What can you do when the equipment you need at the gym is always taken?
Going at a non peak hour is an obvious, great way to experience less competition for equipment.
But, that’s not an option for many people.
Regardless of what time you go to the gym, here are six steps to take to increase your access to the machines you need. (Let’s consider cable machines as our example for this article.)
1. Have a workout plan. Know what’s on it. This will increase your confidence in the gym, and decrease the amount of time you need to spend in the gym.
2. Scope out the cable machines when you enter the gym. If there are any available, go right over and incorporate the cable machine into your warmup, so you’ll be staking a claim to your cable. (Warmups should include muscle releases, glute activations, and core engagement exercises.) As soon as you’re finished with your warmup, transition into your workout with the cable/s. Be prepared to answer anyone who may come up to you asking how many sets you have left. I recommend also being prepared to offer to someone that they may work in with you (more often than not, in my experience, they decline and walk away.)
3. If, after scoping out the gym, you notice the cables are all in use, then find the one that is in the most comfortable - energetically speaking - part of the gym. Set up and complete as much of your warmup on the floor near the cables as possible. You'll be right next to the cables so that when someone walks away, you can just move over a few feet to claim your spot. (Hint: try not to look like you’re waiting for the cables. This may prompt certain folks to stay longer than they otherwise would have.)
4. If the machine is still in use after you finish the warmup, my method for inserting myself is to walk up gently and with a smile on my face to the individual using the cable. I wait until they are in between sets, of course. Smiling, I ask, “May I work in with you?" Most times, people say yes to me.
5. If you've tried the above techniques and you're still not able to use cables, then perform the first 1-2 sets in your workout with dumbbells or bodyweight, remaining close to the machines, jumping on the cables when they free up. This is especially practical if you have indication from whoever’s using your desired machine that they may be about to leave.
6. Or, if you feel confident doing so, simply delay that planned exercise altogether, and go down the list to the next one. Keep your eye on the cable machine as you go on to the next exercise. Later in your workout, come back to the cable machine when it's free.
Let me know: is this helpful? What other issues are coming that you’d like help with?
As always, feel free to help solve a friend’s problem by sending this to them!
With love, and self-love,