T Nation

Home Gym Help, Barbell Only Program?


#1

Well this summer I plan on ditching the local gym and working out in my garage. No a/c, rollup door type setup. Plus no shitty pop music like at most typical gyms. I'm just gonna have the bare basics: squat rack, bench(adjustable), and deadlift on rubber mats so basically a bar and plates. My goals are to just focus on strength for the big three. Any ideas for ancillary exercises besides the main three lifts since machines and db's are out of the question?


#2

Millions really.

Play with the grip width on the bar for benching and your foot width/stance for squatting and deadlifting. Small changes can have a radical impact.

Aside from that, you have front squats, floor press, overhead pressing (to include strict, push, jerk, etc), good mornings, barbell lunges, etc.

Some small things you could purchase that will radically expand your options include

-Fat grips (for all things pressing)
-Bands (apply to anything)


#3

T3hPwnisher provided some good ideas. More options for squats can include high bar, low bar, zercher, pin and paused. You can buy small square mats or cut one up for mat and deficit pulls. If you can’t get dumbbells you can try using weight plates and/or bands. I bought knockoff TRX straps from Amazon because I’m too lazy to load up dumbbells for flyes. The straps are also useful if other people that train with you aren’t strong enough to do bodyweight movements and need a form of progression to get there.


#4

You could just keep it really simple and not get too creative with variations.


#5

Pendlay rows, yates rows, standard underhand rows, rows of varying back angle, upright rows, wide grip rows, t-bar row, 1 arm row with a t-bar set up, and vary the amount of body english. With the t-bar set up, you can also press the barbell with one arm.

You also have curls, extensions both on a bench and overhead, jm presses, standing press, standing BTN press, bb raises (narrow grip works your front delts, wide grip works your rear delts; try a mechanical drop set going from narrow to wide and it’ll light up your shoulders), shrugs, overhead shrugs, hack squats, olympic squats (high bar, raised heel, sit straight down and stay as upright as possible), stiff leg deadlifts (you can vary your stance), mat pulls from varying heights (again you can vary your stance), deficit pulls from varying heights (yet again you can vary your stance), romanian deadlifts, goodmornings (arched back, round back, different stances, different depths), lunges, 1 leg deadlifts, barbell roll outs, suit case deadlifts (from one side and both sides), front squats, front squat iso holds (load it up heavy, even past your max, unrack it and just hold while taking in full breaths; your core will be rocked), z-press (in front and btn), cleans (from varying heights from mats or from the hange or the ground), snatches (like cleans), muscle snatches (aka cuban press for an external rotation exercise), barbell pull overs, one arm bb press (great for strengthening a shoulder that’s just gotten over an injury).

I think the most difficult thing won’t be thinking of assistance exercises, but figuring out which ones work best for you.


#6

I train in my basement with basic equipment, it’s not an issue at all. If I trained in a gym I would probably do some dumbbell bench once in a while or maybe some back extensions, but otherwise I don’t really feel the need for more than a bar and a rack. I mostly just do the main lifts and variations of them, I’m making better gains this way than I was before with all kinds of assistance work. Other than that I do some chin ups and rows, standing ab crunches with bands or ab wheel, and conditioning (prowler or jump rope intervals depending on the weather). You might need to spend a few dollars to get some extra equipment, but it’s still cheaper and more convenient than any other option.

Some examples of variations I use:

Squat: pause squat, pin squat, SSB squat
Bench: floor press, board press, slingshot, incline
Deadlift: paused (at knees or just off the floor), deficit, rack pulls, SLDL

Do any of those with or without a belt, also you can add bands to the main lifts and some variations. The options are endless.


#7

You can do all sorts of delt raises and external rotation exercises for shoulders holding plates, with your fingers through the hole. Nothing looks tougher than prisoners doing lateral delt raises with 45’s.

You can also hold the plates by the rim and let them hang at your sides for stuff like lunges, calf raises, sidebends. Or in the front for upright rows.


#8

Thanks for the info everybody


#9

I lift at my home gym. Only real difference is you have to take your lower back into consideration a bit more, if you’re used to leg presses and cable rows as assistance lifts, because you’ll have to use more Squat volume or BB rows to get that same volume. Otherwise, there’s so many variations you’ll never get bored.

You can buy some Oly DB handles pretty cheap at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Buying some bands could help too.


#10

Get a copy of jailhouse strong by Josh bryant and From the ground up by Dan John, the latter is a free download


#11

Sheiko.


#12

Dont forget you can use plates to replace DBs for the lighter exercises like bent over raise for rear delts, side raises for middle delts etc.


#13

[quote]t-kil wrote:
Well this summer I plan on ditching the local gym and working out in my garage. No a/c, rollup door type setup. Plus no shitty pop music like at most typical gyms. I’m just gonna have the bare basics: squat rack, bench(adjustable), and deadlift on rubber mats so basically a bar and plates. My goals are to just focus on strength for the big three. Any ideas for ancillary exercises besides the main three lifts since machines and db’s are out of the question? [/quote]

There is quite a bit that you can do at home with limited equipment, especially if you pick up some mini bands and have a way to anchor them such as bolting down your rack.

Bench Accessory:

  • Standing Overhead Press
  • Incline Bench Press
  • Close Grip Bench Press
  • Board Press
  • Bench w/ Bands
  • Floor Press (would want a spotter for this)
  • Overhead Barbell Extensions
  • California Press (Hybrid Press/Extension movement)
  • Band Push-downs
  • Upright Rows
  • Push Ups

Squat / Deadlift Accessory:

  • Good Mornings
  • SLDL
  • Block Pulls (if you get some scrap wood, etc.)
  • Box Squats (if you have a 5 gallon bucket, etc.)
  • Front Squats
  • Barbell Lunges
  • Reverse Band Deadlift/Squat
  • Barbell Step-Up

Hope that this is helpful if you are looking to include more variation.


#14

there is a diy article out there for making your own db handles too for the occassional db row, db flyes, or whatever. basically go to home depot and get 3/4" steel pipe cut to the size you want, put tennis grip in the middle, hose clamps just on the outsides of the grip and glued down.

then just go to a play it again sports and get the sufficient amount of 10 lb standard plates (make sure they ALL fit pipes because some dont, i learned that the hard way when they were useless because some wouldnt fit on), put them on the pipe and then put another set of hose clamps on and screw them down with a screw driver. it isnt exactly the quickest method, but normally when i use dbs i do just 1 lift with them and so i keep thr weight set for a long time and only change them when necessary.