COVID-19 lockdown: Stay home, stay fit, how? Ask Shanker Basu

A sprinter in his heyday, Basu has trained people from different walks of life, including the Indian cricket team and star player Virat Kohli.

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli (in picture) and Shanker Basu work together in Royal Challengers Bangalore.   -  FILE PHOTO/ PTI


The situation outside is grim, and that is making life indoors challenging for athletes whose routines are disrupted.

But Shanker Basu, the former strength and conditioning coach of the Indian cricket team, tells Sportstar that athletes are a different kettle of fish. “They are wired very differently and their elusive goals in life will not allow them to alter their vision. They will look at this [lockdown] as a period where they [can] tick certain boxes which was not possible otherwise.”

Basu has suggestions for athletes looking to improve their health and immunity during this tough phase: “Strength exercises that target your thighs, hips and trunk, along with some form of cardiovascular exercise that can be based on what you have at home as equipment.

“Nutrition and a set routine must be complementary to the exercise patterns. And that should be your commandment during this period,” he adds.

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Will innovative workouts help? “Yes and no. At the end of the day, most athletes know their routines and bodies well. Innovative workouts have a place and time, but the basic bread-and-butter type of workouts will see them through this period,” he says.

Shanker Basu (extreme left) at a press meet with squash player Dipika Pallikal and cricketer Dinesh Karthik.   -  FILE PHOTO/ B. Velankanni Raj


A sprinter in his heyday, Basu has trained people from different walks of life. “I don’t travel like before; I am based in my own town [Chennai]. Having said that, it gives me an opportunity to work with different types of sports and pursue new educational goals which keeps me very busy.”

Does he design workouts that can be followed online? “Yes, I do, and even otherwise, I have been doing such routines for certain types of athletes for the last 10 years,” says Basu, who is now the strength and conditioning coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore.

How about RCB’s cricketers? “All the players are given a schedule and most of them have access to personal home gyms. They will do everything in their capacity to stay fit.”

Basu’s pursuit of excellence has played a significant role in transforming the attitudes of Indian athletes towards fitness, and he is willing to offer advice to anyone seeking it during this period. 

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