How do I train effectively when my gym is packed during the only times I can go?

  • Depends how serious you are about training.
  1. You either change gyms or
  2. Figure out how to train the areas that you want to train with the tools free and available for you to use.
Ever feel like you’re lost in a crowd?

If all else fails, you can always politely but determinedly ask to work in with the current user(s) of the equipment you are after. Most experienced trainers are aware of gym etiquette and will know just where you are coming from, others will…well, just move on to other things when they see you mean business.

Most decent gyms will have a certain amount of redundancy built in for peak time usage or equipment that can be, with perhaps a little determination, imagination & inspiration, adapted to purpose.

For instance:

  • A squat rack is a great venue for working legs with squats, but there are other ways that can be put to use to get in a reasonable leg workout (using a dip belt with a chain slung over your hips and attaching it to a ground pulley system. Takes a bit of playing with, but works).
  • The Flat Bench Press. Probably the most ridiculously mythically overrated chest exercise in history. Take your pick: pulleys, dumbbells, dips et. al. will usually produce better chest development for most people.
  • Shrugs. You can use almost anything in the gym to do a shrug. There are many more tools available that can be used for shrugs than ones that you can’t in some way figure a fix with.
  • I could go on all day offering up suggestions for alternatives. It is better for you to think about the work needing to be done and what at hand might be adapted to do it. This often leads you to surprisingly useful discoveries. Discoveries that you wouldn’t have made if you just used the standard equipment in conventional ways.

I have lived most of my life in gyms, from the most basic using rebar and concrete as dumbbells and barbells to others that you’re unsure whether they are actually supposed to be gyms or a weightlifting billionaire’s idea of Aladdin’s Cave.

Now, I run my own and what I have found is that as long as a trainer is motivated enough, he or she will find a workaround almost anything that might prove an obstacle.

Whether that obstacle proves to be a crippling injury…or just a crowded gym at peak time.

If this is your gym, go to another one.

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