The gym can be an intimidating, scary place (for different reasons now than before...ha...ha...ha). Even without the looming risk of contracting a virus, many people don’t feel too comfortable hitting the iron on their own for a variety of reasons. Lack of confidence in their technique/form, not knowing what exercises to do, or just not wanting to be working out next to the group of gym bros with half a shirt on. All valid reasons, especially that last one.
While the use of other exercise options are very much encouraged (sports, outdoor activities, etc.), resistance training should be manipulated and implemented to aid in your goals. Most people don’t LOVE working out with weights, but what you should appreciate are the benefits they can have when done correctly, and the lasting positive impact on your fitness journey.
When lifting weights on your own, the main key to ensuring correct technique is to be as in tune with the movement as possible. There are literally thousands of exercises, remembering the exact cues and set-ups for each specific one is a daunting task. Just remember, all strength exercises are just variations of a handful of basic movements.
You have horizontal presses and pulls (chest presses and rows), vertical presses and pulls (overhead presses and pulldowns), squats, hinges (deadlifts/romanian deadlifts), lunges, and rotation/anti rotation (core). Some movements are harder to categorize than others but you get the point. What this should mean is that as long as you understand the basic movement patterns and good mechanics, then you shouldn’t be intimidated by any one particular movement.
For example, regardless of what kind of chest press it is, you still want good shoulder packing (scapular depression), elbows tucked in, lats on when you pull the weight in, and pausing at the bottom of the rep. These cues are pretty much true for most movements so you can see the point. Being proactive just means to always be scanning yourself as you do the exercise to see how things are feeling. If you are feeling the right muscles working, then great! If it feels off, it probably is. Don’t just push through to be extra macho. Stop, think, make the necessary adjustments, and try again.
HAVE A PLAN
Not knowing what to do in terms of a program or workout routine is another very common reason for staying away from doing strength training on one’s own. Lucky for you this blog has posted a number of different workouts that can be done in the gym, at home, or in the middle of a jungle. If you have a trainer then feel free to ask them to give you a couple workouts you should do and you can be sure that the program will include exercises you feel comfortable with.
Those aside, there are plenty of free apps that take you through basic workouts that can be effective if done correctly. This is where some good judgment is required on your part to modify and eliminate movements as necessary. Don’t do 50 squat jumps if it hurts your knees. Don’t do a barbell deadlift if it hurts your back. That being said, many of these apps typically aren’t too harmful and this is a case of something is usually better than nothing.
SHOW THE “GYM BROS” HOW IT’S DONE
As for not liking the crowds of a gym or the people there, that can be understandable. You can try a different gym, or going at different times if possible. If those aren’t options then most gyms have other areas besides the main weight room that will have most, if not all, of the equipment you would need. And if you do have to go into the lion’s den, just be confident in what you are doing and know that even the buffest of the buff, could probably learn a thing or two from you.