Training In School!

Those of us in college know just how hard it is to train. There's always projects due, tests coming up, and of course, lots of procrastinating. And even if we stay up on that, there's the sleep factor. Learn how to cope and succeed!
Those of us in college know just how hard it is to train. There's always projects due, tests coming up, and of course, lots of procrastinating. And even if we stay up on that, there's the sleep factor. There's always something going on in the dorms, whether it's the tapped out guy running down the hall screaming, or the guys next to you who party every night. It's hard to have a good workout in college without a couple cups of coffee at college. Then of course, there's the under equipped gym. In my gym there is only one weight bench, and it seems the same 150 lb guy is always on it. I can get a great workout in 45 minutes, but it takes him 30 sets and 2 hours just to finish benching. Then there are the machines, which are more specified to a 300 lb lady, than to someone trying to add muscle mass. The only advantage the gym at school has over the one at home is the girls, and even still, that is a major training distraction in itself. If you find yourself in this situation, having the same three exercises to choose from per body part each week, then read on cause I'm going to provide some creative relief.

Like I said, every time I go the gym, it's the same guy on the bench for the entire time I'm there. It's no doubt that this exercise is the favorite of underdeveloped college guys, as well as a great chest builder, but don't fret, there are ways to get around this. One way is to use dumbbells, but then again, the gym has no dumbbells over 100 lbs. There's a couple ways of getting around this. One is to take a bench from the dumbbell sections, and move it under the squat rack (since hardly anyone uses the squat rack) and to do your bench-presses underneath that. The other alternative I've been toying with is pre-exhaustion techniques. I'll do a set of dumbbell flyes to failure and immediately jump into doing dumbbell presses. A set of these followed by only one on incline, and my chest is toast. It helps to keep the weights lower, but allow the intensity to still be high, that way I'm not stuck doing high reps with light dumbbells.

One of my favorite exercises back home was angled rows. My gym has a row machine, but it seems when that skinny guy isn't bench pressing, he's using the row machine looking like he's throwing sand over his back. One way I've found to get around this is by hooking a row bar onto the bottom of the cable flyes, and then bent over pull the weight up like a regular row, except you're on an angle. This works wonders for the belly of the lat. It also takes momentum out of the equation. Another thing I like to do is use the same thing, except with one arm in place of dumbbell rows.

The gym at my school has no lack of movements for the biceps, and I find the only three exercises needed to build big biceps are there: dumbbells, barbells, and preacher curls. If you walk into the gym, nearly everyone is either working chest or biceps, and usually with horrible form. I've seen one guy think he's tough shit because he curls 65 lb dumbbells. It's too bad the only part of his body that is growing from that is his ego and his lower back. Make sure when you work biceps you are using your biceps. One good way to do this is by moving the preacher curl underneath the cable flyes and attaching a straight bar to it. This keeps a constant down force on your biceps, and eliminates using your back (or for the guy using the 65 lb dumbbells: legs, calves, wall, etc.)

Shoulders and triceps don't pose too much of problem. The easiest way to hit these in an under equipped gym is through the basics of dumbbell military presses, raises (side, from, rear) and upright rows. Make sure to use really slow movements on the raises. I see a lot of guys doing all sorts of things to try and get the weights up: swinging the weights, going up 1/4 the way for 12 reps, and even jumping. This gets nothing except funny looks. As for triceps, dumbbell French curls and skull crunches are all you really need.

And legs, no one in the gym works legs. I see maybe two guys do a hardcore leg workout. About 50% of the 'big guys' I see in my gym look like potatoes being propped up by toothpicks. Most gyms have plenty of leg presses too for all the fat ladies. Just throw a couple dumbbells on top of the stack when you get strong enough to rack it. Lastly, let's talk about calves. My gym has standing and seated calf raise machines, and about 25% of the time are these used correctly. Most people throw tons of weight on, get in and bounce up and down for about 12 1/2 reps. Make sure when you do these you concentrate on a full Range Of Motion and squeezing your calves hard. If your gym doesn't have these, the easiest way to get around it is to throw some plates on your legs (while sitting) and have your toes on a 'step up box'. Sitting calf raises. For standing, use the same step up box, just hold dumbbells by your side.

For all you out there in the same predicament as me, keep training hardcore. If there's a will, there's a way. Be creative in the gym, and forget the funny looks people give you. Who knows, you may just find someone else who has half a clue about what they're doing.

The greatest battle is that in your mind - never give up.