Starting Strength with Dumbells?

Hi all. I am posting a question for my friend.

The only equipment he has access to is three things.

  1. Adjustable Bench
  2. Pairs of Dumbells up to 40kg
  3. A 16kg Kettlebell

He is a lean dude round 65 kgs, 5ft 7 and would have a fairly low body fat percentage. He is a noob to weight training. He wants to primarily strength train but wouldn’t mind adding a little bit of mass along the way. (i told him to just eat more)

He wanted to try the starting strength program but only has dumbells.

Is it possible to modify the starting strength program to use with dumbells? It strikes me that a dumbell deadlift and dumbell squat are almost the same thing. Also i think he would quickly grow stronger than the weight he has in those movements.

I was hoping someone could suggest either a modification of starting strength or a different program for him as a beginner. He really likes the simple format of SS with just a few key exercises cycled between workout A and workout B.

Any advice would be appreciated.

[quote]Blazinator wrote:
Is it possible to modify the starting strength program to use with dumbells?[/quote]

is it possible to follow the Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training plan without using a barbell… … …? Not exactly.

Like you said, the deadlift/squat will be issue number one. The power clean will be issue number two. And regularly adjusting the load will quickly become issue number three - with such a limited amount of dumbbells, is he really going to be able to increase the weight each workout for more than maybe six or eight weeks before either needing to micro-load, using 1-2 pounds per dumbbell, or just shoot for more reps with the same weight?

Is he averse to the GOMAD plan that Rippetoe advocates?

There’s no problem adjusting some of the concepts behind Rip’s plan. With the changes required, though, I’d be very hesitant to call it “Starting Strength with dumbbells.”
But no real rocket surgery or brain science here:

Workout A
Goblet squat 3x5-8
Dumbbell flat bench press 3x5-8
Dumbbell Romanian deadlift 1x5-8

Workout B
Dumbbell squat/deadlift 3x5-8
Standing dumbbell press 3x5-8
Cheat hammer curl 3x5-8

I was liberal with the rep range, which is another reason we’re not going to tell Rip about this ;), to account for the limited weights available. When he gets 8 reps in a set, bump the weight up and the reps back down to 5-ish.

The cheat hammer curl is the closest to a power clean we can get with dumbbells. Pretty much like it sounds, use some controlled body english to get the weight up. We’re alternating squat variations, again, to get more benefit from a limited exercise selection, and the RDL takes the place of the barbell deadlift.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Blazinator wrote:
Is it possible to modify the starting strength program to use with dumbells?

is it possible to follow the Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training plan without using a barbell… … …? Not exactly.

Like you said, the deadlift/squat will be issue number one. The power clean will be issue number two. And regularly adjusting the load will quickly become issue number three - with such a limited amount of dumbbells, is he really going to be able to increase the weight each workout for more than maybe six or eight weeks before either needing to micro-load, using 1-2 pounds per dumbbell, or just shoot for more reps with the same weight?

He wants to primarily strength train but wouldn’t mind adding a little bit of mass along the way. (i told him to just eat more)

Is he averse to the GOMAD plan that Rippetoe advocates?

I was hoping someone could suggest either a modification of starting strength or a different program for him as a beginner. He really likes the simple format of SS with just a few key exercises cycled between workout A and workout B.

There’s no problem adjusting some of the concepts behind Rip’s plan. With the changes required, though, I’d be very hesitant to call it “Starting Strength with dumbbells.”
But no real rocket surgery or brain science here:

Workout A
Goblet squat 3x5-8
Dumbbell flat bench press 3x5-8
Dumbbell Romanian deadlift 1x5-8

Workout B
Dumbbell squat/deadlift 3x5-8
Standing dumbbell press 3x5-8
Cheat hammer curl 3x5-8

I was liberal with the rep range, which is another reason we’re not going to tell Rip about this ;), to account for the limited weights available. When he gets 8 reps in a set, bump the weight up and the reps back down to 5-ish.

The cheat hammer curl is the closest to a power clean we can get with dumbbells. Pretty much like it sounds, use some controlled body english to get the weight up. We’re alternating squat variations, again, to get more benefit from a limited exercise selection, and the RDL takes the place of the barbell deadlift.[/quote]

I’m always greatly impressed by the thought you put into your answers.

/hijack

[quote]Blazinator wrote:
Hi all. I am posting a question for my friend.

The only equipment he has access to is three things.

  1. Adjustable Bench
  2. Pairs of Dumbells up to 40kg
  3. A 16kg Kettlebell

He is a lean dude round 65 kgs, 5ft 7 and would have a fairly low body fat percentage. He is a noob to weight training. He wants to primarily strength train but wouldn’t mind adding a little bit of mass along the way. (i told him to just eat more)

He wanted to try the starting strength program but only has dumbells.

Is it possible to modify the starting strength program to use with dumbells? It strikes me that a dumbell deadlift and dumbell squat are almost the same thing. Also i think he would quickly grow stronger than the weight he has in those movements.

I was hoping someone could suggest either a modification of starting strength or a different program for him as a beginner. He really likes the simple format of SS with just a few key exercises cycled between workout A and workout B.

Any advice would be appreciated.

[/quote]

I know I’m probably starting to sound like a broken record with this question, but:

Are his goals worth spending money on? Right now, at hibbett, you can get a 300lb BB set for $215. Craigslist has them for sale all the time for about $100.

[quote]chimera182 wrote:
I’m always greatly impressed by the thought you put into your answers.[/quote]

Thanks, but, man, I’ve got a hair over 2,400 posts in almost 5 years. Averaging it out, I guess I’m still a forum newb. I have to focus on quality over quantity. :wink:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
chimera182 wrote:
I’m always greatly impressed by the thought you put into your answers.

Thanks, but, man, I’ve got a hair over 2,400 posts in almost 5 years. Averaging it out, I’m still a forum newb. I have to focus on quality over quantity. ;)[/quote]

True, what I meant to say was “stop handing out advice noob.” Until you reach over 9000 posts your opinion is irrelevant.

/sarcasm

[quote]chimera182 wrote:
Chris Colucci wrote:
chimera182 wrote:
I’m always greatly impressed by the thought you put into your answers.

Thanks, but, man, I’ve got a hair over 2,400 posts in almost 5 years. Averaging it out, I’m still a forum newb. I have to focus on quality over quantity. :wink:

True, what I meant to say was “stop handing out advice noob.” Until you reach over 9000 posts your opinion is irrelevant.

/sarcasm[/quote]

I know. I only hope people don’t notice that I’m 6’2" and “only” 215 on a good day, lest I be barred from posting in so much as a Rate My Physique thread.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
chimera182 wrote:
Chris Colucci wrote:
chimera182 wrote:
I’m always greatly impressed by the thought you put into your answers.

Thanks, but, man, I’ve got a hair over 2,400 posts in almost 5 years. Averaging it out, I’m still a forum newb. I have to focus on quality over quantity. :wink:

True, what I meant to say was “stop handing out advice noob.” Until you reach over 9000 posts your opinion is irrelevant.

/sarcasm

I know. I only hope people don’t notice that I’m 6’2" and “only” 215 on a good day, lest I be barred from posting in so much as a Rate My Physique thread.[/quote]

Haha, as long as you’ve been training for 3 weeks I think you’re eligible to post in RMP.