Working Out In A Crowded Gym: Get A Good Workout With These Steps
Best way to work out in a Crowded Gym
Learn to maximize your time and energy at the gym by keeping the below things in mind to get as much of an effective workout as possible in a crowded gym.
Keep Your Workouts Short & Focused
Let’s get this out of the way, longer workouts don’t mean better gains. This is a myth that everyone should understand before spending an unnecessary amount of time at the gym.
This is also exactly one of the reasons why overcrowding at gyms occurs in the first place.
An effective workout can be done within 30-45 minutes and research also suggests that longer workouts can degrade the overall quality of your training.
Choose Bang-for-your-Buck Exercises
Instead of doing several exercises for one muscle group, it is more efficient to do 1-2 exercises at max when you are short on time.
For example, for an effective quad workout, instead of doing all of the Squats, Leg Press, Leg Extensions, Split Squats, just keep Squats as the primary exercise and Split squats as the secondary.
Do Compound & Multi-joint Movements
- The reason why compound movements such as Deadlifts, Squats and bodyweight exercises are so effective is that they use several muscle groups at once and target more muscles in a shorter span of time.
- Other benefits include; burning more calories, improving strength and flexibility, and more muscle mass.
Avoid The Most Used Gym Equipment
Most common gym equipment for cardio exercises includes the Treadmill, Elliptical Machine and exercise bikes.
The thing is, you don’t need these to get a good cardio workout in. All you need is your body weight and some free space.
Some great bodyweight cardio exercises include:
- Jumping Jacks
- High Knees
- Squat Jumps
- Jumping Lunges
- Mountain Climber Twist
- Plank-to-knee Tap
Make a Plan well in advance
If you know when the gym will be crowded and what equipment will be used the most, you can keep an alternative workout routine planned in advance for such a situation.
Suppose you have your Leg Day on a Thursday evening but you’re also aware that it might get crowded around that time which means chances of using leg machines and squat racks are slim.
In this situation, it’s better to carry out your leg workout using dumbbells and bodyweight exercises rather than waiting in line for a machine or squat rack.
Incorporate exercises that involve minimum or no equipment
When you see all your favourite gym equipment being used by others, it’s best to divert that anger and frustration into some challenging exercises which need minimal or no equipment.
Beginner Friendly Exercises that require minimal or no equipment:
Planks are a great way of strengthening your core and abdominal muscles and is a straightforward exercise for the majority of people.
- Lie facedown with your forearms and feet touching the ground; keeping your hands open or in a fist.
- Keep your back straight and the core tight and avoid slouching your shoulders.
- Try to hold that position for at least 30-60 secs.
If that is too easy for you, you can try making it dynamic by slowly raising your arms and legs one at a time.
The squat is a great lower body exercise you can do with a single or no dumbbell.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width or slightly wider apart with your feet turned out 15 degrees.
- Slowly bend at the hips and knees until your hip crease is slightly below parallel to your knees. Think of this as an exaggerated sitting down motion.
- Press through your heels to get back up. Make sure your heels don’t rise off the floor.
A great exercise to strengthen your lower back and glutes, you can do this exercise with or without a dumbbell.
- Lie down on your back with your neck rested on the floor.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor, pointing forward and about shoulder width apart.
- Thrust your hips upward and hold that position for 2-3 secs.
- Slowly raise them down and repeat for 12-15 reps.
Burpees are a great high-intensity conditioning exercise, excellent for burning calories.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lower yourself down into a push-up position.
- Complete one push up and quickly return back to the starting position.
- Get in a squat stance and jump as high as possible. This completes one rep.
Base your exercises on the same equipment
One strategy to get a quick workout done in a crowded gym is to revolve the majority of your workouts around minimal equipment.
This approach of scarce training will help you be laser-focused with your workouts as you won’t have to search for different equipment for every new exercise.
One drawback is that the same equipment, say two 15 KG dumbbells, may not be equally challenging for all exercises as they might be easier on Squats but difficult on a chest press for beginners.
Full Body Workout Using a Single Dumbbell
For this workout, try to find a dumbbell that is neither too light nor too heavy. Go for a Dumbbell which you can shoulder press for 12-15 reps.
Single Arm Shoulder Press + Overhead Tricep Extension
Sets: 3, Reps: 12-15
Alternate between both your hands to make up for one set of shoulder presses.
Now clasp the dumbbell handle and place it behind your head and do a tricep extension by extending your elbows fully and bending them down.
Single Arm Bent-over Row + Romanian Deadlift
Sets: 3, Reps: 12-15
This will make for a good posterior chain exercise as it hits your back and hamstrings.
Goblet Squats + Lunges
Sets: 3, Reps: 12-15
Hold your dumbbell in front of you with your chest up and do a squat. Superset this with/without the dumbbell and do alternating lunges.
What to do if gym equipment is already in use?
Find alternative exercises that work the same muscle groups
It is most common to see Treadmills, Benches and Squats Racks be heavily used in a crowded gym. In this case, you’ll have to find alternate ways of completing your workouts without using those pieces of equipment.
For example, if you had two exercises lined up which both need a bench, such as a bench press and a chest fly, you will need to do exercises that target the same muscle groups—pecs, triceps, but without a bench.
These can include Dips, Paused Push ups to substitute for the Bench Press and Floor Dumbbell Chest Fly instead of the Bench Fly.
Share or Partner Up with a Gym buddy
If you are desperately in need of a bench and someone is already using it, there is no gym law that states two people or more can’t share it.
Besides exercising, this is a great way to bond with your gym dudes and dudettes. If you guys are also doing the same exercise, say a bench press, you can also volunteer to be each other’s spotters.
This is a great way to build camaraderie and create overall gym member harmony.
Just make sure you are not forcefully intruding or stealing someone else’s spot.
If benches and machines are taken, take to the floor
During peak gym hours, it can be troublesome to find a bench or a machine to get an exercise done.
But several bench-assisted exercises such as dumbbell shoulder presses, chest flyes, and a single-arm back row can be done without needing a bench.
Chest presses and flyes can be done by lying on the floor, which is an alternative most people don’t think about.
You can do a single arm row with the support of a dumbbell rack or a wall instead of taking the help of a bench.
How to avoid crowding at the Gym
Now, we have talked a whole lot about getting a workout done in a crowded gym but as a responsible and considerate gym-goer, you should also keep in mind a few things to avoid crowding at the gym yourself.
Don’t hog the gym equipment
It can be easy to blame others for over-using a bench, rack, etc but we should be aware of our own tendencies. Make sure you share with others when they too are in need and when you are taking a break from the exercise.
Learn to do efficient workouts
The best way to get an effective and short workout is by optimizing your exercise selection and training strategy.
Plan your workouts in advance so you know exactly what exercises you have to get done and don’t waste time thinking about them on the spot.
Choose exercises that maximize the number of muscles used, for example, Deadlifts not only target your hamstrings and glutes but also upper body muscles like your upper traps.
So, the time required to do an additional exercise for your traps will be saved.
If possible, go at off-peak hours
We all know that gyms tend to get crowded between 6 and 8 pm when people usually are done with work and school.
This is an opportunity for you to decide on an alternate window to get your workout done.
If mornings tend to be idle at the gym of your choice, this is a great opportunity for you to get your workout done without worrying about someone stealing your thunder.