There are many who use the excuse of not having a training partner as a reason for not being able to work out. And while I do admit that it is more challenging for some to stay motivated when you do not have a workout partner, if you want to get in shape badly enough you will do it! The key thing is how bad do you really want to achieve your goals? If your fitness goals are all you can think of, then you will do whatever it takes in order to accomplish them…even if that means training solo.
Now, many have asked me an important question: “How can I get great results from training alone if I don’t have a spotter? Are there any tips that you can offer on how to train alone safely?”
I will start my answer to this question with the following advice : you need to know your limits.
I think that a big misconception many trainees have is that they need to take each set to the point of collapsing on the floor. However, this is not the case. You should take each set to the point in which performing another repetition with good form becomes impossible. Thus, when you do a repetition and you know that the next one can only be done if you break the exercise form; it is when you reach this point that you need to stop the set. As you become more experienced in the weight room you will get to know how many repetitions of a specific exercise you can do for a given weight. If you are just getting started I highly advise you to have a training journal where you record your workouts as this will allow you to record what your strength levels are. It does not have to be anything fancy, just a notebook that you take to the gym will do or you can opt for a commercially produced one like the one I use (I use the Weight Training Diary by Hugo Rivera which you can get over Amazon.com).
Another thing that you can do is to stick to dumbbell exercises. In this manner, when you perform exercises like the bench press, for example, if you miscalculate what your limits are you will not have a bar that you cannot lift on top of you.
For exercises like squats, you can perform them with either dumbbells or inside a squat rack. The squat rack provides an excellent protection in case that you miscalculate your limits.
And for exercises like pull-ups, you can either use the pull-up assist machines that many gyms have, OR, use a smith machine by setting the bar high and using it for the pull-ups. In this manner, you can help yourself up by using your own legs. As you can see, when there is a WILL there is a WAY!
In addition to the above, here are some more tips to keep in mind so that you can get the most out of your workouts in a safe manner:
If you use home adjustable dumbbells be sure that the weights are absolutely secured by the weight collars. It is not fun to be exercising and have weights falling on your head.
If you train at a commercial gym, be aware of your surroundings. Make sure that there is no one standing in your path of execution; a huge concern when the gym is crowded.
Use the correct lifting speed and do not use momentum. Perform the exercises in a controlled manner and with no momentum making sure that you are concentrating on the contraction of the muscle being worked. Be sure to create a muscle to mind connection. Moving the weights up and down will not do much for you in terms of body sculpting results and instead only take away stress from the muscle and create imbalanced forces in the joints that can lead to injury. I like to use a lifting tempo of 2 sec when lifting the weight and 3 seconds when lowering it. At the beginning you may need to count in your head but eventually you will get used to the speed and it will be easy to do it without counting.
Again, the key to training safely and achieving great results when training alone is to KNOW YOUR LIMITS and USE COMMON SENSE. Think safety first and if you follow the tips above, you will achieve great results without injury in record time even when training alone. Best of luck !! 🙂
About the Author
Cecile Bayeul is a Registered Nurse, International fitness model/author and natural female bodybuilding champion who beat anorexia by embarking into a fitness program. She believes that by embarking into a fitness program you can not only achieve any body that you want but you can take control of your life and take it anywhere you want! You can follow Cecile via her fan page: www.facebook.com/cecilebayeul, her twitter: www.twitter.com/cecilebayeul, her YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/cecilebayeul or any of her sites: www.CecileBayeul.com and www.UniversityofAbs.com.