Can I make a half-decent routine without a squat rack? [15 year-old needs help]
I have read the Starting Strength Wiki and I'm aware the a Squat Rack is imperative to maximising results.
I can't get a Squat Rack, I was 15 last week and my dad wont let me buy one, we have no space at home. Also, I pay for my gym, but it only has 2 barbells for bench press and curls, but there's no squat rack.
Today I began to learn the DeadLift after learning starting strength, I like it and will incorporate this into my current routine.
However I can't do a back squat due to having no rack, there's a Smith Machine but this puts pressure on my back due to the forced range of motion. Today I tried to learn the power clean, I managed to do 40kg however I then did 10 deep front squats and my legs weren't tired at all. I don't think I can do a power-clean+front squat combo 1. Teaching myself Power Clean is hard 2. I wont be able to clean high enough to challenge my legs.
I've been working out for 4 months, I'm 15, 5ft 10, 63kg (gone from 56-63kg in the 4 months, strength grown massively despite being on bad routine).
This is the best routine I've made despite having a squat-rack (added deadlift today). I'm having to use the Leg Press maching instead of squatting... I hate it.
Is there anything I can do? I have a 20kg barbell and a 10kg barbell.
Current Routine: (3 times/week)
Bench Press: 12x20kg, 8x35kg 6x52.5kg- 5 sets
Leg Press Machine: 15x70kg 10x140kg-4 sets (would like to do a better barbell type move here)
Chin-Ups: 10x30kg 8xbw 7xbw+15kg-4 sets (2nd set pull-ups)
Calf Raise- 8x90kg 8x150kgx3
Tricep Dips: 8xBW+17.5kg- 4 sets
Deadlifts- Still beginning
Lateral Rows: 8x60kg- 3 sets
Overhead Press: Still beginning (used to do shoulder press)
Lying Overhead Tricep Extension (one dumbell): 8x24kg- 3 sets
I like the way my upper body is working, I just would love to be able to do a squat type thing. This would also allow me to follow a proper routine for once.
The wiki is not very good. Splurge on the book. If you're going to pursue barbell training even a little it's worth it. For example it has a nice progression for how to learn the power clean.
(the program you came up with, esp in terms of sets and reps, itself speaks very poorly for what you got out of the wiki because it looks very little like what the SS program looks like, squat rack or not. If in fact you're actually trying to do an SS-like program, that is. Well, you've got sets across in there so i guess it's like SS, but higher reps and sets than generally recommended.)
Heavy squats are pretty important to the SS program... a 1-to-1 replacement for them doesn't exist, my suggestion would be to try to find a gym with a power rack if at all possible...
Otherwise, DLs and PCs are going to do a lot for your posterior chain. You can also add in some lunges to work more quads and some of the deeper ROM on the knee extension. It's not the same, but it's something. You'll prob need to buy or make some straps, and this assumes that your gym has heavy dumbbells.
Maybe something like this:
Chins or pull-ups 3x5 and increment the weights if you can. Or alternate pull-ups and chins on alternate times through the workout.
That way you get a fair amount of DL in there to use as your main lift, but you still have a couple of days in between so it doesn't kill you.
Between the DLs, Presses and chins your abs aren't going to need much work. You should also search the site... i'm pretty sure this question has been asked before, though i don't recall what else people came up with. Also, keep eating... you have a good amount of room for weight gain at your height.
Still... gym w/ a rack would be a lot better.
Last edited by veryhrm; 06-16-2012 at 10:01 PM.
Find a gym that has a power rack/squat rack/whatever.
If you have a back yard you can easily make a rudimentary squat rack in your back yard. Google "home made squat rack" for some ideas.
You have 3 or 4 months of good weather ahead.
Like veryhrm said buy Starting Strength 3rd edition. It is the gold standard for learning how to get strong as quickly as possible.
You are so lucky. You fit the profile almost exactly as stated in the book. If you do the program exactly you will be so strong by next school year your friends will be amazed.
The important thing is to do the program exactly as laid out in the book. I mean exactly.Don't change anything.
The DVD is excellent too. Get it if you can afford it.
