T Nation

Training Alone


Recently my situation has changed and left me with access to a good gym but no one to train with. I will have access to a monolift, chains, bands, reverse hyper, GHR, and all the other stuff I am used to training with, but I will be on my own for most training sessions. For those of you who train alone, what are some tips and tricks you use to get the most out of your training? I am thinking mostly of stuff like bench hand-offs, help with learning my new lifting gear, and training cues that I will be missing. Thanks guys.


Man I feel your pain. I had the same partner for 3+ years. Best Partner I had, then all of a sudden, new GF, new job, and a complete 360 degree change. Went from hating the pretty boy image, giving large amounts of crap to those that were into that, abs and lean stuff to embracing every bit of it. Im finding it IMPOSSIBLE to train for a contest in the fall. No spotters now, motivation hit, so I will keep a close eye on this thread and see what advice your giving. I feel your pain.

Best luck with the training.


Power racks help. Music, too.


Maybe Im just used to it but training alone hasnt halted gains at all. When I did start training alone, it was a noticeable change but I got used to it fairly quickly. When it comes to the more unsafe exercises like bench press, Id just use the power rack. It becomes your training partner. Ive never had a dangerous situation yet. You will be fine man. The worst problem you will come across imo is motivation. It definitely isnt as easy without a training partner. Music, reading articles and such about training(preworkout), and setting a goal are things that can help. Good luck man.


Good post, and I agree you should adjust pretty quickly. Although, I have to disagree on the motivation aspect. I've never gotten anything out of music, and I haven't had a training partner in 8 years since I graduated from high school and what was an excellent lifting environment.

The trick is holding yourself accountable to the utmost. Powerlifting is about you and your own improvements at the end of the day, and training alone just magnifies that. Learn to appreciate every minute gain you make, and learn to draw your motivation from within. I can tell you that I feel the same adrenaline rush before I attempt a squat PR by myself as I did when I was attempting one in a meet.

I can't tell you anything about gear, but make sure to give your bench spotters very detailed instructions (which they'll probably ignore anyway). The one thing I miss most is a consistent and competent spotter on bench.


^^ That's some sage advice HT.

Sadly, I have NEVER had a training partner for any length of time. Like others I lift mostly in a power rack in my garage. My motivation WAS excellent when I had a younger brother to kind of compete with. ( He lives in another state which is why he's not my lifting partner)then he went into the Army and runs all the freaking time so the weights went to a P-90X kind of thing..hangs head. But that works for him for his goals I guess.

Now my motivation is so-so. I mean I get it done but not as well as before. The "self accountability" is key, sometime though that accountability wanes and you have to dig deap.

I've signed up for a Golds gym that will open soon in the Nashville area (Hendersonville) so I'm hoping to hook up with some lifters ( possibly some of you guys) or at least 'compete' with the gym rats that wear wife beaters and do endless benchpress sets.


Umm, ever thought of going to a commercial gym and making friends? I mean seriously. You don't NEED a super-hardcore powerlifter/bodybuilder to be your training partner. All you really need is someone who understands what you want...

Anyway, to the topic. I can see how an aspiring WEIGHTLIFTER would need a coach, but a powerlifter needs only but himself and the right equipments for training. If you can't motivate yourself, you're not built for powerlifting.


Kind of a pain in the ass to put on gear, run a monolift or get a proper spot without partners--its not a question of motivation.


I haven't had a training partner in ~3 years. You need to really love the sport and have a lot of motivation. As for geared lifting, I could see things being a lot tougher. I would love to get a solid training partner again though... competition between partners can spur some good gains.


Absolutely. Im glad I train raw. Geared is a totally different story when training alone.


I trained alone most of my lifting career. If you can call it a career. :slight_smile:

Anyhow, one thing i really started to like the last 8 mths is not timing my rest periods, its all by feel. I assume you don't time your rest periods but its worth mentioning. For instance, my bench press and OHP i take much less rest between heavy sets then i do deadlifts.

Another thing i started to do a lot since i stopped looking at the clock is visualizing my lifts - with speed. I try to almost snap.

I'm very quiet when i train too. Like a quiet determination. I never listen to music but have the TV going most of the time but its in a different room. But its the room i usually rest in. That could will be a personal preference.

Good luck!


Music is key for me. I go to a commercial gym so the music sucks balls. Just find the right tunes for how you're feeling that day and sing and rock out.


All I know is that I would so be blaring crazy death metal! I hate the crap they call music in commercial gyms. I don't like head buds b/c they take too much attention from what's going on around me in an environment filled with potential hazards that other people can bring down on me.


Bench is the only thing where I feel I benefit from someone else around who actually knows what they're doing. A good bench with adjustable uprights and low hooks, you can get by. But it's still nice to have a spotter when you're doing significantly more than your bodyweight.


I almost always trian alone and have done so for about 15 years. I like to have my whole workout planned before I set foot in the gym. Spotters can be an issue. The trick is to find someone who you trust. If you don't know anyone that can be a pain in the ass. I try to workout at the same times, I tend to know one or two guys I can count on for help.


You dont like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, or Beyonce? You just dont know good music ;].


I train alone 98.5% of the time. I love to listen to my music while I train


Have you checked out local PL clubs to train with periodically? I trained alone for quite a while but would go to a club an hour away from time to time for help. Those were the times I would max out. I train with gear though so the help becomes necessary.


Been training alone for the last three years. Music is my best friend. That's just my personal preference, but I NEED a charged iPod (or I use my phone) and headphones and I'm good to go. Hundreds of songs, usually high in intensity, and I just shuffle and go.

Before a PR or tough set I'll usually cycle through my iPod and find the "perfect" song that I'm feeling in that moment. Everyone's different. I see guys busting ass in the gym with no spotter and no music, which is great. I also see the same two dudes working out together all the time and they make zero progress and spend half their time talking.

You just have to fiddle with it, try a couple different things, don't sweat it! (well, you should be sweating..)


Just got back from the gym actually. Set a PR in my dead...stared at the bar for a full minute rapping a verse to an Eminem song, took a deep breath, gripped that baby and pulled it up. My kind of motivation! and the B's won that helped