Training At Home Safely and Effectively

Training at home and alone is both a daunting and potentially dangerous task. If you have the commitment and determination to get strong and do it in your house, there are a few best practices you'll need to know. 

Keeping it safe

When you bench press, you should have a mechanism to save you when you fail. This might be pins on a squat rack. This might be boxes under where the plates can land when you fail. The bare minimum is that you do not use the spring clips when you bench. This will allow you to roll to one side, let the plates fall off, and get the bar off your body. Do not roll the bar up your chest, over your belly, and on your waist. This can crack ribs, cause internal bleeding, and kill you.

Your training space should have a dedicated area when you're training. If you want to put all of your workout equipment away when you're done, that's fine, but when you're training, nothing else is in the area. This is important because the area itself needs to be free of clutter and dangers. If you have nails sticking out of the ground or beach balls rolling around and you step on one with 300lb on your back, you're going to have a bad day. Similarly, if a dog or baby is walking around while you're lifting, you need to be careful. Remind your spouse and children that this is your time to train, and it is a potentially dangerous environment. You wouldn't let your kids run around when you're working with power tools. You can't do let them do it while you're training.

Bring a book

When you train alone, you will become bored. However, you will need your rest in between sets, so don't rush it. Bring a book or watch TV, but don't do anything that you'll stress about. Don't bring your laptop home and work while you lift. Don't try to finish that cabinet at your table saw in between sets. The most likely outcome is that you'll find your workout ruined, your cabinet ruined, or both.


A coaching eye will be required to make sure you are performing the movements with correct form. Obviously, the best way to do this is have a coach for every workout. However, if you choose not to have a coach, videotaping your workouts will provide better feedback than nothing. You can also visit with a coach once a week, month, or year as a check on your form. Form drift is inevitable, and only a coach with experience and understanding of the lifts can prevent or fix it.


Lifting alone can be done effectively and safely and, I personally find great solace in the isolation, but you must be careful. Any rules you have for using power tools or going camping can be applied to this thinking. You wouldn't go camping alone without telling someone where you're going. You wouldn't use power tools with kids running around. You need to keep it safe and be smart about it. Education, critical thinking, and preparation are the best protectors here. Buy safe equipment and have safe practices. You might be upset spending $1000 on lifting equipment, but it'll last you forever, and you'll be more upset if you save $750 and end up in the hospital.