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My Journey With Long Covid + Chronic Pain: Rebuild Episode 1

Welcome to episode 1 in a series I’m calling ReBuild – documenting my recovery process from several years of chronic pain and more recently, long covid.

Some readers/listeners/viewers know I’ve been out of action for a while with some health stuff, and have asked how I’m getting on and what I’ve been doing to help get myself back on my feet.

So I thought I’d give an update on my situation and a bit more detail about what’s happened over the past few years. 

I wasn’t sure if I was going to do this, but I realised that hearing other recovery stories was helpful in my own recovery journey, so I thought it may be worth it. My intention for this ReBuild series is for it to exist as a podcast, videos and written articles, so if you’re interested in it you can pick your preferred medium. But we’ll see how that goes.

Important to note that this content isn’t intended to be a roadmap for others to follow. I’m not offering medical advice – I’m just sharing my ongoing recovery journey and the things I’m learning on the way. 

Let’s crack on with a story. 


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Tip #1 - Just Go With The Flow

Let’s not overcomplicate things for the sake of it:

One of the simplest and most intuitive ways to build endurance with rope flow is through casual, unstructured play.

There’s no need for set time limits, rigid intervals or to aim for a specific heart rate. You’ll see a lot of benefits from just going with the flow, enjoying the freedom to switch up the pace and intensity as you see fit. 

You could go for short sessions as and when, just practicing the basic movements. This is what I did in the process of rebuilding my body from long covid. A few minutes here and there, a great excuse to get outside and disconnect.

You can then gradually increase the time, varying the speed and intensity as you see fit. If we want to liken it to a training method, it’s similar in some ways to Faartlek training, a Swedish term meaning “speed play”.

It’s non-specific, but this approach allows you to have fun and practice new skills while still getting your heart rate up and getting some endurance benefits.

Tip #3 - Build Strength & Endurance With Strength Aerobics

Strength aerobics is a term I first heard from renowned strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline. 

It involves performing singles in a few basic strength movements, resting in between with gentle, low-intensity movement. Rinse and repeat for 20-30 mins.

The idea is that you are getting a strength hit using the ATP-PC energy system, combined with some aerobic improvements by maintaining your heart rate at around that zone 2 / MAF number during the rest period.

In his original strength aerobics article, Pavel shares the following example from Alexey Senart, SFG Team Leader: 

Take a kettlebell you can comfortably press ten times or so and do:

  • 1 left-hand clean
  • 1 left-hand military press
  • 1 left-hand front squat (change stance if needed before squatting)
  • Park the bell
  • Shake off the tension with “fast and loose” drills
  • Repeat on the right

The “fast and loose” shaking drills are used to reduce muscular tension and to keep the heart rate somewhat elevated. This could be accompanied by or substituted with rope flow movements, which offer a similar effect.

So a rope flow strength aerobics session might look like: 

  • 1 left-hand snatch
  • 1 right-hand snatch
  • Park the bell
  • 1 minute rope dragon roll, underhand, overhand patterns (cycle through or just mix it up)
Another sample session incorporating bodyweight movements: 
  • 1 explosive pullup
  • 1 explosive pushup
  • 1 kettlebell swing
  • 1 goblet squat
  • Park the bell
  • 1 minute rope dragon roll, underhand, overhand patterns (cycle through or just mix it up)

Over to You

When it comes to using rope flow to build endurance, my preference is to combine the freedom of casual play, strength aerobics, and/or incorporating rope flow into your low-intensity, steady-state training to build your aerobic base. 

Higher intensity intervals could then be experimented with if they align with your goals or your chosen sport, but I’d say for most people, they’re not necessary, and/or you’ll get better results from other HIIT methods. 

Any questions or comments, let me know down below!

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Luke Jones

Luke Jones

Luke Jones is a Movement Coach, Wellness Enthusiast, Online Content Creator, and Founder of HERO Movement. Through articles, videos, courses, and online coaching, his big goal is to help people discover freedom of movement and create lives filled with well-being & adventure.

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