Ain’t Got No Time For The Fire Alarm

In high school I’d wear t-shirts or polos regardless of the temperature, and  rain or snow was the only thing that got me to put on a jacket.  Now I hate being cold, and  unless it’s 90˚ out, I’m usually in a sweatshirt, button down, or fleece.  I’d much rather layer-up than seek out heat, so I don’t quite get the allure that saunas and steam rooms have.  Come one, you’re sitting in a hot room just to sweat?  How about exercise?

While they’re not my cup of tea, some people love them, and the sauna at the gym gets a lot of action.  Yesterday, one dumb enterprising older man decided that the heater in the sauna would be great for drying off his swim trunks.  I’m halfway through a set of bench pressing, and I hear an alarm and see strobe lights.  No, the bass was not about to drop.  If you use a coal heater to dry synthetic fabric, you’re going to have a bad time.

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The cause of the commotion was known, but once the fire alarm went off, it couldn’t be undone.  We had to wait for the fire department to come and inspect the building.  Ain’t nobody got time for that, so I made sure to grab a 20kg kettlebell and my TRX before heading outside.

After checking the time I realized my “real” training plan was shot for the day, and it was time to MacGuyver a workout.  The kettlebell was ready for snatchin’ which I haven’t done in longer than I’d care to admit.  After alternating sets of 5 with each hand, I saw that my calluses didn’t have that much left in them, so it was TRX Row time:

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Inverted rows are one of those exercises that I think almost everyone should include in their programming, and I’m no exception!  This wouldn’t have been possible without the relief trailers set up after Hurricane Sandy, and I couldn’t help but think of this picture that pops up when you image search TRX:


Normally, I’d include the rows towards the end of my workout, after more taxing exercises like chin-ups, Pendlay rows, or single arm dumbbell rows.  TRX rows aren’t magic, but unlike those exercises, you can do them practically anywhere.  Thing is, you need a TRX.  If you don’t have one, pick it up HERE.

Changing your workout on the fly is a little intimidating if you’re not used to it, but it’s an important to develop the knowledge base that lets you make those changes.  Fire alarms aren’t very common in gyms, but it’s more likely that something you’ll need to use is broken, or that there’s a line to use a specific piece of equipment.  This is a problem.

I recommend learning at at least 3 variations of every major movement you’d include in your training, each with a different piece of equipment.  This ensures that if one or two of them are unavailable, you’ll still be able to use the others.  Let’s use a squat as the example.

Walk into the gym like, “Waddup, I’ve gotta back squat.” So pumped then see some bros curling in the squat rack.  I know: That’s a cold ass-honkey.

However, you might have the space to set up a barbell on the floor, and you can do a clean into a front squat.  Squatting variation, sans squat rack.

What if there isn’t a spare barbell?  Head over to your dumbbell rack and grab the heaviest sucker you can find and go to town on your goblet squat.

Baller on a (time) budget, you get your squat on without having to wait for a barbell or squat rack.  Your time is more important that sitting around waiting.  You have stuff to do!

Sometimes equipment is being used or the fire alarms go off.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!  Do yourself a favor and learn several variations of each exercise that are similar and can be used when one just isn’t possible.  If you have a specific variation you like to use, let me know so I can spread the good word!


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