T Nation

Help with Exercises at Home

I have been working out for about a year now and I feel like changing my program for a new one. As the title says I’m working out in home and thus my equipment is limited. I have a straight barbell, 2 adjustable dumbbells, a pull-up bar, an exercise ball and about 220LBs of weight plates. The nearest gym is roughly 20 miles away and I have no vehicle, so I can’t go there to use more weights and machines.

This far I have been picking up programs that fit to my schedule from the internet. Most of them were 3-part programs that I did 4 or 5 days a week, continuing from where I left the last week. To be able to do the routines I have changed some of the exercises to ones that I can do with my equipments.

For example, when there is bench press or a variation of it I have done DB floor presses with different kinds of forms or when there is a squat I have replaced it with zecher squat and if there were other squat variations as well I took lunges in.

However, there’s exercises which I can’t figure out substitutes to and I thought that I’ll give it a shot and ask here:Incline bench press, cable pulls, dips (the ones that are supposed to target chest), seated calf raises (I heard that they activate more horizontal than vertical muscle cells or something like that), pull-overs and glute ham raises are the ones that I run into most often.

If someone could suggest some moves that could replace those without the need of machines, squat rack or a bench I would appreciate it. Or even better, suggest a mass-program that would be done on 4 or 5 days a week.

Thanks in advance.

If you are serious about lifting, get yourself a power rack and an adjustable bench. Look around craigslist, maybe you can score one on the cheap.

As for your exercises:
Incline bench - decline pushup
cable pulls - bent over row
dips - no sub for this
seated calf raise - 1 leg calf raises on stairs/platform (you need the stretch position)
pull-overs - need a bench/platform of some sort that you can lay on
GHR - Romanian deadlift

As for programs, 5/3/1 - but you need to be able to bench and squat. The program basically consists of deadlift, squat, bench, military press + whatever assistance exercises you wanna throw in.

One way to solve this would be to do floor press with the barbell instead of bench, and learn how to do a clean and do front squats instead of back squats.

I used to clean the bar, then do front squats. Pretty good carryover to back squats. Got up to about 210 pounds before I joined a gym. (After which I got it up to 308 in a few months, and got my back squat past 4 plates. Racks make a difference.)

I’ve done incline db floor presses. Isn’t there a slope anywhere near your house? BTW, depending on how you do them, military presses can give your upper chest a pretty good workout too.

Build a place to do dips. Or stack a bunch of plates in your lap and do bench dips. (These are not for everyone though)

I’ve done seated calf raises by sitting in a chair in front of something to do raises on, stacking a bunch of plates on one knee (or both), held them in place with my hands and repped away.

I don’t know what you mean by cable pulls. If it’s some kind of row, barbell rows, kroc rows and chinups will get you far. if you’re talking about some kind of pullthrough, just do deadlifts. (Tip: buy more weights)

Instead of pullovers, do a lot of floor pressing and floor flyes. Or did you want to do them for lats? Cause we’ve already got those covered.

I actually considered buying a cheap bench with some sort of attached squat rack but taking into account the space it requires (and my financial situation) I never did. I found that the zecher squat required no rack as I could deadlift the barbell on my thighs and place it into the proper place on the inner side of my elbows. I, in fact, were learning power clean and squat clean with support exercises (mainly clean pull and romanian deadlift) and I actually managed to do squat cleans at one point with light weights but I don’t think I ever found the right place for the barbell because my shoulders were sore for some time after it.

I’ve done zecher squats with very narrow stance (knees roughly as wide as my hips) to hit my quads and then relied on stiff-legged deadlifts for my hamstrings. I tried pistol squats once but my balance wasn’t good enough back then, I’m not sure if I could pull them off now. As foor the floorpress with barbell - I suppose I could make some sort of little wooden stand where I could easily lift the barbell to right position. If you know some manufacturer(s) that make stands for floorpresses feel free to suggest them. I’ve personally never seen one. And no, there is really no slopes nor stairs here. I have a thick plank for my calf raises so a staircase isn’t needed.

I’ve done my lats with various different pull-ups and I found a grip slightly wider than my shoulders being good. That’s why the pull-overs I meant were for chest. I tried doing them once on the swiss ball with a dumbbell but I couldn’t really hit my chest; I spent way too much energy trying to balance on it. I never thought the bent-over rows with barbell and dumbbell, both of which I regularily do, are good substitutes for various cable pulls. I also tried the chair dips a couple of time but I never managed to hit my chest with them - that’s why the dips that are meant for chest have caused me some trouble.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I wrote them down and I’ll try them shortly. Also, isn’t 5/3/1 more of strength than mass program?

edit: I’ve done my exercises with a strick form and the 4 seconds down, 2 seconds up -rule. Is that good or should I do something else?

edit2: I also forget to mention that after a year I must go to army then I can use the gym there is. Until that I can only work out in home.

edit3: Could a basic push/pull/legs split with template like this be decent with rest beetween reps being 60-90s:
Military press 3x8
Floor press 3x8
French press 2x8
DB flys 2x8

Weighted pull-ups 3x8
Barbell bent-over rows 3x8
Shrugs 3x8
Hammer curls 2x8
Wrist curls or reverse wrist curls 2x8

Narrow zecher squat 3x8
Stiff-legged deadlift 3x8
One-legged calf raises 3x8
Weighted crunches 3x8