Pump iron... without a rack (or a machine)
Squat racks, bench presses, and open benches are the next areas to get backlogged with excited gym-goers who assume you need a pre-designated space to enjoy a workout.
You don’t. You’re the master of your universe and your workout, not the gym manager who ordered equipment and organized the gym.
All you really need is something weighted, so pick your pleasure: dumbbells, kettlebells, pre-weighted barbells, medicine balls, or individual plate weights. Select your preferred item and find an empty space on the gym floor. Also, newsflash! You don’t even need to be in the free-weight area. Grab your weights and take them wherever you have room to move.
The most important exercises are those that work multiple muscle groups at once, like squats, lunges, push-ups, deadlifts, shoulder presses, rows, and pull-ups (or assisted pull-ups). By adding weight and adjusting your body position, you can easily get a total-body workout without ever using a machine or hanging out on the gym floor. For instance, try the following series:
- Medicine ball slams, three sets, 30-45 seconds
- Goblet squat, three sets, 10-15 repetitions
- Walking lunges with dumbbells, three sets, 12-15 repetitions
- Push-ups, two sets, 8-12 repetitions
- Deadlift, two sets, 10-12 repetitions
- Single-leg deadlift, one set per leg, 10-12 repetitions
- Bent-over dumbbell row, two sets, 10-12 repetitions
- Shoulder press, two sets, 10-12 repetitions
- Plank, two sets, 30-45 seconds hold
- Weighted oblique twist, two sets, 12-15 twists per side
Select a weight so that the last one to two repetitions of each set are difficult to perform with good form (although not impossible). Allow a moderate amount of rest (30-60 seconds) between each set and exercise.