Five tips to boost your solo workout

Ideally, I’d like to have my brother, a friend, or one of the fitness trainers I know, with me in the gym each time I work out. To me, there’s nothing quite like having someone to help push you through a workout. They can provide added motivation, give a spot on heavy lifts such as bench press and even point out possible flaws in your technique.
Like many people, though, I have to fly solo often when it comes to my workouts.
However, just because you don’t have anyone around to go to the gym with you doesn’t mean the workout should suffer. Here are five tips to boost your solo workout:
1. Push yourself – Try to work as hard as you would if your friend or trainer was there yelling at you “Give it everything you’ve got! Give it everything you’ve got!”
Don’t back off because you’re alone. If the weights are going up too easy, such as doing 12 solid reps on a squat or biceps curl, then bump up your weight the next time.
2. You can ask for a spot – If you’re in a gym and have a few heavy sets, such as bench press or shoulder presses, there’s nothing wrong with asking someone else who’s there for a spot. Every time I’ve asked for assistance, I’ve received a kind “OK” usually followed by “no problem” or “any time.”
3. Try interval training – Mix in interval training to spice up your solo training. An example is to mix in 5-10 minute sessions on the treadmill or elliptical machine in between sets with free weights, or on a functional trainer.
4. Look in the mirror – A mirror in a weight room isn’t all for vanity. Look in the mirror to check your form and make sure you’re performing lifts properly whenever possible, especially if you’re working out without a partner. BONUS TIP: Slow down. Often people perform lifts too quickly, so make sure you’re going slow enough to really work the muscles throughout the lift.
5. Log it – As I’ve written before on this blog, keeping a workout log provides an excellent motivating tool and helps you set new goals as well.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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