High Performance Training Without the Equipment: Installment 1
Written on September 28, 2010 at 5:42 am, by Eric Cressey
Based on feedback on Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better, one of the most popular components of this strength and conditioning resource has been the exercise modifications section. This section features recommended modifications for everything from mobility deficits (e.g., can't squat deep without rounding the back) to equipment limitations (e.g., no cables or squat rack).
That said, I know it's never possible to use a single chapter to cover absolutely every equipment modification one will encounter, so I wanted to get a series going here that highlights some quick and easy substitutions that you can use in your strength training programs. To that end, here is the first installment of High Performance Training Without the Equipment. Today's focus will be what to do in your home gym if you don't have access to dumbbells.
If we're talking about regular bilateral dumbbell pressing, the modification is quick and easy: just use a barbell, and get your variety by using a collection of floor presses, board presses, full range-of-motion presses, and various inclines and declines.
If we're talking about either unilateral or alternating dumbbell pressing variations, then try out the 1-arm push-up. You can make the exercise easier by performing it off the pins in a power rack - and as you get stronger, gradually move the pin down lower.
On the "flip side," you can obviously use barbell rowing variations to replace dumbbell rowing variations. One that I particularly like is the 1-arm corner row, in lieu of the 1-arm DB Row. You just stick the end of a barbell in a corner.
Or, you can just do the 1-arm barbell row - which requires a ton more grip and forearm strength to keep the bar from tipping.
Of course, there are plenty more options in this regard; your imagination is your only limit!