What's Your Backup Plan When 'Plan A' Fails?

January 28, 2014

Back-Up Plan

Athletes must bring their "A" Game in all sorts of conditions. But when things change and the plan needs adjustment, coaches usually have a backup strategy.

Do you?

When unforeseen circumstances throw off your best intentions, you need a fallback position, a Plan B.

Here are some disruptive scenarios, along with options to right your game or exercise plan.

School's closed, weight room not open.

Don't skip your eagerly anticipated workout. Activate your Plan B by doing these high-intensity upper- and lower body-weight resistance exercises at home:

  • Feet-Elevated Push-Ups off a bed or chair
  • Chair Dips
  • Chair Step-Ups
  • Bulgarian Split Squats (toe on chair)
  • Feet-Elevated Prone and Side Planks
  • Inverted Row Door Knob Pull-Ups (straddle the door, place both hands around the opposing door knobs and pull yourself up)

Don't feel like exercising indoors? Perform these movements outside:

  • Pull-Ups with your hands atop swing set bars
  • Chair Dips with your hands on a bench
  • Step-Ups or Bulgarian Split Squats with one foot on a bench
  • Feet-elevated Push-Ups with toes atop a bench.

Bad weather stops game.

When a sudden storm halts the game, you need to stay loose for when action resumes. Sitting around during the delay could cause your muscles to stiffen up. Your Plan B option: perform these upper- and lower-body dynamic stretches to remain a step ahead of your opponent.

  • Arm Circles and Walking Lunges
  • High Kicks with arms held overhead
  • Side Lunges and Press-Outs
  • Inchworms

An injury sidelines you and derails your workout program.

Sprained your right wrist in practice a few days ago? Pulled a left hamstring in Saturday's game? Could be a good excuse to sit on the couch and mope around. Don't do it! Return to action sooner rather than later with an active recovery Plan B. For instance, if your right wrist is injured, perform lower-body exercises such as Lunges and Wall Squats while holding a dumbbell in your left hand. Or do Single-Arm DB Rows with your left hand. If your left hamstring is hurt, perform exercises with your right leg, such as Single-Leg Squats while holding on to a post. Or do some seated upper-body exercises such as Overhead Med Ball Presses or Seated DB Upright Rows.

Exercising the non-injured limb or side is called cross-transference training—an active recovery method that maintains muscle strength, power and endurance while the injured area heals by simply exercising the opposite (healthy) limb or side.

School track closed.

Don't fret. Head to the nearest park and arrange some cones 10 yards apart for sprints and agility drills. Or seek out a hilly terrain and do higher-intensity uphill and downhill sprints to enhance your lower-body power.

Drop a pass or make a crucial error.

Fumbles, dropped passes, missed field goals, errant throws to first base, or striking out at critical points in a game victimize even the best athletes. When bad things happen on the field or court, what's your Plan B? Are you going to sulk or angrily fling your helmet or bat down? An effective and admirable Plan B would be to prepare yourself before games to handle yourself with dignity by apologizing to your coaches and teammates and devoting extra time after practice and before the next game to correct techniques and help reinforce confidence to prevent future mishaps. The classy way you handle adversity, as well as success, will distinguish you from others.

Read more:

Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...

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