Do you feel one can make it to the highest levels of bodybuilding without having a training partner? I desperately want to compete successfully and make a name for myself in this industry, but my particular job forces me to train in the middle of the night when everyone else is fast asleep.


Before I explore this interesting query further, I will cut to the chase and tell you straight away that you most certainly can be a successful, high-level bodybuilding competitor/champion while training all by yourself. Of course, there are obvious disadvantages to flying solo in the gym, such as not being able to utilize certain effective intensity techniques (like forced reps or negatives) and needing to stop short of complete failure on major exercises like bench presses, leg presses, and squats—but this certainly does not mean you can’t still train hard.

While I have had several amazing training partners in my 25-plus years in the gym, I have lifted on my own for the majority of my career and yet managed to win several titles, earn a natural pro card, and carve out a successful career in the fitness industry.

The keys to attacking the weights all by your lonesome lie in these three vital things: 1) choosing the right exercises—dumbbell movements, machines, cables, 2) utilizing intensity amplifiers that do not require the aid of a partner (cheat reps, partials, rest-pause, supersets, dropsets), and most important, 3) learning to be 100% self-motivated while consistently fostering the necessary drive/ passion to push yourself to your utmost limits in the gym day in and day out. In bodybuilding, it is the individual who is singularly responsible for his/ her own success or failure.

In fact, I can honestly say that my most intense, gut-wrenching, vomit-inducing workouts have taken place while training all alone, with loud music blasting in my ears, blood rushing through my veins, and no knowledge of anything else going on around me. So stop worrying about not having a partner and instead embrace and appreciate getting to face the battle with iron all on your own, because your greatest ally in the gym is none other than you.


  • Flat Bench Dumbbell Press | SETS: 2 (dropset) | REPS: 7-9
  • Incline Dumbbell Flye | SETS: 2 | REPS: 10-12*
    • superset with Bench Pushup | SETS: (feet elevated) 2 | REPS: 10-12
  • Hammer Incline Press | SETS: 2 | REPS: 4-6 (rest-pause)**

*Max rep.
**Do four to six reps, rest 20 seconds, then do max reps, rest 40 seconds, then do max reps.


  • Standing Lateral Raise* | SETS: 2 | REPS: 10-12
  • Seated Rear-Delt Flye** | SETS: 2 | REPS: 7-9
  • Seated Machine Shoulder Press | SETS: 2 (dropset) | REPS: 7-9

*Once you have reached failure using ultrastrict form, begin using some momentum to keep the dumbbells moving to the top.
**After full-range failure, continue the set by getting as many partials (1⁄2 and even 1/3 reps) as possible.

Bald fitness enthusiast working out with a single dumbbell increasing his training intensity

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