Working out alone in a basement or garage gym is a way of life for thousands of trainees. These are the people who get up early or stay up late to grind out reps with barbells and dumbbells. Nothing flashy, no distractions, and no spin class going on in the next room. Just us and the weights.
That’s the upside.
There is a downside and one of them is the comfort zone. Training solo is preferred by many, but are they all training this way for the right reasons?
In most areas of life no one likes to fail. The gym is an exception. Training to failure is often our goal. What we have to avoid is quitting.
Can you push a set to the max without someone there to push you? I’m not talking about the safety aspect. It goes without saying that you need to be smart. I’m talking about what goes on in your head. Human nature is to head for the door as soon as the pain starts.
Can you eek out one, two or even three more reps? Its hard to keep the weight moving. Its hard to know when the set is really done. That’s where a good training partner is worth their weight in gold. A good training partner knows how to push you to your limit.
Can you do that by yourself? There is no answer to that question, but here’s two ideas to help you get to the limit:
1 – Time Under Lift. I write about this concept a lot and that’s because I believe it is a superior way to train. Make the clock you goal and give yourself permission to use negatives and static holds to get there. Just be sure not to get sloppy.
2 – Start counting when the reps get painful. This is a play on the famous quote from Muhammad Ali. When someone asked him how many sit ups he did he responded by saying that he did not know because he didn’t start counting until it started to hurt. When it comes to squats, bench press and dead lift, by the time the pain starts you probably don’t have much left in the tank. So make your sets only one, two or three reps but only count the ones that hurt.