T Nation

Chest Exercises Minus Spotter

So aside from pushups, and dumbbell chest presses; what would you guys say is a great chest exercise for those of us minus a spotter.

I have a home gym and chronically work out alone?

Also, what about legs. I do heavy lunges and have noted the suggestion of barbell lunges from my last post…

Any Others?

Thanks in advance for all ya’lls help!

I like the dumbbell pec fly myself, varying between prone, supine, and neutral grips. Don’t really need a spotter for those.

Heavy lunges and barbell lunges are OK for what you do. I personally like to hold a weight plate above my head and lunge with that. A barbell would be harder for sure due to the balance constraint.

Good-mornings is a great hamstring/hip dominant leg exercise. I love them although I find them impossible after doing squats (which I like more) so I have not done them in about a week.

I work out at home and do BB bench press. Yes, it limits the amount of weight I can use but it is still more than I could do with dumbbells. You just have to leave the ego at the door and know when you can’t do another rep. Also, set the safety bars on your rack at the proper height.

Weighted dips. A wider grip focuses on chest, a narrower one places more emphasis on triceps.

[quote]Arioch wrote:
I work out at home and do BB bench press. Yes, it limits the amount of weight I can use but it is still more than I could do with dumbbells. You just have to leave the ego at the door and know when you can’t do another rep. Also, set the safety bars on your rack at the proper height.[/quote]

Just to add to that:
Make sure you are doing it properly for proper chest stimulation. Wide grips, bringing bar down to collarbone, flaring out elbow etc. even if it means to go to a lower weight. I find most people in my gym doing it the wrong way recruiting the triceps/deltoids more than the chest…

Here was my solution at home:

I decided to build my gym in the 2nd parking space in my garage. I let my gf park in the open space and gave mine up.

I went out and bought 2 heavy gauge U bolts about 18" long and a 6 foot piece of box tube steel.

I went up in the Attic above my garage and put the tube steel over one of the wooden beams. I drilled through it every 12" and used 5" wood screws to keep it in place.

Then I put the U bolts over it and through holes I drilled into the ceiling.

Then I took two 6" pieces of steel box tubing and drilled holes through them the same distance apart as the prongs of the U bolts. I slipped them up and on and put two heavy duty nuts under them leaving about 3" of space between the tube steel and the ceiling.

I then put two towing chains through the spaces and used the hooks to make a loop at the top.

Now all I have to do it load the bar and hoop lock the bottom of the towing chains around the bar. I use a really big loop so the bottom of the loop is just about chest height and the top is above the top of the bench press rack point.

I get two benefits… I can go heavy at home and if I fail I can lower it down and scoot out. I can also watch my form by keeping my eyes on the chains and making sure they don’t swing.

However, letting the weight hit the bottom of the chain loop makes a pretty big bang in the house.

This winter I am considering using this rig and a chain winch to pull an engine.

Thats pretty damn ingenius… Given that my gym is in the basement, it’s also possible for me…hmmm…

[quote]superman_6_0_6 wrote:
Thats pretty damn ingenius… Given that my gym is in the basement, it’s also possible for me…hmmm…[/quote]

Just be sure you have at least a 2x8 and not just a 2x4 or 2x6. You could drill holes through the 2x8 at the top and put the chains through. Probably better to bolt them in though.

If your house has a central beam, that’s where to do it, especially if it’s steel. What sort of beams do you have to hook to?

[quote]hanks101 wrote:
Arioch wrote:
I work out at home and do BB bench press. Yes, it limits the amount of weight I can use but it is still more than I could do with dumbbells. You just have to leave the ego at the door and know when you can’t do another rep. Also, set the safety bars on your rack at the proper height.

Just to add to that:
Make sure you are doing it properly for proper chest stimulation. Wide grips, bringing bar down to collarbone, flaring out elbow etc. even if it means to go to a lower weight. I find most people in my gym doing it the wrong way recruiting the triceps/deltoids more than the chest…[/quote]

back in high school i would just tack on a bit more than i can handle on my bench at home. i blasted the music and put my mind in a life or death situation. lift the bar off the chest, or die. youd be surprised how much stronger you get. lol. hey, im not suggesting you do this though, im just sayin…

[quote]ZeusNathan wrote:

back in high school i would just tack on a bit more than i can handle on my bench at home. i blasted the music and put my mind in a life or death situation. lift the bar off the chest, or die. youd be surprised how much stronger you get. lol. hey, im not suggesting you do this though, im just sayin…[/quote]

I’m with you. I lift all the time without a spotter. Sure its a bonus to have a safety net, but not necessary. If you barely get a rep, then don’t do the next one or drop some weight and do another. There are ways to work around lifting alone.

[quote]hanks101 wrote:
Arioch wrote:
I work out at home and do BB bench press. Yes, it limits the amount of weight I can use but it is still more than I could do with dumbbells. You just have to leave the ego at the door and know when you can’t do another rep. Also, set the safety bars on your rack at the proper height.

Just to add to that:
Make sure you are doing it properly for proper chest stimulation. Wide grips, bringing bar down to collarbone, flaring out elbow etc. even if it means to go to a lower weight. I find most people in my gym doing it the wrong way recruiting the triceps/deltoids more than the chest…[/quote]

bench press=/=a great chest exercise. And please, for the sake of your shoulders, learn to bench properly.

Just to add to that, I get more stimulation to my chest benching powerlifting style (elbows tucked, bar lowered below my nipples and my scaps pulled back and tight) than I ever did benching with elbows flared shitty form.

[quote]TheDudeAbides wrote:

I’m with you. I lift all the time without a spotter. Sure its a bonus to have a safety net, but not necessary. If you barely get a rep, then don’t do the next one or drop some weight and do another. There are ways to work around lifting alone.[/quote]

I think having a spotter with benching helps more than just a safety net.

I can’t keep my upper back tight if I unrack the bar myself, so I usually get a hand off. Lets me complete my reps with better form and most of the time actually use more weight. I won’t get a hand off on warm up sets or anything ridiculous like that, but just my last few works sets. I am trying to work on what Dave Tate suggests and “pulling” the bar out of the j-hooks so you don’t need a hand off.

Also, there’s a lot of shitty spotters anyway, so you might not be missing out without one. I’ve had several now (just random guys I asked for a spot) that immediately grabbed the bar as soon as the speed slowed down a bit. Waste of my time.

Doesn’t your bench have those lower “safety catch” things? I train heavy by myself all the time, my sticking point is usually well above those catches and I just put the bar on there.

If not, just build two wooden boxes out of 4"x4" lumbar a little higher than your chest. Put them on both sides of you and you can bench alone with no worries.

I heard a suggestion from someone last night in regards to benching without a spotter. I’m no sure I’d do this myself, but hey, you might find it helpful:

Benching without a spotter:
Even bench isn’t a big deal without a spotter, it’s just more of a hassle. If you aren’t going to use a spotter for the bench, simply don’t put the clamps on the bar. That way, if you get stuck under the bar, you simply turn your torso either left or right and let the weights fall off of the bar…problem solved! As long as you’re lifting in a controlled manner, you never have to risk injury, you just might get stuck…at which point you have plenty of options to bail.

Benching using a power rack:
EVEN BETTER, you can bench in the power rack, and put the bars at chest level, and when you fail, just let the bar hit the rack and slide out…

Having said that, benching in the power rack might piss people off if your gym is busy. But if your really stuck it’s an idea.