That Guy Is In the Rack Again: Emergency Workouts

OK so, that guy is tying up the rack taking phone calls, getting friends to spot his 60kg bench press, whatever. The platform is taken too. You’re on this website so you probably like doing heavy compound barbell lifts and your training plan is probably something based around getting hideously strong. What alternative workout would you recommend?

Asking to work in.


But… you’re thatguy.

Like Pwn said, common sense would be asking to work in. If they say no because of “reasons”, use dumbbells. Or a machine. Or a bodyweight version of whatever you were going to do.

A single exercise adjusted on the fly will not make or break your plan, so this really doesn’t need to be a source of major concern.

Tap him/her on the shoulder, say “You have 5 minutes to get out of my rack”. Then go get changed.

If she’s/he’s still there, you pick up a 45lbs plate and yell “I told you, get out of my rack” and you hurl the plate at him/her.

I guess working in is an option too…


you want a new workout plan based on the fact that someone else is using the bench when you want to use it? That seems pretty silly. Stand by the bench, wait til he’s done if he won’t let you work in, and use it then. I wait for equipment all the time, it’s not a big deal.

so because he’s not very strong, and needs assistance with weights that seem light, means he shouldn’t be allowed to use them? Or get a spot? What the fuck is wrong with you? When I started lifting weights at 18 years old, I started with an empty bar, and soon moved onto using a 10 lbs plate on each side. And I used a spotter. Get over yourself, don’t be an asshole. That guy who’s benching 60kg right now with a spot may look like me in a few years. You never know.


This is how I met the best and only long-term lifting partner I ever had.

Initially I was going to suggest standing a few feet off the rack/platform and masturbating through his pants to hurry them up.

This could get the OP a lifetime gym partner and bonus locker room seks to aid recovery.

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That’s why I have “template” but not a concrete plan. But i usually picks times that the gym are not busy so I can do whatever I want. But I tend to go in with an idea of what I need to complete in a given week. And depending how the week goes I just make it work.

For example I know each week I need to:

Back squat twice
front squat once
deadlift once
bench press once
oh press once
do a lot of rows and chin-ups
hit my lower body with accessories twice
hit my upper body with accessories twice
hard condition 2-3x

So I just get it done as the week goes by. It’s a bench day but all the benches are taken? Fuck it either go oh press, squat or deadlift and just get the work done. Back squatted the day before but all that’s available is deadlifts? Oh well, you still going to get stronger putting in work.

A plan is great, but just getting the work done is even better.

*On a side note, I would have never thought like this 3 years ago haha.


This is pretty much exactly how I’m training at the minute. My available training time and days is pretty inconsistent with family life but as long as I get in my to do list I’m good, that may be spread across 3 sessions or 6 short sessions but I get it in.

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Same as me man! It’s better to just get the work in.

I found more frequent but shorter training sessions seem to work better for my life right now. So now I just hit the gym Monday-Friday with basically a fullbody-upper-lower-upper-lower type split or basically full body m-f but obviously varying intensities. Working great so far! Much easier to make it in for 35-45 minutes 5 days a week than 60-90 minutes 3-4x a week.

Working well for me also.

I find when my training time is inconsistent I can easily get very frustrated trying to stick to a set in stone routine. Some nights it’s shoulder rehab and abs on the living room floor whilst watching tv!

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This is my default response, and that’s why I got my own weights at home. Most gyms around here only have one power rack, better lift at home than end up lifting in the penitentiary.

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Ask to work in. People usually either say yes or hurry the fuck up and leave.


Was in this situation today for the first time all year. Just did all my accessory work (that I usually superset with my main lift) first. That, plus a proper warmup, took up about 20 minutes - just enough time before a rack was free.

Usually I never have to wait. Many times I’m the only one in the gym (or at least the only one in the free weights area) for half my workout. So today took me by surprise (especially being Thanksgiving week)!

Do like the others said. I adapt. If I need to Deadlift then it’s easy. I find a bar, floor space, and I Deadlift. I don’t get the bumpers but as long as I snag two round plates I’m happy.

I usually do this near a rack so if a tech opens up while I’m deadlifting then I snag it and I’m set.

Before my hip problems I could front squat. I can power clean more than I front squat so, again, if I had a bar and floor space then I’d power clean the weight and front squat.

You’re only limited by your creativity.

One of the most frustrating things to me at a gym. I understand their target demographic, but don’t push the committed guys out.

this is funny.

why shouldn’t they? The ‘committed guys’ are the ones mostly likely to move and drop heavy weights, damage equipment, annoy other gym-goers, intimidate others, etc. Gym owners should do whatever they think will net them the highest profits.

I would be willing to bet there are 30+ gyms closer to where I live than the gym I actually go to. If you want more power racks, or a different atmosphere, drive to find it.


This is true, if you talk to some people who actually manage or own gyms what you will learn is that a large portion of their profits comes from people who sign up and go only a couple times, not regular gymgoers and certainly not competitive powerlifters or bodybuilders. That is why a lot of gyms push long membership terms, they got your money and they no longer need to give you any incentive to actually work out because unless you hire a personal trainer they aren’t making any more money off you. The few serious gyms out there are targeting a small percentage of the population. In Ottawa, population just under 1 million, there are two gyms that are set up to accommodate powerlifters.

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Some gyms even do stuff like take away dumbbells over 80lbs and stuff like that so that the regular nerds and old ladies don’t feel threatened by big strong men lifting heavy weights. It’s a joke, but that’s how it is.

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Everything you just mentioned is essentially the planet fitness model. And it’s brilliant. You charge an extraordinarily low membership fee, anywhere from 10-20 dollars per month. You remove most of the free weights, the heavier dumbbells, the barbells. So you have a bunch of low maintenance equipment. You discourage the ‘hardcore’ lifter from joining and training regularly, and your membership price is low enough to have a lot of members who are ok with paying month to month without showing up regularly. So wear and tear per member is minimal.