Let’s talk Planet Fitness for a minute. And no, I’m not here to lambaste the company.

(I mean I do find it extremely hypocritical that they claim they’re “judgment-free” and yet they won’t allow tank tops or the occasional “grunt” from lifting heavy, but that’s for another day.)

Anywho, Planet Fitness doesn’t stock tons of dumbbells. The highest weight they go up to is about 60 pounds.

Now, that means that you’re going to be a bit limited in terms of your potential strength gains. With 60 pounds being the ceiling, how are you supposed to continue increasing strength so you can burn more fat and build more muscle?

The principles I’m about to bestow upon you don’t apply to only Planet Fitness. In fact, you can use these principles anywhere.

But if you happen to be limited on the weight you can use — as you would at Planet Fitness or even in a hotel gym — these strategies can help you continue pushing yourself to the next level.

4 Way to Advance Your Strength and Muscle Gains at Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness

1. Eccentrics

Whatever weight you’re using, keep the lowering portion of the weight slow and controlled.

Use a tempo of 4 seconds down, 1 second at the bottom, explode the weight up, and then pause for 1-2 seconds at the top and squeeze your muscles hard AF.

You’re stronger in the eccentric portion of a lift.

But when you increase the amount of time you’re in the eccentric portion, you’ll demand more energy from your body. Those 60’s that you could rep out for 12-15 reps, will start to feel a lot heavier when you slow the movement down.

2. Change Your Angle

Maxed out the flat bench dumbbells at PF?

Cool. Play with the incline of the bench. Try a low incline. A 45-degree incline. Or even a high, nearly straight up, incline.

This works for Rows as well.

Change the angle of your hips, and hinge more or less and let your lats really stretch.

For squats or deadlifts, change the position of your feet: move them wider or more narrow and you’ll hit your quads and hammies differently.

3. Use Rest Pause Sets

Note: this is a bit of a more intermediate/advanced protocol. So until you can rep out 60-pounds at 15 reps with a slow eccentric—smoothly—do not advance to this.

Rest Pause works like this: rep out 15 reps of a weight; Rest for 10 seconds, and then rep out 5 more; continue these 5 reps until you cannot complete 3 straight, good reps.

4. Unilateral Training

Maxed out ginger squats and/or bench press?

Have you tried using one arm/leg at a time? You’re strong with two limbs working. But what about one? This is where single arm bench pressing can completely change the game for you. It will challenge your core and your pecs like never before.

And single leg training? Well. That my friend is the BEST way to turn your metabolism into the fires of Mount Doom.

  • Split squats
  • Bulgarian Split squats
  • Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts
  • Pistol squats

All of these will challenge your body in a way you’ve never imagined. And they can continue pushing your strength to new heights.

If you’re at Planet Fitness, remember these tips so that you can continue gaining strength and pushing yourself toward achieving your highest level.

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