Maximizing Limited Workout Equipment

January 30, 2017

Dumbbells

Tip Content Provided By: EXOS

While not everyone has a gym membership to a top tier fitness center, having limited equipment doesn’t have to be something that hampers your workout.  Below are a two equipment “limitations” and ways to overcome those obstacles and still get a quality workout.

Limitation #1 – Don’t have enough equipment.

Do more with less!  Get creative with the equipment you have available.  Look at utilizing the weights in multi-joint movements.  This will challenge your body with complex movements using the weights you have. 

EXAMPLE – Dumbbell squat to overhead press.

  • Choose dumbbells that you can safely press overhead
  • Grab dumbbells and place in each hand at shoulder height
  • Perform a squat
  • As you stand back up, press dumbbells overhead and return to shoulder height
  • REPEAT

Limitation #2 – Weights are not heavy enough.

  • As mentioned above, you can choose complex multi-joint movements that require lower weights.  You can also change your rep scheme.  There are a few ways to do this, but we recommend the following three.
  • Tempo: Change the speed in which you do the lift. For example, if doing a bench press, as arms extended, slow the speed in which you lower the weight to your chest, pause at the bottom, then press back up. You can choose different tempo speeds. 3/3/X is one of my favorites, where you lower the weight for 3 seconds, pause at the bottom for 3 seconds, and then explode back to the top. 
  • Single Arm or Leg: This will challenge you as you can focus on the single side movement at a higher weight. This will also challenge your core stability pending on which exercise and/or position you are in.
  • Alternating: Instead of grabbing the dumbbells and repping it for 10 reps. Alternate your reps, one side at a time, this will require you to hold the weight on one side an isometric contraction while the other side is doing work. 
  • Using the dumbbell bench press as an example, grab your dumbbells and get into position on the bench. As both arms are up, let your right arm lower the weight while your left arm stays in the up position.  After you return your right arm back to the up position, lower your left arm down and return to the up position.  NOTE – You should never have both arms moving at the same time.

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