T Nation

Options After Maxing Out DB Rows



I train at home, with DBs and BBs mostly. I really like rows of all sorts, (horizontal ones mostly) and I have reached 62kg for 20-something fairly strict reps.

What I was wondering is if anyone has any ideas for progression? I was thinking of loading up a tricep bar (the one with the hammer-curl parallel bars to grip) and holding it lengthways, like a 'suitcase' row. I tried it, and that just hurt my wrists. Does anyone have any ingenious methods/ideas about how to fasten extra plates to a maxed our DB? (Ie without crushing your hand between plate +floor on the eccentric)



Get a gym membership.

case solved.

That whole "training at home" thing only works if you have the funds and space to keep buying weights and equipment to keep making progress optimally.

I must say though that I rarely see people who train at home with truly outstanding physiques. if you have a home set up like Ronnie Coleman, then that is different.

If I do build a home gym in the future, you can bet it will be pimped out and not just a barbell and some dumbbells.


Kind of out there, but you could try one-handed barbell rows.

OR... join a gym. Crazy, right?


Thanks. I do agree, however I have finite resources. I guess your reply (warranted) will be 'you get what you pay for'.

Granted, I would like to get a membership, until then...

What would you put in your gym x? Do you have a list?


I would get a membership at the YMCA like I did when I was a broke ass college student on break. During school I just trained on campus.

What I would NOT do is sit at home trying to turn very limited equipment into a lacking home gym. If you want to make real progress, you put the time in.

Once again, ask the guys here with home gyms to post pics of their progress...then compare that to the serious guys here who train at gyms. There MAY be one or two who look impressive, but the vast majority look very average and that home training isn't exactly making them stand out much.

You gain a lot by training around other people in my opinion.

Even if I do build a gym, I will still have a gym membership.

Unless you live in middle Texas and there is nothing around you, get a job, get a car, and do what needs to be done.


Hey I agree with you. On all that. The environment, better equipment etc.

Thanks for your advice

So, at gyms what are your most-used items of equipment? You use hammer chest for chest press? Anything 'vital'? Because I HAVE looked at gyms around here, and most are truly piss poor. No squat rack, all cardio and no weights, that sort of thing, you know?

Oh and fyi as far as I know YMCA in the UK just do Christian meetings and that village people dance.... ;(


I use Hammer Strength NOW because I am using enough weight to injure myself and I don't have a spotter. I may even add in more free weights once I heal from the accident so asking what exercises I use most is irrelevant. I am going to use whatever keeps me growing. If I find that more free weights will blow my triceps up, I will use more free weights. HS machines helped me from the period where I was using more dumbbells. At this stage, I may try something else.

If you are getting locked into one ideology, you will fail at this.

I train at a gym because there are more options there. Hell, the amount of weight I would nee to make progress at home would cost way more than a gym membership anyway.


I agree completely, but you could say the same thing about people who don't train at home.


I've felt the same thing. If all you can find is gyms without squat racks and machines where you can already lift the whole stack for high reps... you could buy a cage, a good bench, more weights than you can lift and db handles that you can put olympic plates on. It sure isn't optimal, but not all gyms are as good as in the US and sometimes a good home setup will beat the commercial gyms within a reasonable distance. Which is sad.


Maybe, but I have personally just not seen someone who strictly trains at home who does not look like they are either ignoring certain muscle groups completely or who looks like they are just not reaching their potential.

I have NEVER seen a truly huge guy who trains at home unless he has a gym like Ronnie's....which is more pimped out than some public gyms I've been in.

If you want complete looking development, you need access to a hell of a lot more than just a bench and some dumbbells.

Obviously if you got huge training at a public gym but NOW train at home, this doesn't apply to you.


You maxed out DB rows at home? Then do bent over rows with a BB.

I would say first and foremost a gym membership is a great option and I have yet to see it as an issue to get at least a decent workout at most gyms, regardless of squat racks or not.

