Does Your Gym Suck?

John asked…

The biggest problem I have with StrongLifts 5×5 is my Gym I joined a few months ago (before I found this program) does not have all the equipment I need, no barbells at all. Only hand weights and smith machine which I guess is ok for squats and bench.

So this what I’ve done

I know this is not ideal and I’ve been told many times that if you are following a routine and changing it up you will not get the maximum results. Unfortunately there is any options for me as I have another 10 months on my membership.

Please let me know your thoughts.

My thoughts are that your gym sucks and that you’re wasting your time.

The smith machine is NOT okay at all for Squats and Bench Press. One, because it balances the weight for you, and forces you into fixed, unnatural movements patterns. This makes the exercise easier, thus yielding inferior muscle gains and fat loss. You’ll have to lower the weight when you switch to free weights.

Two, the smith forces your body into fixed, unnatural movements patterns which can cause knee/lower back/shoulder injuries when lifting heavier weights. They didn’t choose the smith/pulleys over barbells to your increase safety but so they don’t need employees to show you how to Squat, Bench and Deadlift.

The cable work is frankly a joke. Cable bent leg Deadlift, well, when you do a real Deadlift you’ll know the difference. Seated cable rows is good for rehab, but it’s nothing compared to Rows. Only Dumbbell Preses are okay, but you’re going to have a hard time adding 5lb each workout with dumbbells, especially on an overhead lift. Yet the key to gaining strength/muscle is Progressive Loading.

You claim you don’t have any options but you do. You can either keep going to this gym because of that contract, and then wonder for 10 months how the heck my StrongLifts Members are gaining so much strength and muscle. OR, you stop being cheap, join a new gym that doesn’t suck, and keep paying your current gym membership in the meanwhile. Those are your options.

Look, I’m frugal but I’m not cheap. If I were you, I’d get a 2nd membership in a gym that doesn’t suck, keep paying the first one for another 10 months, and actually get results. Don’t tell me you don’t have the money, you can always save on something else if you really want to. Add that a membership in a smaller, powerlifting-style gym is almost always going to cost less anyway.

Waiting 10 months to get serious is insane.