


Steele J, et al. The impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) related public-health measures on training behaviours of individuals previously participating in resistance training: a cross-sectional survey studySpots Medicine, 2021. DOI: 10.1007/s40279-021-01438-5.

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