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Need Help Training with Limited Equipment

Hi all,

My name is David, i’m 44 years old and i live in Paris, France. I’m a usual reader of T Nation but i almost never post on the forum.

First let me introduce myself. At the age of 20 i’ve got an accident and almost destroyed my left leg. I had surgery many times, had to learn to walk again, etc…Now i can’t run or jump.
I always trained at home or at the gym with years on and off.

Since one year i’m the more active i’ve ever been (first lost fat then went on a “clean” bulk to gain mass). i’m on a full body 3 times a week and cardio two times (riding my bike on a home trainer with Zwift). I’m a small guy (5’7) and very light (now at 141 lbs) with, i guess, 15 % bf.

Here’s my problem: on theory i’ve very good knowledge about nutrition / training but like many people the last year has been really tough (lockdown, curfews, etc…) so i’m training at home with almost no equipment : only bodyweight exercices, resistance bands (lot of differents), a weighted vest, pull up bar and one light kettlebell (12 kg).

In this condition i know progressive overload is almost impossible, so i add reps / sets, shorten my rest time between sets, use drop sets, supersets, etc… to keep my body guessing…

I eat about 2400-2500 kcal a day (days on or days off). If i eat more, i feel like i’m gaining too much fat and @ 2400 Kcal i think i’m only maintaining.

Obviously, my situation isn’t ideal but i wonder what i could do / try in order to gain mass. My goal isn’t crazy: i’d like to go back to 154 lbs with low BF (10%) whathever time it takes.

Now i’m wondering if i’m doing too much volume:

I won’t go into detail but my workouts are one hour long, i’m doing 1-2 exercices per muscle group and try to use mainly multijoint exercices (chin up, overhead press, push up with weighted vest, rows, etc…). i do like 6 sets per big muscle group and 3 for the small. For my legs, there a lot of mouvemenst i can’t do but i try to “squat” with the weighted vest and the kettlebell, i do some kettlebell swings, reverse lunges, etc…

I’ know it’s a long post and there’s a lot of things to say but i’d like to have your opinion / advices considering i’m training alone and feel a little bit lost…

I hope to be able to go back to a gym when all this COVID shit will be over but it probably won’t happen before summer / september.

In case you want to ask about my nutrition / supplements, i always eat clean (no cheat meal): fish, chicken, beef, brown rice, oats, sweet potatoes, olive oil, avocado, fruits, almond milk, lot of vegetables, etc…

Supps: multivitamins, omega 3, creatine, L-Glutamine and whey.

Any idea about how to make my training really effective?

PS/ just in case you need to know/want what i look like, here are two pictures of me in august (i’m a little bit “fatter” now considering i gained weight).



Look up walRUS training by Jim Wendler

Most importantly mate, just get the work done.

Circuits with the weighted vest on, burpees, going for walks or runs, technique work with the kettlebells.

It doesn’t matter. Just get the fuxking work done and get this lockdown to fuxk

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Thank, I’m going to check walRUS training.

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You mentioned maybe doing too much volume. How much exactly are you doing?

You said full body, 3 times per week. 6 sets for big muscles and 3 sets for small muscles. I can follow that.m

But how many “muscles” are you working each day? Like 6 sets of “pushing”, 6 sets of “pulling” and 6 sets of “legs” might be OK.

But if you’re trying to do 6 sets for chest, 6 sets for shoulders, 6 sets for lats, 6 sets for traps, 6 sets for hamstring and six sets for quads every day that’s way, way too much.

More like 3 sets of chins ups, 3 of rows, 3-4 of push up, 3 sets of shoulder press, 2 sets of lateral raises, 3 sets of squats, 2 sets of curls, 2 of skull crushers or triceps pushdown and 2-3 sets for abs.

3 times a week. I never feel the “pump” or soreness after a workout so if I don’t do that I feel like I do nothing. Also except for chin ups I use light / medium weight.

I also change reps range from one workout to another.

Tons of good workouts in this thread…

This below and crossfit Murph are my personal go-to’s in lockdown…

I’m not sure I would consider calisthenics the same as weight training in terms of volume and frequency. They’re not resistance training, but the load is just so necessarily limited with calisthenics.

