If you did not already know, or guess, I am a student attending secondary school and that means using the beloved school gym. It may be small; with rusty barbells, even rustier safety clips and broken equipment, but it provides a nice little environment to spend an hour and a half for four days a week. All was fine and dandy until, coming back from the Christmas holidays, something changed… Upstairs in the cardio gym one of the most useful and respected machines was gone. The cable machine had been sold. For those of you who do not know what this implies, it implies this- no lat pull-down, no tricep push-down, no cable rows, no cable raises and most importantly no cable curl. Suddenly my training schedule and many others fell into chaos and a panic ensued as people tried to find substitutes. I myself ran into this issue as I struggled to find new exercises, and to this day I do still have problems.
Three weeks later and ,as mentioned above, I do still have issues. So to try and right those issues I will write a short guide to finding alternatives when it all hits the fan.
My first tip is to look at training that muscle or muscle group from a different angle. Takes your latissimus dorsi, or lats, for example. The chances are you train them by doing a lat pull-down or pull ups, instead swap one ,or both, of those out for something like a bent over row with an easy bar. Use a lighter weight than usual and really slow down the repetitions- concentrating on the “squeeze” in the scapula retraction. If you are a bit short of time you can even superset this with a bicep exercise, as biceps are used in full scapula retraction. Another example would be a pullover- traditionally used as an accessory movement when training chest- it does in fact use your lats. So it goes to show that next time you run into trouble, think outside the box.
Another way to get round the problem is by simply cutting the exercise completely. Instead just take the volume that would have made up that exercise and add it to the other exercises in your program- whether this takes the form of additional sets, additional reps or a weight increase it does not matter. In some ways this may be your only option due to limitations with your gym or otherwise.
If you have had this problem in the past and have made it past it then, please leave it with me in the comments below. You never know who you might help…