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Barbell Only Best Damn Workout for Naturals

First off, I’m sorry if this was answered somewhere else. I’ve been scouring the forums to make sure this wasn’t answered before. But basically, long story short, I am extremely interested in running the “Best Damn Workout Plan for Natural Lifters” because I feel like I haven’t been getting the frequency I need with 5/3/1. And I really miss the push/pull type of program. But my problem is that I only have access to a squat rack with straight bar, wavy bar, and blast straps. Many of the lifts prescribed in the plan are for dumbbells and I was wondering what substitutions could be made to use the equipment I have.

Any thoughts are appreciated!


It’s more that one of the three exercises for each bodypart should be an isolation/low stress exercise. It will be harder to do without machines but we can try. So for pecs you can go with bb bench press, bb incline, and for the last exercise squeeze press using plates or maybe push ups?
For back I guess inverted rows. For quads lumberjack squat or lunges/ BSS. Shoulders you can do bb or plate front raise. Hammies is a tough one, maybe one legged romanian DL or one legged hip thrusts. Arms just do your weakest variation like pronated curls and french press.

The main issue, as was mentioned, is that many exercises are isolation or cable/machine exercises. And there is a reason for that: lower neurological demands.

Barbell exercises tend to be level 1-3. Which have a high neurological demand. Going to failure (and beyond like with this system) will also increase neurological stress. So combining both: doing all barbell exercises will likely cause too much CNS stress.

I’m all for adapting a program to help people out. But this specific program is not suited for someone who only has a barbell.

So even blast strap exercises like pushups etc. Be too taxing on the CNS? Would band exercises work for isolation exercises?

I’m trying to figure out what I could make work short of buying a whole rack of dumbbells haha

With bands and blast straps you might be able to work something out. But I’ll be honest, I don’t have the time to go back to the program, review all the exercises and recommend substitutions. I’m giving a seminar all weekend, then traveling back home. I can answer questions and want to help as much as I can but I must focus my effort.

You could accept that you don’t have what you need for this particular program. Instead of making a mess of things and trying to modify you could try a different program. You can do push/pull with different methods.

I ran Best Damn for almost three months while I recovered from hip surgery. The machines and isolation stuff allowed me to keep training. It worked, but it wore me out. I didn’t really deload or have any off weeks.

I’m now running the Guaranteed Simple Strength & Size program that CT put up on his ThibArmy blog. It’s not push/pull but it’s plenty challenging and you can do everything with your equipment.

Well, the push/pull split is super interesting to me, but I guess if it isn’t in the cards I can give the Simple Guaranteed Strength program a shot. So CT, you say that you can use different pattern in the Guaranteed Strength program. Could I use a Push/Pull/Off/Push/Off/Pull/Off type of pattern instead of upper/lower?

Thanks for the help guys!

There’s the Look like a bodybuilder, perform like an athlete program which has frequency and is a push/pull. Also you can check the strength skill program on Thibarmy

Also the optimal strength for naturals program, he’s got a ton of great choices that your setup is perfect for.