T Nation

Powerlifter Without Rack or Bench

I am moving to San Antonio in less than a month…I don’t think I will be able to pay for a gym over there in some time…1 or 2 months I think.
Fortunately my uncle lives there and he’s going to let me work out in his garage.

he has:
one of those 300 lb olympic barbell sets…(I can buy some cheap used olympic plates I won’t be that poor).
a pair of standard dumbbells…(I can buy some standard plates for those too but I don’t think they could go over 45 lbs. so they will be pretty light).
a standard cambered bar
a pair of those things you use to do pushups…(sorry I don’t know the name)

I powerlift and will have a hard time without being able to squat and bench for a while…I think I’ll base my training on deadlifts and overhead presses…I can do rows and triceps extensions…some curls and I think I’ll do some sets of pushups to failure to keep my pec strength…

I’m looking for some ideas to set up a good program…any comment would help

Thanks in advance

Here’re some ideas, bro.

Floor press.

Ballistic (or regular) pushups with bands in palms and wrapped around back.

Don’t worry about not being able to squat cuz the deadlift can be made rather similar (hell, it already is). When dl’n switch up your grip and stance and height of hips. If you’re dl’n off four inch platform with wide snatch grip you can lower your hips to a full squat and use leg drive as much as hip extension.

Work on hang cleans and hang snatches (hang cuz you do less weight and I’m sure you dont wanna hafta drop the weights in the garage).

If you’re aight with cleans then do front squats.

Do front, side, and reverse lunges with the bar in front squat position. I understand that lunges are not popular in the pl community, but they simulate every angle at which the legs press in a pl squat.

If any of these lifts are new to your body then focus on full belly activation prior to and during lift (deep, deep breathing in, abdominal tightness/flexion).

Goof off with vertical jumps or box jumps.

Hope this is what you’re looking for…

If I think of anything else I’ll post.

p.s. if you can get your hands on some heavy jugs and/or other heavy/stable shit then you can assemble your own squat rack. If the stuff you get is not high enough to stand tall when unracking the weight mb go with something short so you can do squats beginning with the concentric and ending with the eccentric phase.

There is no equal replacement for the squat, but the closest thing i can think that would work for you is the old hack squats with your heels slightly elevated on a plate or something. And like wufwungy said, experiment with jumps. My personal favorite is the lunge jump. Do three sets of 25 of these and you’ll hardly be able to get off the crapper the next day.

If you are hell-bent on training in your uncle’s garage and/or want a change of pace, by all means, do it.

If you would rather train in a gym with a squat rack and a bench, then when you get to San Antonio, make arrangements for yourself. Most small-time gym owners would gladly let you train for free if you were willing to come in on Sundays to clean the place and/or do basic maintainence on the equipment. Take one day, grab the phone book, and go meet the owners face-to-face.

Either that or I’m sure there are tons of guys training at home. Post a message on this forum and you will surely find someone close to you.

RIT Jared

thanks for your replies guys…
i think i will experiment with deadlifts from different heights and using different grips/stances.
power snatches/cleans from hang are a good idea too…i will have to learn how to do them correctly though…once i can clean with good form and be able to rack the bar properly i’ll do front squats.
i know i will have a hard time without squatting or benching but i always wanted to increase my overhead press (which i’ll have to do outside) and i think this is a good oportunity to focus on this lift too.
you gave me great ideas.

What??? you mean hands?

Seriously though, I would try RIT Jared’s suggestion, most owners I have met are pretty darn cool guys, my gym owner let me work out for a free month just cause he is a cool guy and I told him I would buy a years membership when I had the money… and I did, and everyone is happy.


Hey, try some Russian Leg Curls to keep your Hamstring strength up; maybe some 1 arm side deadlifts. If you have room, 1 arm snatches and overhead holds rock.

“The Bear” a la Coach Davies would work really well, too.

I was actually just having a conversation with one of my friends/clients between reps today regarding a similar situation he is in. Some of the most creative/strange/best exercises come when one is taken out of their element and forced to be creative in their substitute exercises (crazy stuff like balancing a bar on your feet for a leg press!!!)

dave, i think i’ll follow your advice and see what happens…i hope i can persuade the gym manager/owner to give me a free month or something…

if i am not succesful with that i think i’ll try a poor guy variation of Coach Staley’s snatch program