T Nation

Training in a Busy Gym


Hey guys, I go to this community centre gym however it's pretty good, it has 3 squat racks with platforms and Olympic weights, 1 rack of DBs up to 110 and a second rack up to 80. Only 1 bench press, GHD, a few cable machines. It's pretty cheap. However over the past few weeks it's gotten insanely busy. Me and my bud have to wait a while for a rack and we are usually strapped for time. Almost all of my work outs require a barbell.

I don't want to change gyms because the other gyms Around are a golds gym (too pricey) and a community another community gym with no racks. Help


What kind of help can you expect to receive. Why not just go at a less busy time? An empty gym is the best gym IMO.


Go in the morning.

I never go to the gym in the evenings. Like you said, just too many people.

Also, around 2pm to 4pm is a sweet spot.


I, too, work out in an inexpensive gym that can easily get crowded. For me, the solution was simple.

Squat on Mondays when everyone else is benching. Bench on Tuesdays when everyone else is not benching. Problem solved and I rarely have to wait for equipment.

Find a way to make it happen. Nobody on the internet will be able to directly help you with that.


If the above suggestions don't work, you'll just have to decide if it's worth the extra cash for the time saved in not waiting and the comfort of not being so crowded.


What does your current program look like?

Busy gyms can suck, but you adapt however you can. That could mean streamlining your routine be shaving off any wasted time so you're in and out quicker, use alternative exercises depending on available equipment (heavy DB squat instead of back squat for example), switch the order of days (as mentioned, once you get a feel for what most of the people are doing on each day).

I think just trying to go at a different time might be one of the less practical choices. I know that if you told me I had to go to the gym two hours earlier or later than I currently do, it'd pretty much change everything else I do during the week.


You have a few choices:

-Change gym time (not always an option)
-Reorder the exercises you are currently doing or find an alternative
-Change your weekly workout plan around (as in never bench on Monday, each gym is different about these but some days certain pieces of equipment are almost always more crowded than others)

If you can get in the gym between 1-4pm that is almost always the least busy time to go.


Yeah I will try my best to get in eariler, Wednesday night I'm going to go at 7 and see how it is.


You could, if necessary, try the upper body session on Tuesday. Just another consideration.

Something like that should be fine in the big picture. For the most part, if you can keep the movement pattern and the relative load/rep range the same, it's not a major change if, for one workout, you dumbbell press heavy for 6 reps instead of barbell press heavy for 6 reps.

If you can, I guess it's worth a shot. But like I said, changing the time I train would be at the bottom of the list of options.


Thanks for your help Chris.

I also have a minimally equipped home-gym.

Chin up bar, kettle bell, bosu ball (push ups?) skip rope, some bands. Light dumbbells.


What do people tell you when you ask to work in with them on the rack?


How much do you and your buddy's pay for your gym membership?

I bought my bar for ~£40.

Add a few weight plates, you've got yourself a basic gym.


I will give it a shot thanks!


Most of the time their are happy too, however 90% of the time we use different weights, the rack isn't adjusted to my height or we are doing different exercises


I will try and change it up as I usually do my benching on wednesday and squats/deads on monday.



The people at my gym use the squat racks and platforms not for squatting and deadlifting.

They use it for incline bench, INVERTED ROWS (when its busy...) just stuff that can be done else where and it ties up racks for people who want to do the big 3.

Rant over...


You have 2 accounts?

The adjusting is a good way to stay active during rest periods.


Ask them to move.


You have three options.

  1. Wait.
  2. Go on off times.
  3. Buy access to a bigger gym.

I'd suggest 2 AND 3. What I wouldn't do is change my workout composition more than once or twice just because I can't get the stuff I want due to traffic when other options exist.


There's a fourth option: buy your own gym. It just isn't that expensive if you do it gradually.