Going solo? No problem!

Posted by Connie K on

Your work out partner flake on you?  Maybe you just prefer to work out alone like I do.  Whatever the reason, it doesn’t mean that you have to go really light on the weight, or use a treadmill for an hour.  Here are some of my tips to keep up the intensity while staying safe and still moving heavy weight.
  • CHEAT REPS – WHAT?!!  You may be thinking – “Why would you advocate cheat reps?”.  Allow me to explain:  It might sound like something that you’d see a beginner doing, but Cheat Reps used properly can be effective in helping you push yourself to the limit (I only employ this using cables – never with a weight that would drop a bar on me etc).  I don’t mean that you should have crappy form throughout the sets, but that once you’ve pushed out 8-10 quality reps using strict form – you can push out a couple more reps with a bit of slacked form.  Example:  When you’ve reached fatigue on your tricep pushdowns using strict form, let your elbows push out to the side a bit for the last couple reps
  • SMITH MACHINE! – This might seem like a cheat machine to some,  or a machine that people who can’t lift heavy weight  would use, but it can be very effective when you’re training some heavy exercises alone that would normally require a spotter.
With the safety catches on this machine, there’s a wide variety of work you can do on “The Smith.”  Set the safety catches at the proper height for the lift you’re going to do and you can take your workout to failure.  Don’t be afraid to push heavy weight without a workout partner there.  I often employ the smith machine for my last couple sets of bench press.  Think of the smith machine as a spotter that doesn’t talk back.  It also works great for spotting you on squats, bent rows and shoulder presses.  width=
  • REST –PAUSE – If you’re not already familiar with Rest-Pause – it too can be a great way to push past failure without risking injury.  The idea is to push out your standard 8-12 reps to failure, and then rest for 10 to even 20 seconds and push out a few more reps.  Not having a training parter, some of the lifts you can incorporate rest-pause with are things like dumbbell bent rows, alternating dumbbell shoulder presses, alternating lat raises etc.  You could even use it on your dumbbell curls – the idea is that while one side rests, the other side works.
Those are just a few of the ideas I use.  ALWAYS remember to lift smart, and keep safety and injury free workouts a priority.  I prefer to train alone for the most part, so I often spend a lot of time employing these techniques.  Do you work out alone, with a partner, or group classes etc?  Let us know!      width=From 9-5, Lonnie sits in front of a computer.  Outside of being an IT Geek, he’s an athlete who’s familiar with the cycle of being fit-fat-fit that so many of us struggle with.  Down from his highest weight of 300lbs in June 2009, he’s made the permanent lifestyle change to remain Big. Strong. Fit. Healthy.  When not spending time with his wife, son and daughter, he’s at the gym keeping off the fat and adding quality lean mass.