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5/3/1 Without Squat Rack

I was desperate to get back in the gym after lockdown finished and joined one close to home. The thing is, this gym doesn’t have a squat rack.

I’ve used 5/3/1 before and want to use it again, but how can I make it work without barbell squats?

I’m becoming a bit of an old timer now and simply just want to train?

I can Bench, Deadlift and Press at this gym and they’ve got dumbbells and machines.

At the risk of it being gym etiquette heresy placing your but where people ordinarily put their face, you could kind of box-squat on the bench and start your set from the bottom position.

Clean the bar and front-squat?

Barbell Hack Squat

Deadlift the bar, sit down, place the bar in the nook of your elbows, and zercher the bar?

Belt squats, either buy a loading pin or use a barbell and a landmine (or corner)

Is there a smith machine you can do squats in?

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Hey, you’ve given me some ideas here. Thanks!

There’s a smith machine but I don’t want to use it.

I’m going to clean the bar and do front squats.

There’s plent of dumbells for assistance. Now I need to work out which is the best 3 day program from any of the books, to get me back into it.


What Allberg said or also:
The last gym I belonged to let me leave my trap bar there. They can be found for $100.


What about just doing without and making sure you have some “squatting” in your assistance every workout: DB Squat, Leg Press, Lunges etc.

Is there a leg press?

Cleaning and front squatting is a solid idea. You could also do Zerchers, taking the first rep from the floor

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A gym without a squat rack… what is the world coming to…?


Old timer? How old?

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40 but life is wearing me down haha

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I’ve got 9 years on you…:wink:

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Bench/Press/Dead as your main lifts. If you are comfortable with doing power cleans, power snatches or the hand variation of either of these - these can be used as a main lift.

On bench/press day, do DB squats. No less than 50 total reps. Train this hard. Our “base” level of strength for freshman football players is 50lbs DB for 50 straight reps. We had a junior perform 50 straight reps with a 150lbs DB. So you can do this lift and get strong (provided you are kicking ass on the DL and doing shit like heavy prowler work/sled work, stair/hill sprints or stair/hill walks with weight vest.)

I cannot squat right now and do all of the above and my legs feel stronger and more “mobile/athletic”. If you have access to a trap bar - you could also use that.


What the fuck?


I wish you a speedy recovery

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Awesome, thanks.

I’m going to use Power Cleans on Squat days and use Dumbbell Squats on the push days.

Hill sprints won’t be a problem. I live in Switzerland. Everything is pretty much up or down a mountain and it’s really steep.

I’ve just been looking at Morning Star in Forever for leader inspiration for the Power Cleans.

Many thanks Jim.

I concur that DB squats and hill sprints will do your legs just fine. In fact, I was really surprised by the effect that 5x10 DB squats (with an 85 lb DB) worked for me as an assistance lift on BP day. It also requires you to be in pretty decent conditioning shape to do a set of 10 on BP, then move right into a set of 10 DB squats.

Barbell Hack Squats…no rack needed, you can move some serious weight and they work the quads like nobody’s business.

Just noticed that I’ve replied to your other thread on training on consecutive days. You’ve had loads of great suggestions but you may have to now consolidate the two sets of information into one. I think you may have given yourself an accidental head ache.

Btw my current training is close to what JW suggested but I only train in my garden so big 4 are cleans, ohp, muscle snatches and deads. I also spend a bit of time peddling or trekking up mountains. I agree with the mobile/athletic feeling that JW describes.

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Hey, yes I was thinking two consecutive days on the weekend was the best solution for me.

However, I’ve worked out how to fit 3 days of training into my schedule. I’m literally on my way to the gym now.

I’m doing BBB for Bench, Deadlift and Press.

On Bench day my assistance is DB Squats and DB Rows.

On Deadlift day my assistance is Dips and Chins.

I like the idea of doing Cleans, but I can’t dedicate a whole training session to them. What do you think? Leave out the Cleans or incorporate into my 3 training days?

3 days has always been the sweet spot for my middle aged progress, but I have done 4 or 2 in the past and got results.

I clean the bar for ohp, so that counts as a warm up for cleans. After ohp I just add a bit more weight and use 5 pros. It adds 5 mins to my workout. I’m just keeping power snatches and cleans in a holding pattern whilst ohp and deads get my focus. I use the power snatches as a warm up for deads, also in 5 pros.

Btw you’ve almost recreated a version of krypteia that Jim has on his website. Check those out for ideas I think they do the BBB and other work in a circuit.

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