My current gym has no barbells, only dumbbells. I'm continuing my Starting Strength program of squats, bench press, overhead press, and a dumbbell dead lift. But, I have trouble racking and carrying the weights when doing squats, and picking them off the floor and returning when bench press, etc.

What is the proper way to pick up, rack, and put down the dumbbells? I'm referrering to all of the basic weight exercises.


1 Answer 1


For bench press, kick the dumbbells into place while sitting onto the bench, then reverse the process to get up.

For squats and overhead press, I'd power clean the dumbbells to my shoulders.

For deadlifts, I'd deadlift each dumbbell into place one at a time. Because of height issues this would unfortunately more closely resemble a round-backed squat.

Starting Strength is a barbell program. It is very difficult to modify that program to use only dumbbells. You might get better mileage out of a dumbbell-only gym by incorporating single-leg work like one-leg deadlifts, lunges, and rear-foot-elevated split squats. It's simply not possible to get the same load in the same position without a barbell.

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