T Nation

Broke, Need to Prioritize

Basically, I don’t have much money to my name right now. I don’t really need to because I’m 16, but I’m scrounging up what I have for some weights and things and need to know what to prioritize. I don’t have enough to buy weights for a full body workout right now.

I was thinking that I should go for the things I need for the top mass building exercises such as bench press, squats, dead lift. Is there anything in particular I should definately get or can I basically get stuff for those three exercises. It’s sad, I know, but getting something is better than nothing.

If you can get a set up where you can squat, bench, deadlift, and possibly pullups too, that’s 99.9% of everything you need to get big and strong. Well, that and alot of food and rest in between workouts.

Is barbell curling just as effective as dumbbell curling? I’d assume it is but I’ve never really thought of it till now since it looks like i’ll be dong those instead of scaling up dumbbells as well as plates.

[quote]Skrussian wrote:
Is barbell curling just as effective as dumbbell curling?
[/quote]

Yes.

But look, at 16 you should be more concerned with doing compound lifts like squats, bench press, deadlifts, military press, and rows (pullups, chinups, etc.).

In my opinion, barbell/dumbell curls are accessory lifts you should do if it helps to improve a weak area. If biceps are not a weak area, don’t waste time working them when you could be working on improving a weak area.

For instance, if your arms look alright but your calf muscles look like tooth picks, spend your extra time working your calf muscles, not your biceps.

My arms are toothpicks. My calves are too. But those will be taken care of. Upping my pullup # is something I want to do though, and I realize the benefits it has on your back also, so I think I’d best focus on those.

Buy a 300 pound olympic weight set for about $ 100 and you can do everything you need to do.

Do your chin ups from a tree limb or swingset.

Find heavy things in a junkyard, pick them up, drag them, move them, flip them, it’s cheap!

If you don’t have the money, it’s probably better to work out at a gym.
Get a part-time job to pay for it, or offer them to clean up and work there in exchange for the free access.

I don’t have transportation to a gym on a constant enough basis to maintain any strict lifting schedule. Parents aren’t part of one and they work till late which is when I do homework. Been down that road of possibility, and it’s pretty short. I’d rather lift at my house anyhow.

Can’t you workout at your school?

A couple thoughts here. I’m sure this topic has been discussed to death elsewhere. Use the search function.

Equipment:
Sandbags - Cheapest: find some bags or pillowcases lying around the house. Go to beach with a scale and fill them up.

More expensive: Go to the thrift store and buy thick pillowcases or buy the plastic bags at Home Depot. Buy 3 fifty-pound bags of sand at Home Depot. Should run you under $20 to create a 50 lbs bag and a 100 lbs bag. That should be enough to get started on.

Barbells/Weights - Look at craigslist.org, your local freecycle, and local classified ads. People are always dumping their equipment, many times you can get a set of cement-filled weights for free, often with a bench. Collect a few sets of these and you’ll have a good start.

Look at Dan John’s e-book for a basic program that doesn’t require much equipment. http://danjohn.org/bp.pdf

It has a program in there called “Rapid Ascent” pages 10-13. The summary:

3x week:
Power clean 8-6-4
Military press 8-6-4
Front squat 8-6-4
Add weight when you complete all the reps.

All you need is a weight you can pick up off the floor. Perfect for sandbag training (or a cheap cement weight set).

I started at a young age with standard cement filled, plastic covered weights with the hollow steel bar. I think they were $35.00 for about 100 pounds a million years ago.

Found a bench, and I was able to do a good amount of exercises. Just little to no leg work.

So, get a bench, weights, and bars. Unless you phenomenal drive, you probably won’t use sandbags or filled pillow cases. And if you have enough drive to consistently lift with a pillow case filled with sand, then you have enough drive to drive your ass to the gym.

School gym. weights at home are a luxury. If you have other needs, then you can do without weights at home when the school has them.

There are two issues that the OP has:

  • No money ($100 is a lot to a guy with no job)
  • No transportation (he cannot drive or be driven on a consistent basis)

Even if he’s got weights at school, he won’t be able to lift there because he can’t get a ride before or after school. Same with going to a commercial gym.

You can get a 300lb olympic set for around $100 at most sporting goods stores. One option might be to wait until after the holidays and see if anyone who got a new set of weights/bench is trying to sell their old one. Check craigslist to see whats for sale, or better yet, post something telling people you will haul away their old set of unused equipment for free.

Ya I didn’t clarify on lifting at the school and I suppose I should have. Gym is open before/after school on Tues/Wed/Thurs. I don’t want to lift just two days a week. I also checked craigslist and it didn’t pan out but I have several job apps up right now so my parents are going to do a temporary favor.

It’s all good. My high school had crap for a gym too. It was open for crap hours too. Not that I lifted when I was a frosh…I wish I would have started then. You’ve got good resources here, I hope you make use of them.

Barring getting transport to a gym, buy the weight set they sell at most big sports stores: Oly bar and 300lb of weight. You can do everything but squat and bench with that. You can squat if you can clean it to the front position, and you can floor press with the barbell, which will work well in combo with the military press. You can do everything else with it but chins, and I bet you can find a ledge to grip somewhere (or tree).

Find a way to learn the olympic lifts, from descriptions on this site, or some way. Nail the technique flawless for the hang snatch, hang clean, and front squat, and you’ll be MILES ahead of most of the college age jackasses around my gym. Then when you’re a senior in HS or getting into college you’ll be a beast.

Also, you can curl the plates by gripping them through the center hole in place of db curls, and curling the barbell with one hand is useful too…but I agree with the others–you should spend almost all your time on compounds. With enough food, they’ll make you grow like a weed, and your arms with the rest of you. Besides, you can eventually humble all the other high schoolers by hang snatching what they bench press. That could be fun.

There are no three easy steps to building muscle. It takes discipline, perserverence, balls, and LOTS of thinking and planning. Given those four qualities, you can do anything.

Thank you for the great imput. Doing this effectively is my goal first and foremost. I will undoubtebly learn as I go, but I don’t want to spend time with limited progression learning things I have already began to acquire through the articles on this site. This is really the best resource I’ve found and I’m glad I did.

Question:
Since floor benches have a restricted ROM compared to traditional benches is there a difference in the progress they’ll bring? Or should I maybe angle my arms out to get more of a ROM?

[quote]Skrussian wrote:
Thank you for the great imput. Doing this effectively is my goal first and foremost. I will undoubtebly learn as I go, but I don’t want to spend time with limited progression learning things I have already began to acquire through the articles on this site. This is really the best resource I’ve found and I’m glad I did.

Question:
Since floor benches have a restricted ROM compared to traditional benches is there a difference in the progress they’ll bring? Or should I maybe angle my arms out to get more of a ROM? [/quote]

I wouldn’t worry about it too much. That’s why I said that floor presses work well with military presses. Done with a full ROM, military press works the low end strength and can be useful for increasing the bottom end bench strength. Now, I grant that a lot of people will be better off simply dumbell benching or something, but this can be effective. Besides, if it’s all you’ve got, use it.

You can also do skullcrushers with the bar for triceps. Use a variety of grips for best results. The ROM for floor presses also varies with the trainee’s torso thickness and arm length, body structure etc. Some people get almost the full range of motion, others get very reduced ROM.