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The gyms in my area are overcrowded and full of smith machines. Some of the cheaper ones don't even have smith machines. I've decided to lift weights at home, but I have a limited amount of space and don't quite yet want to invest in a rack.

I have a few questions...

  1. If I get a small barbell like the C70 from Rogue, would I be okay with doing only the following exercises?

    • Deadlift
    • Bent Over Row
    • Overhead Press

Obviously I'd be missing out on squats and the bench press, but (here comes the next few questions)

  1. Can doing more dead lifts act a substitute for squats?

  2. Can push-ups act as a substitute for the bench press?

  3. Can anyone speak about their experience with the Rogue C70? Can I do all of the above exercises with it, even though I'm just about 6'0?

  4. If none of the above sounds like it would give me a proper full body workout, should I simply aim to use kettlebells or dumbbells instead?

Thank you all for reading and for your help!

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    I think that there is no 'answer to it all', to give a reasonable answer it would be helpfull to know what your goals are. As to get physically stronger (max strength) and loose weight might require different aproaches and items. But in general you can create a decent workout with just a barbell alone, challenging kettlebell or with calisthenics alone... – mitro Jan 28 '17 at 12:07
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    You can squat... Just learn how to clean the bar to your chest then do front squats. You can also do floor press instead of bench press – Hitchmo Jan 29 '17 at 19:20
  • @Blueishvelvet You may want to add a pull-up bar (the kind that allows different types of grips) because you can't do upward pull exercises with free weights. I gained some satisfactory upper body muscle mass a few years ago when I was doing almost exactly that you're proposing (plus a pull-up bar). That being said, one big benefit of a real gym is safety - It's easy to get injured working out all alone at home with free weights when one starts getting stronger and lifting heavier weights. Joining a gym will be far safer and allow a more complete training regimen. Or at least get a spotter. – Achilles Feb 7 '17 at 12:19
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1.If I get a small barbell like the C70 from Rogue, would I be okay with doing only the following exercises? Deadlift, Bent Over Row, Overhead Press

Sure, they used that bar in the last CrossFit games to deadlift over 400lbs. I'm sure you'd be fine with it. I would recommend getting a full size bar is it will help your stabilising muscles work more. As far as exercise types, (ignoring squats and bench) you have the main compound ones covered.

2.Can doing more dead lifts act a substitute for squats?

No. Front squats aren't really a substitute for back squats either. Buying a small, simple rack on amazon is recommended.

3.Can push-ups act as a substitute for the bench press?

Up to a point, then no. You can do a floor press (bench press off the floor) or pick up a second-hand bench from craigslist or cheep on amazon (if you are looking at a $200 rogue barbell then you can afford a $30 bench).

4.Can anyone speak about their experience with the Rogue C70? Can I do all of the above exercises with it, even though I'm just about 6'0?

You will develop less bar control which means that when you do use a full length bar you wont be able to move as much weight. It really depends on your long term goals.

5.If none of the above sounds like it would give me a proper full body workout, should I simply aim to use kettlebells or dumbbells instead?

Stronglifts, StartingStrength and Greyskull LP all use the barbell movements described and they are all good for novice lifters (usually <1 year consistent lifting). I personally would add in power cleans to maintain explosive power and get a set of rings for pull-ups and dips.

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Just about anything can be made to work. So yes, your plan would work fine. But I don't think it's the best option.

Do you have to squat or bench? No. You'd be fine, really, just focusing on deadlifts and overhead presses. It's not ideal, but that's a fine "bare minimum". It leaves things out but it's still a full-body program. You wouldn't get the benefits of squats.

You can do push-ups instead of bench pressing, but they're not really a "replacement". They're their own thing. It's good to be good at push-ups but they don't produce the same changes as bench pressing does. You could also do floor presses with whatever barbell you end up with.

But to critique your specific plan, I'd recommend against spending $300 on an "almost right" bar. If you're going to spend real money then get a real full-size 20kg/45lb bar. If you're looking to save money, look on Craigslist for used bars. If you really can't fit a full-size barbell in your space...buy a new house. Just kidding! Maybe think about kettlebells or dumbbells if your space can't fit a full-size barbell. Or get a small, cheap bar as a stopgap.

  • Lets say I get a full sized bar, they are around the same price after all, but never end up getting a rack/bench. Will the workout I outlined in the original question still be extremely beneficial to my health/overall life? Am I losing a lot by not squatting and benching? – BlueishVelvet Feb 2 '17 at 16:45
  • @BlueishVelvet Beneficial? Absolutely. Losing a lot? Yes. But deadlift plus overhead press (and maybe row) still gets a lot done, and you could still front squat and floor press. – Dave Liepmann Feb 3 '17 at 5:35

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