As far as the rack goes, build it with safety in mind. Be sure to have some mechanism to support the weight if you miss a lift, especially with the bench press. Better yet get a training partner.
Last edited by Timojin; 06-17-2012 at 12:28 AM.
Thanks for the ideas. Carlos Daniel I can't move to a better gym, that would involve a 45 mins bike ride there and back, which is too long and I would be tired before I got there.
Veryhrm I understand my routine isn't based on SS, this is the routine I've been following before I began SS.
Building the Squat Rack isn't an issue, I can just about afford to buy one. However it's the fact that my parents enjoy gardening so don't want a home-gym in the garden .
Veryhrm I'm currently doing Deadlifts+Leg Press, I'll definitely switch that to Deadlifts+Weighted Lunges thanks. Considering I'm doing Deadlifts as my primary instead of my secondary (behind squats) shouldn't I be doing say 3 sets instead of 1/2? This is because it said in the Wiki it was only needed to do 1 set because you'd already be tired from squats.
Presuming I still have energy at the end of my session, does it harm to add in some weighted dips, I'd still be doing the key exercises at the beginning?
Finally, I don't see why (assuming I recover quickly, which I do) it's not beneficial to do Bench Press (and weighted chins) every session if you're fully recovered?
Thanks for the help anyway.
Stick to heavy compound lifts, forget the calf raises, lateral raises and tricep extensions - if you have energy left for them you haven't lifted enough in the proper exercises. and when you get heavy (if you're linearly progressing the big lifts) you won't want to overextend your 'recovery ability' on unimportant work anyway.
Of course if you're not looking to progress the compound lifts then it doesn't matter, but i'd say half the SS program is built on the principle of increasing the resistance of the main compound lifts as quickly as possible (the other half being based around selecting those exercises which load the body's kinetic chains from the centre out, ie. using the large strong muscles of the torso and hip/shoulder girdles to create forceful/powerful movements at the limbs, to create a 'useful physique')
You don't need a squat RACK necessarily, how about some squat stands? They don't take up as much room and you can move them. So you can keep them in a shed or the garage or something and just move them out to work-out. And perhaps get some foldable saw horses to use as rails. Well you'd also obviously need a barbell and some weights too but really they don't take up that much room when stowed. Maybe the gym you go to would be interested in buying some squat stands... it's a long shot, but it's worth asking. Perhaps even offer to pitch in some $$.
re sets and reps... the purpose of the program is to drive strength increases. If that is not your goal, then you prob want a different program. The program drives strength increases creating adequate stimulus to cause adaptation and allowing enough recovery so that those gains happen... by the next workout. So you increase the weight every time (as long as you completed all reps the previous time (w/ decent form)). If you're doing all those 10 exercises every workout and you're increasing the weight every workout... you can keep doing it, but i'm highly skeptical you'll be able to keep that up for any amount of time unless you're some sort of freak of nature. Also as things get heavier you'll end up taking more time between sets and with all those exercises you'd be in the gym for 4+ hours at a time.
You haven't said what you DL weight is but if start off w/ a weight "where the bar begins to slow down" and then add 10kg once or twice then 5kg per workout for a week or two and then 2.5kg after that it'll get heavy soon enough. Also, PC's use some of the same musculature and you're also going to be PCing your presses... so i figure 2x5 twice a week will be fine.
BP and press both use a lot of triceps so if you're doing both (which you should) you want to alternate.
Also, grab the Practical Programming book as well. (Starting Strength covers a little of that but it is mostly about how to do the exercises themselves) Esp if you're going to alter the program, you want to know the info in there. It's not a cookbook so it won't tell you exactly how to change yoru program, but it has good info explaining how you might think about it.
Put empty bar on the back and have someone put the weights on. It's awkward but managable. It may be easier to do high bar this way but still much closer to SS than squatless routine.
I don't have a gym partner and I have nobody who wants to be one. Also at the gym nobody really spots ect. Even if I got somebody to place the weight on my back, if I got tired I would have no way to put it back.
Originally Posted by IndividualThoughtPatterns
A squat stand does indeed take very very little room. See if you can convince your parents to put that somewhere.
Add a bench and you will have a home gym that supports everything for SS within 1mē.