Commercial Gym Training
How many of you train by yourself in a commercial gym?
Over the holidays we went up north to spend some time with family and I went back to the gym I started at back in highschool. It's a pretty big commercial gym with fair equipment but nothing necessairly intended for powerlifting.
I wasn't at a complete loss for what to do, however it did make me realize that getting to the point I'm at in powerlifting would be much much more difficult were I not at Westside.
Without the right training partners, equipment (bars, benches that are 12" wide etc) and atmosphere it's hard to be super successful I think.
However I know some people do it.
I go to a "commercial gym" though I'm lucky in the sense that the owner is a big into bodybuilding and powerlifting and there's a strong community of people that actually compete (though mostly bodybuilding) that train there. Used to be a Powerhouse Gym. I'm one of the few powerlifters but I've gotten to know quite a few guys that are strong enough I can trust them spotting me.
Equipment wise they have pretty much everything I need, the only thing missing is a reverse hyper but the owner has been considering getting one so hopefully that will come soon. I do wish I had access to competition benches. Benching on the shit commercial benches definitely makes things tough.
I know the guy that runs the APF meets here in Michigan, he has an awesome setup and a decent crew that trains together but I can't really justify paying for 2 gym memberships right now. The gym I currently train at is 24/7 which I don't want to give up due to my schedule.
I usually train at home. But on vacation I'll visit the commercial gyms. It's nice to have access to some of the machines for fun--rear delt, hammer strength stuff, a good leg press.
But what usually lacks is a good platform, a solid power rack and worst of all good bars. The knurling was virtually useless. Plus they had hexagonal plates which would make deadlifting a pain.
Ironically, if some of these places spent a little less on machines and cardio and upgraded the barbells and had a platform with some bumpers, they'd be a great place to train.
I trained at Anytime Fitness for the past year while we renovated our garage, and I have to say it's been pretty decent. They bought some power bars, and catered to those who wanted to lift big. The owner is an old college powerlifter (busted for PED's in the 165 weight class which is laughable) but none the less, he made his facility pl friendly. Now, I'm 75% set up in my garage, built a platform with another on the way, got nearly 1000lbs of plates and some power bars, just waiting on my rack to be build by Texas Strength Systems and then I'll be 95% complete, with just a few things I want to add. When I trained at metroflex it was definitely easier to push myself and dig deep. Sometimes it's hard in the garage, in the cold, all alone :( but I can usually focus and push myself to the same intensity level.
I went to a powerlifting gym for about a year some time back and it was great, but returned to the commercial gym I was at before that. I was thinking of this the other day actually because the atmosphere at the commercial gym is really good. A lot of people know each other and are friendly, but don't bother others while they are training. I found two great training partners at this gym, though they had to move on with the way life took them. I am on my own now and like being able to do what I want. So, all in all I enjoy it, but I am not someone who is setting all time records and I don't train multiply, so perhaps my thought process would be different if that were the case.
Yeah I would agree joey, my view would be less strong I guess if I didn't compete in multiply as well as raw but even for raw stuff, trying to take 570+ out by yourself is just a disaster
And with crappy bars, really a pain but the real kicker is the benches that are so narrow. Shoulder injury waiting to happen.
I guess it just made me appreciate where I'm at I guess.
The key though is enjoying your atmosphere though. Even with sometimes sub par equipment the atmosphere makes all the difference. So long as a person is finding that competitive gear in their mind that's the key.
You just described why I started a powerlifting gym back in 2008.
I train in a big commercial gym (4000+ members) but we've been able to set up a good relationship with the owner, and in the last 2 years we've gone a long way in making it a good place to lift: we've bought 3 bars (1 decent bar was already there, as there were bumper plates), and the owner got us 2 racks, 1 platform (even if it's for Oly...) and a decent comp-bench replica, and we can use as much chalk as we want.
We still get funny looks when we walk out of the locker room wearing Katanas or Centurions, but it's ok.
Ill never bench heavy again on a hammerstrength bench. I tore my shoulder up on that 8 inch wide pad that's only 12 inches off the ground. I use the YMCA for assistance work but that's all I will do. I have for years. But recently I have found my self going to the private pl gym for that stuff.
Originally Posted by Travis Bell
I loathe commercial gyms. I will not train in them. Now, if I am on vacation and need to catch a few workouts (different than training to me) I do it.
I could not successfully train at a commercial gym.
I went to a commercial gym on Christmas day and I was looking around for the bumper plates, kettlebells, sleds and box jumps. None to be found lol. I also had to squat outside of the power rack because it was too narrow for my stance.
My powerlifting career started in a commercial gym back in 1998-1999. Of course I was young so all I ever did was squat, bench, and deadlift. I started at a Worlds Gym which was home to IFBB Pro Darrem Charles in Deerfield Beach, so they really didn't mind guys powerlifting. Right after I moved to where I'm at now I believe another gym bought them out. When I moved to Lakeland, I joined a Golds Gym and continued to train there for a couple more years. The owner didn't have a problem either, all he wanted us to do was clean up our mess. He even payed our entry fees to compete against local gyms in push/pull meets which I thought was cool. When I started powerlifting again in 2008, I joined a powerlifting gym that had all the updated toys to train with. Since then I built a gym in my garage and I love it. I go back from time to time to train at the PL gym and hang out with some old friends. I still have a membership to Golds Gym and I'll do some accessory work there and that's about it. If I had to do my training at a CG, then I'll make it happen, I'm just glad I don't. It's not the equipment that bothers me, it's the damn people!!! lol