I find my home gym to make a great 20 min evening spot. Some jump rope, maybe a light complex or hitting lagging muscle groups.


I'm obviously not comparing myself/my gym with Ronnie, the dude is one in the WHOLE OF HISTORY (more than 1 in a 1000000000...) So what worked for him... worked for him.

I'll rephrase a bit:

At this moment I am poorer than I would like, I cannot afford to join a gym, I do have some adjustable DBs and BBs. Using that equipment only (which I know is a compromise, but that's reality) does anyone who trains at home/a gym BUT ONLY WITH THE EQUIPMENT i REALISTICALLY HAVE AT MY DISPOSAL have any cool tips on how to add challenge (until I can afford to join a decent gym)?

I mean stuff like changing angles, ways to affix weight safely to a brim-packed DB, stuff like that.

If you can't/don't want to answer that question, I appreciate your time and all that, but really it's not helpful. Thanks to SSC and Prof X for your guidance


Paint cans..... Unbreakable style.


Goodness. Buy more weights or accept that you won't be growing much until you do. Yes, you can try a barbell instead of dumbbells, but if the problem is lack of more weight, all you have left are adding more reps to compensate...which won't get you very far unless you are very advanced.

There isn't much of a real substitute for heavier weight and many exercise options. If you can't buy more equipment, how do you think you will stress your muscles to grow more if you already maxed out what you have at home?


Loved that film.

But Bruce had awesome'genetics', being a superhero-strong mofo. If he joined a gym he could have made real progress...


I asked the owner of my gym if I could use my own Olympic DB handles (for rows mainly) and he said of course I could. If you find a good bodybuilding gym and you are a regular they will trust you and let you do stuff like that.

There are plenty of hardcore gyms in the UK, if you're in the North East I can point you to a few.


Not being able to afford gym membership and level 4 ?

I work and study at the same time plus I have a kid, and I have NO difficulty at all to pay gym's membership. If you don't want to go to a public gym for some reasons, you better be ready to spend money on your home's gym if you want to progress.

Single arm t-bar rows or go and buy walmart's olympic handle, they can add up to crazy amount of weight(depending of the size of your/gym plates).


I don't understand. Did you run out of weight or the DB won't fit anymore plates? Are you using olympic or standard (small holes) plates? I've got both at home and I can fit more than 132 lbs on a DB if I use 25 plates. There's a couple guys on this site that do 200 lb DB rows buy loading a bunch of 25 lbs on an olympic DB so I won't believe you if you tell me ROM is an issue.

I saw creative solution when I was at a Planet Fitness one day. Their dumbells only go up to 60 so some dude used a strap to tie some 5 lb plates onto the dumbbell for pressing.

Are you in the US? There have a shitload of promotions at the gyms in NJ. They're like $20 a month. I just spent about $700 on my power rack and weights. That's 3 years gym membership. A home gym is not for saving money in the short run. It's for convenience. I use both. Home gym when I miss workouts at work gym if its a super busy day.


Just load a straight barbell up with whatever weight you want, and row with 1 arm. Slowly. It's going to be odd at first trying to find the perfect hand position and to deal with it rocking a little but it works if you need it to.


Thanks guys.

To answer Qs:

I'm glad you are holding down the study/work/baby combo man, good work! Level 4 just means I have bought from T-Nation in the past. I have made two or three orders I think, approx 3 years ago. I am not a regular buyer. I like the products, but shipping to the UK, and customs charges, adds #100s to each order. I'm certainly no supp whore. I just have a shit job at the moment (this world-wide recession thing hasn't done any good to my bank balance) so i'm having to make do with what I have, only. Off topic, i'm also saving for a mortgage, which must come first.

Sam, thanks for that idea. The issue I have is that I have 10kg plates, and the DB I have can only hold 3 each side. Do they do bars which are longer than a db but shorter than a BB? I haven't seen one.