A crowded gym can be a major hindrance and may put you off going altogether.
This problem becomes a major issue in the New Year, but thankfully it becomes much quieter a month or so into the new year.
So what can you do to survive a crowded gym? Here are some must-follow tips that will ensure you get a good workout, even on the busiest days.
- 1 #1: Warm-Up
- 2 #2: Have A Workout Plan, And A Backup
- 3 #3: Do Cardio Without A Machine
- 4 #4: Use One Weight
- 5 #5: Use A Kettlebell
- 6 #6: Do More Sets Of The Same Exercise
- 7 #7: Pump Iron Without A Rack Or Bench
- 8 #8: Take A Class
- 9 #9: Use A Personal Trainer
- 10 #10: Use Less-Popular Gym Equipment
- 11 #11: Ask To Work In
- 12 In Conclusion
Yes, you may be short of space but this is no reason not to warm up before your workout.
The good thing is that you don’t necessarily need much space to warm your muscles up, doing a few dynamic stretches and bodyweight exercises will suffice.
#2: Have A Workout Plan, And A Backup
Before you even reach the gym you should have already decided what you are planning to do, what muscles you are going to be working on, and what exercises you should be doing.
By having a plan you can get to work straight away and not have to wander the gym aimlessly wondering what you should be doing.
I would also recommend having a back-up plan in mind, or to be a little bit flexible with your plan.
If the gym is busy then chances are some of the equipment you will want/need will be used.
#3: Do Cardio Without A Machine
The lines for the treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes are often the busiest in the gym, often taking over 30 minutes to clear.
An alternative would be to perform your cardio without using a machine.
You can do this by creating your own mini Tabata circuit by choosing 2-4 exercises. It is recommended that you perform an exercise for 20 seconds then rest for 20 seconds, before performing the next exercise.
#4: Use One Weight
Instead of fighting with the other gym members for various weighted dumbbells, choose one weight and perform different exercises with them.
It is possible to put together your own circuit using just a single piece of equipment.
If possible your circuit should include a pushing movement, a pulling movement, a lower-body exercise and a core movement.
Of course, performing a squat will be easier with a lighter weight than performing an overhead press, for example.
You should aim to perform a higher number of repetitions for those exercises you find easy, and low reps on harder exercises. I would recommend aiming for 20-25 reps for easier exercises, and 6-8 reps for those exercises you find harder to perform.
When choosing the exercises you should choose those that work multiple muscle groups. This makes the exercise harder to perform and hopefully will result in greater gains in muscle mass and strength.
#5: Use A Kettlebell
Using a kettlebell can help build strength and muscle, and can be used to improve cardio and burn fat.
There are plenty of movements you can try, but even 10 minutes of kettlebell swings will give you a good workout.
#6: Do More Sets Of The Same Exercise
If space is limited then you may want to keep your workouts as simple as possible.
You could simply pick two exercises (preferably those that work opposing sides), and do more sets of each them.
For example, you could perform dumbbell chest presses and dumbbell rows. So both pushing and pulling movements to work your chest and back.
#7: Pump Iron Without A Rack Or Bench
At peak times you may struggle to find an open rack or spare bench. But let me tell you that you don’t need either to lift weights.
Not only do you not need a rack or bench, but you also do not need to keep the weights in the free-weight area at the gym.
As long as you are able to find some floor space for yourself then it is entirely possible to get a good workout in.
#8: Take A Class
Classes at the gym are not for everyone, but if you find that every time you venture to the gym to workout that it is full then classes are a legitimate alternative.
These classes are run by certified trainers, so will ensure you are following the routine with the correct form, plus can help keep you motivated and on track.
Classes also will have only so many spaces available, so once you sign up you will know that you have space and it won't be too crowded to get a good workout in.
You need to be aware of your gym’s rules about signing up, some gyms will offer a first-come, first-served policy. Other gyms may allow you to schedule ahead of time, so you can relax knowing that no-one is going to steal your spot.
#9: Use A Personal Trainer
When you sign up for a personal trainer, a busy gym will become their problem, not yours.
So they will have to create an effective workout regime, within the constraints of a crowded gym.
#10: Use Less-Popular Gym Equipment
Yes, the free-weight area may be full, but this does not mean you can’t get a good workout while at the gym.
Chances are there will be some equipment that no one ever looks at. For instance battle ropes or those TRX suspension trainers you see hanging around.
You might have noticed these pieces of equipment before but were never tempted to use them. Well now is your chance to learn some new exercises, you may surprise yourself at how difficult your workout can be using this equipment.
#11: Ask To Work In
In a busy gym, it is perfectly acceptable to ask a fellow gym-member to work in.
Working in means that you are using their weights between sets while they are resting.
They may not always say yes, but if you are polite then chances are they will agree to your proposal. Just make sure to wipe off the equipment after use, and to reset any pins/weight after you finish your set.
Visiting a busy gym is not the end of the world as it is still possible to get a good workout, especially if you follow the tips given above.
The only issue you now have is the busy changing room. Luckily there are things that you can do to speed up this process too.
For example, I would recommend wearing clothing that is easy to change in and out of. Dry shampoo may also be a godsend.
If a crowded gym is really an issue for you then, unfortunately, there is very little you can do apart from going at non-peak times. Typically the peak times at the gym will be between 6 am and 8 am, and 6 pm to 8 pm.
Hello there!! My name is Jonathan, and I am a fitness blogger and bodybuilding enthusiast. I am also the founder of GainMuscleNotFat.com.
I want to provide you with the best advice to help you gain muscle mass and strength, without getting fat!