Unless you go to some of the top sports schools in the country (insert something with the Florida Gators here) with multimillion dollar rec centers, chances are the gym in your dorm’s basement won’t have the best state-of-the art equipment, if any. A little imagination and good ol’ American stick-to-it-iveness can help you get a great workout even if your gym sucks.
Problem: You have no gym
Solution: Your body. You might not know it, but your body is one of the best pieces of fitness equipment that you have access to 24/7 /365. From push ups and pull ups to body weight squats and lunges, lifting your own body weight will get you fit and the best part is that you can do any of these exercises anywhere.
If you do have a gym, but it only has machines, stick to body weight exercises. Many machines in gyms today can cause more harm than good; check out these machines and exercises in the gym you should avoid.
Problem: No bench
Solution: Your chest is one of the largest groups of muscles in your body and can be worked out in a variety of ways.
With dumbbells, you can do the same chest exercises with a barbell and you’ll work your chest and triceps in a functional way. Don’t have dumbbells? There are a million variations of push ups you can do from incline, decline to even resistance from a partner.
Problem: No squat rack
Solution: Body weight squats, lunges or squats with or with dumbbells or kettlebells.
Even if you don’t have a barbell and squat rack, you can still do squats by holding a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells at your sides at arms length. Combine body weight squats with Tabata training (repetitively squat for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, repeat for 4 minutes) to really get a sweat.
Problem: No curl bars or dumbbells
Solution: Pull ups and chin ups. Chin ups and pull ups work not only your biceps, but also build up your back and forearms. You’ll also make your biceps much stronger because you’re curling your body weight.
Problem: No spotter
Solution: Use your better judgment
There have been many gym accidents where someone lifted way too much weight than they could handle and it severely injured them. If you really need to max out or are trying to get that millionth rep, make sure you have safety rails on your bench or squat rack or just skip it for a day when you have a spotter. No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, your safety comes first.