I’d think you can pretty much do as much as you want as often as you want.

You appear to be pretty lean - you probably have room to take you calories up if you’re looking to gain weight.

At the end of the day, the lockdown is a huge pain. I think just do the best you can and get back to the gym when able.

I also wouldn’t discount off objects - if there’s someplace you can go push park benches around or pick up cinder blocks or something, that could provide some heavier resistance and a different stimulus… and just be mentally refreshing.


If you feel like you’re doing too much volume, Do Less For Awhile.

If you think calisthenics are too light, Make Them Harder! Use your resistance bands to add resistance to pushups. If you fail at 8 or 10 reps it’s definetly “heavy enough.”

Elevate your hands so you can get a longer range of motion. Don’t worth about the exercise becoming a “decline pushup” like that’s easier or something. The deeper bottom position makes it harder.

Use partial pushups to isolate your triceps. Put the triceps on an island so they’re all alone.

Check out hamstring exercises like the Nordic Leg Curl andthe Nordic Hip Hinge. They are really hard.

If you never feel a pump, You Are Messing Up! Use your resistance bands and high reps to blow up your muscles!

Pre exhaust your pushups with band flies for your pecs and band Pushdowns for your triceps.

Use band leg curls, laying face down or band good mornings or band pullthrus to pre exhaust hamstrings before hinging exercises.

Do step Ups or split squats to pre exhaust legs before squatting with the kettlebell and weight vest.

Do band straight Arm pulldowns and band face pulls to pre-exhaust your back before chinups.

I would urge you to take these exercises seriously! Don’t dismiss them as “just calisthenics.” Don’t just do as much as you want as often as you want. Add resistance and load them up and make them count! Do the same sets and reps as you would in your “normal training.” Develop a plan and get excited.

If you want more detailed plans check out Dave Tate.

And John Meadows


Thanks to all for the advices and links. Today I already did less volume and tried to make my training harder.

I’ll keep playing with different reps range and new exercices to keep me motivated.

Talking about the pump, I’ve always hesitated to do high reps (15-20+) but considering I can’t add load as much as I’d like, I’ve started to do it for some exercices.

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Bands work great for high reps and getting a pump, its a natural fit. Just be sure that the sets are still hard even though the reps are high. And don’t do all of your work this way, maybe 1/4 or 1/3 of your total.

Normally people do bigger, lower rep exercises first, so they’re not fatigued. And smaller, high rep isolation exercises after, to finish off. Under these circumstances, start with the high rep isolation first. Then go to “bigger” moves fatigued so you can reach failure with less reps.

For sure try out different exercises and rep ranges for variety to keep things fun. Then keep track of the number of tough sets you do to keep things consistent and on track.


It’'s out of the subject and a different question but considering I have all the free time I want (lockdown, curfew…) If my goal is gaining mass / hypertrophy, do you think I’m good with a full body 3 times a week?

Would a bro split or a P/P/L be better?

Try PPL 5-6 days a week, slowly increase calories week by week also

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Walrus training is perfect for those lost without the gym. It’s perfect for the COVID closures etc.

I’ve been using Walrus workouts exclusively for few years now. No barbell/dumbells- no weights at all. Highly recommend it.

Wear a 30kg/ 66lb weight vest. All I need.

In fact it’s that easy and effective that I’ve sold my unused 200kg barbell set, bench , racks etc.(Initially trained walrus because of previous disc injuries. )

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Great! Thank for your opinion. Looks like an awesome program.

I never have been able to find an exclusively Walrus template. Only the Wendlerd Classic from forever, where it is paired with the barbell work. Are you just omitting the barbell work, or is there a template somewhere that I’m missing?

Omitting barbell work. Weighted Vest work only. 2-3 X a week.

Typical session:

Warm up (Agile 8 & Jumps 3x5. )
Vested Walrus work.
Conditioning. ( Sprints / Hills/ Heavy bag)

30-40 mins max.

Pain free. Low back feels great. In top shape. Feel strong. Feel in condition. Muscle mass not lost. Fat shed off without effort. Sessions are quick, no special equipment / location needed. Very minimal space requirement. Can be done in playground (where I train) The list of advantages is endless to be honest.

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