T Nation

Training at home

I train at home. I have a dip bar, chinning bar,squat rack and Olympic Barbell set. Should I invest in a large swiss ball to take the place of a bench as I have no space for a bench? Plus any home training tips would be great. Thanks

I don’t think a Swiss ball is a substitute for a bench. Swiss balls are good for occasional use, but they severely limit the load you can use on them. If you plan on doing any serious barbell work, Swiss balls are downright dangerous. If you have room to put a Swiss ball, then you only need a tiny bit more space to put a bench.

Why do you need the bench? If it’s for presses, you can replace them with dips. If you really “need” a bench, a couple of milk crates with a solid 2x12 on it will do. Bolt it up properly.

Greg

Hyok, I think you’re out to lunch. Saying Swiss Balls are dangerous is a little short sighted. Azza, I think Swiss Balls are an invaluable tool. Keep in mind that I’m not a BB, I’m a “strength athlete”. Therefore, creating exercises of instability really translates into core stability and excellent definition in your mid-section. I’ve done everything from weighted squats to dumbell press on a swiss and find the exercises more than worthwhile. Next thing to try is deads on a Swiss Ball. Load is compromised, but instability/difficulty makes up for that.
BTW, I can dumbell press the same weight on a Swiss ball as on a bench. Not all loads have to be compromised. Get a bench if you have room, but get a Swiss Ball too. If I had to choose one…Swiss Ball all the way. Try the Sissel brand. I find them best.

i am not gonna get into whether or not Swiss balls work well. Instead, you don’t have any dumbells, so how are you gonna use the swiss ball. you can’t for hardly anything, so you need dumbells first. I would say get a power rack if anything.

First of all, you didn’t specify if you were a bodybuilder or another type of athlete, but since you read Testosterone I’ll asume you mainly train for looks. Next, Hyok sounds like a he came of an infomercial, swiss balls are no more dagerious than any other exercise (and if you have read any of Paul Check’s writings they are probably safer). And don’t worry about what you can bench on to compaired off the ball, if your a bodybuilder your goal is to make the exercise as difficult as possible, not to lift the most weight. (Plus, once you get your stabilizers strengthed you will probably be lifting about the same anyway). Third, if you are relatively short on money you can go down to your local hardware store and find something to bolt to the wall to hold your barbells (I would suggest having them at 2 levels one for squats and one for bench). If you have some cash to spare I would first recommend a set of power blocks, dumbells are much more usefull (when you are finished benching on the swiss ball you can drop them off and don’t need to worry about the bar crushing you, dbs also work quite well for squats and can hold your feet down for glute-ham raises). You said you had very little room so I am assuming that a power rack is out the question (much less your pocket book). So in summery of this huge ass letter I would rank (in order of importance): One, swiss ball (there are a ton of exercises you can do on them, get one of Paul Check’s videos–which will also give you a larger variety of exercises that you can do). Two, an abb roller (make sure it’s only a single wheel-refer to latter issues of t-mag). Three, power blocks and four a power rack.

Are you guys out of your minds? You’re telling me that trying to bench 300 lbs on a swiss ball is not dangerous?! Even if the ball does not burst (my swiss ball warns me not to exceed 300 lbs of load), what if you lose your balance? You crash to the floor with a 300 lb bar following closely behind. The original post mentioned nothing about dumbbells, which would be ideal for swiss ball use. If you lose your balance, then you just ditch the weights. I stand by what I said orginally. Although swiss balls are great for balance and working those stabilizers, if you’re looking to push serious iron, you need a sturdy bench. There is so much energy being spent trying to keep your balance that, even if you stick to dumbbells, your target muscles will be compromised if you are looking to work near your 1 rep max. So, get a bench; use the bench 70% of the time, and save the swiss ball for variety and for working stabilizer muscles.

Another infomercial (snicker) Kent mc2 wrote: “dumbells are much more usefull (when you are finished benching on the swiss ball you can drop them off and don’t need to worry about the bar crushing you.” Yeah, barbell press on a swiss ball is safe…

Investing in a set of Powerblocks is a definite. They’re a truly invaluable piece of equiptment for home gym use. The Swiss Ball (or, in my case, Coney Island Bill) becomes a great training factor if you’re innovative with it. Like anyhting else it can be overused, abused, disregaurded, malnutritioned, neglected, ect. A Dip station is cool but, again, use your imagination. I do dips between the handles of a stairclimber (why put the thing to waste?) Have fun. Lata.

“MB Eric: Human Antimercial since 0002.”

-Eric