My current goal is hypertropy, to build some muscle. I am an advanced beginner when it comes to lifting. I usually working in the gym of my apartment complex, which is naturally very convenient. So the gym has a rack of dumbells, as well as a cable machine and benchpress machine, among a couple of other things. So it is a limited setup, but works for most of my needs.

The one thing that I am realizing is that I am almost maxxed out on the dumbell setup. The dumbells only go up to 50lb, no more. I was trying to figure out how to adjust my workout so that I can still achieve some gains given the limitations. My question is if more experienced users could give me some suggestions about how to adjust my workout to work around these equipment limits.

One things I have been trying to focus on is trying to do different dropset combinations. For example if I am working on my upper back muscles, then I can actually lift about 80 lb on each side--if I was at a regular gym. But at my apartment gym, I am experimenting with doing dropsets or mechanical dropsets. Here is an example.

  • start with 50 lb one-arm dumbell row with overhand grip for 15 reps
  • switch to 40 lb dumbell and do one-arm dumbell row with neutral grip for 10 reps
  • switch to 30 lb dumbell and do one-arm underhand dumbell row for 8 reps.

I find that this does feel pretty good--like the fatigue is no joke :).

I was wondering if anyone had any other ideas about how I can work around these types of limits for other exercises, like chest work, etc. Any suggestions are welcome.

1 Answer 1


I have the same exact issue with my apartment.

For chest with 50s can take forever for any fatigue, but going slow and getting the stretch at the bottom has had the best Stimulus. 3 sets to failure going slow with a big stretch for flat, incline, and decline. I have not had to incorporate drop sets like you for back, but my chest has always been my easiest muscle group to grow. To save from using up 4 pairs of dumbbells, push-ups feel even better on my chest after any other pressing movement, so they could be used as your drop set.

  • thanks for the suggestions. Yeah I can see that using these techniques like slow reps and more time under pressure can provide a stimulus when weight is limited. This is very helpful. I will definitely incorporate your suggestions into my workout planning. Chest day is Thursday :).
    – krishnab
    Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 23:16

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