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Getting the Best of My Commercial Gym


Hello everyone,

Ok so, I live in France, Paris now. That means, heavy traffic, long time to go to work, and crappy gyms.

To be fast, there is absolutely no gyms with free weights where I can go at least 3 times a week. Most gyms have only machines, and bad machines.

The "best" one I found is a gym with machines + DBs + smiths machines + some "kinesis" machines.

However, I want to train, mostly for mass gain, using strength routines and bb routines in rotation. I was used to a routine designed after "Beyond Brawn" book, which worked good for me but included BB rows, bench press, squat and DL.

Only thing I can do is using the smith for the heavy moves (that means no DL and a crappy squat).

I live in a flat so a home gym is not a possibility. I even thought to go bodyweight workout, but I won't be able to work my back as I cannot hang a pull up bar. (even using the doors)

What kind of routine would you think of ? Anyone here already had the kind of pb ?



Let me get this straight. You live in Paris yet can't find a gym that has barbells and dumbbells? WTF???

Ideally you will need a gym that has a power rack and obviously barbell, dumbells and benches. Anything else doesn't really matter.
I imagine there are heaps of cable stations? These are also very good.

I've never heard of a gym without a power rack or straight bar.
Not many powerlifters in Paris I'm guessing lol.

If you still can't find a gym with a power rack then you still could make up a pretty good program but it must have dumbbells. Ideally you will want to do a squat variation and a deadlift variation so without a straight bar you wont be able to. With upper body dumbbells are fine and in most cases better then a straight bar anyway.

You can hit quads with hack squat machine and leg press. Plus you have Bulgarian Split Squats and lunges so quads are sorted. Hamstrings really need Romanian Deadlifts though in my opinion. They can be done with dumbbells but this is problematic as its hard to hold 160 kg worth of dumbbells (or whatever weight it may be). Other good hamstring exercises are glute ham raises and of course leg curls but I really consider leg curls more of a warm up exercise.

As for upper body as long as you have dumbbells you are fine. Dumbbell bench press, dumbbell bent over row, dumbbell overhead press. dumbbell lateral raises, dumbbell curls, dumbell french press etc..........the list of dumbbell exercises is endless.
Plus with cable stations you can do lots of other back exercises. Lat pulldowns, straight arm pull downs, seated cable rows, face pulls etc...



I live in Paris too and practice Powerlifting style training.
I can confirm you can go to Club Med Gym.
You got barbell, dumdbell 24kgs only :-(, powerrack.
I agree lot of equipement sucks, you cannot find Squat rack !!!
I use the Incline Press Rack to Free Squat.
There is 17 in Paris, so you can travel to one or another to find the better for your purpose.



It's hard for me to believe that there are no free weight gyms in Paris. Do you speak French?

If you honestly cannot get to a gym at least get some DBs in your apartment, if nothing else.



comme je disais, au CMG, tu as des barres et des haltères juska 24kgs.

Sinon, il y a une salle d'altero sur l'ile entre la défense et levallois.



Here are some more for you to check out


Not sure if any will suit but at least if will give some more ideas.


You've inspired me to add 'Incline Press Rack Squats' to my training.


When I Googled "french powerlifting", the first link was to a thread on this site. That seemed pretty funny, but yeah, I'm guessing it's just not big over there.

Granted, the thread is from 2007 so a lot could've changed since then, but Root, check out the link and see if any of the info seems still applicable.

That's plenty of equipment to stick to a decent program. If the choice is between a "not perfect" gym or no gym, go to the "not perfect" gym and train your balls off.

Some idea on using the Smith Machine:


Get some bands and attach them to the DBs for lower body lifts, not ideal but you can do dumbbell squats and RDLs with bands. You can do RDLs with the smith machine. Can you be a powerlifter without a squat rack and barbell? Not really, but you can certainly build some muscle and stay in shape with what you have.
The key is just looking at the routine you plan on doing and then finding a variation that you can do. ie dumbbell RDL instead of normal deadlift or dumbbell bench instead of barbell. etc...


Thank you for your answers

In fact, what is called "free weights" on that Gym Tracker website is mostly, in Paris, DBs or sometimes benches / barbell. There was a good gym with squat rack etc... lots of big guys, but it closed due to lack of ROI. The only gym I could find (after hours of search) with squat rack is a very very very expensive luxurious gym ($3500 a year)...

I ll stick with the one I have and read those articles about smith machines and maybe build a DB based program. There are some machines with wires ("kinesis" from technogym) that look interesting too...