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Morgan Lake: 5 exercise tips from British high jump athlete

The pandemy has affected all our lives, cancelling events and wiping our calendars clean. The Tokyo Olympics were an early casualty. It’s a tumultuous time to be an elite athlete. Tokyo 2020 was due to be Morgan’s second Olympic Games. We asked how she is coping during lockdown.

We caught up with Technogym ambassador Morgan Lake, Team GB high jump specialist. From her base at Loughborough University, she told us about training, recovery, and goal setting during lockdown.

Morgan Lake: elite-level training in lockdown

Given the technicalities on my sport, lockdown is a challenge!” said Morgan. “I don’t have access to the track or the high jump bed. But I’m lucky to have a lot of great kit at home including my Technogym weights equipment and bike. I’ve been doing a lot of work on the grass, with sprint sessions, bounding, stairs, and plyometric training. The goal is to keep fit and free from injury.

Overcoming home-training challenges

At the start of lockdown, Morgan says she was excited to change up her training, but admits this soon changed.

It was hard not knowing what I could do,” she said. “I missed my training group who are like family. Training alone took some getting used to. I haven’t seen my family for nearly 12 weeks, and it is tough to keep training at a high level without my usual support system. But I know we are all in this together.”

Sleep, nutrition, healthy habits of Morgan Lake

I took my foot off the gas for the first few days, said Morgan. Tokyo 2020 was cancelled and my entire season was wiped out almost overnight. It was tough to stay motivated. But a few days of eating rubbish and sleeping badly was enough! I felt bad, and craved my routine. I am still training hard, so my nutrition and recovery need to be on point.

Spotting the silver linings of lockdown

Morgan has been quick to identify the opportunities in lockdown. Alongside her sport-specific training, she is taking time to do more Pilates, yoga, and mobility work.

There are always things I know I should be doing but don’t have time for, she said. Lockdown means I can do more yoga, more cooking from scratch, and more mindful eating. It’s great for my mental wellness. I’m able to start and end the day well, wind down slowly, and pause to enjoy my food rather than eating between training sessions at the track. Lockdown has given me the opportunity to enjoy the little things.

Morgan’s competitive season would usually run from January to March (indoors) and late May to August or September (summer season). At the time of writing, her training would usually focus on shorter speed work on the track, technical work, and lighter sets in the gym using Olympic lifts for power.

I would normally train five times a week, she said, Three days being double sessions, two days single sessions, and two rest days doing mobility work or getting treatments.

That’s all changed.

Morgan’s lockdown training week

Morgan is now training alone, at home, with no competitions in the calendar – but with the knowledge she will have qualifiers in December. My coach has kept to my usual training routine, which helps immensely, she said. Monday is still my biggest day with high jump drills in the morning, a power/bounding circuit, then a gym session alongside core and mobility after lunch. I also do double sessions on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Tuesdays and Fridays are single sessions. Thursdays and Sundays are active recovery.

We can’t get any physio or massage during lockdown, so it’s important not to go beyond my ability to recover. The focus has to be on maintaining fitness and jumping ability, but not pushing so hard that we break down. That’s something I would recommend to everyone.

Morgan's tips from the top

We asked Morgan for her best advice for staying fit and motivated during lockdown. Have an achievable routine and stick to it, this will not only help you feel healthier but will keep your motivation high – when something is a habit, it’s hard to break, she said. Listen to your body. This is such a strange time; you may as well do exercises that make you feel good. Focus on fitness and strength but always within your ability to recover. Try to make progress, but enjoy your exercise sessions.

Keep track of training, and how you felt before, during, and after, she added. This will help you identify if you’re overdoing it, and will keep you motivated – you’ll see that training almost always lifts your mood!

5 best exercises for home training

We can all take practical inspiration from Morgan’s lockdown training. Here are 5 things she recommends we try to incorporate into our own exercise routine.

  • Hills and stair runsYou can get these done almost anywhere, they’ll help you develop speed and power.
  • Banded workI use Technogym resistance bands at every training session - try banded walks to get your glutes firing.
  • Plank variationsThere are so many types of plank, there’s no excuse to get bored!
  • PlyometricsGreat training for power, speed, and co-ordination - single leg bounds are simple to incorporate into your exercise sessions.
  • BurpeesThese are the simplest (maybe not the easiest!) way to add jumping into your regular exercise sessions.

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