Help, no gym nearby! - What can I achieve at home?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 26, 2012 12:12 PM GMT
    Ok, so I live quite far from any proper gyms, there is one or two that have purely cardio equipment and a few dumbbells, but nothing for me to do seriously.

    I really want to increase my muscle tone and mass (not a great deal - not aiming for bodybulder-esque physique). Particularly my pecs, abdominals, arms and shoulders i.e. upper body.

    You can see my current body shape in my pictures- lean, with decent definition, but nothing great. My current exercise reime is pretty much non-existent with the occasional swim and a very active job. I think I'm pretty lucky in terms of genetics (that or I have worms...). My body was obtained purely through a high elvel of competitiv swimming (and used to do weights for that years ago).

    Now with correct diet and cardio (swimming/speed rope), how posible is it to develop these areas without proper weight facilities? At home I have a set of dumbbells and can obviously do exercises without equipment (i.e. press ups etc). I feel that these are likely to not be enough. I'm nto concerned about a fast gain as such

    With a decent regime of these home based exercises (suggestions welcome) what chance do I have of improving my physique?

    Thanks guys, would much appreciate any criticisms(ideally constructive), tips and advice!

    I'm not one to believe in New Years Resolutions (why save for teh end of teh year when you cn do it any other time) - but been trying to look into this for a while, and decided to use this site as teh great resource it is!

    Merry Christmas!
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    Dec 26, 2012 1:15 PM GMT
    Is buying one of the home gyms possible for you?
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    Dec 26, 2012 1:17 PM GMT
    Haha not without the amount of money I have!
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    Dec 26, 2012 1:20 PM GMT
    Resistance bands can substitute for weights to a degree - you can build muscle by working against them.

    Body weight exercises can be supplemented by getting cheap things like dumbells and kettle bells, plates etc.

    For muscle tissue to grow it needs to be challenged, so work out a routine that varies .. for example..

    Calf raises with dumbells off a couple of inches step or brick etc, one week, step up to a 1 foot bench the next.

    Lunges one week, travelling lunges the next - add dumbbells.

    Shoulder presses with a length of band underfoot. Grab the band further away from the ends to increase resistance on your final set.

    Decline Push ups one week vs Push ups with a plate / belt another.

    Use a plate or dumbell when you do crunches, back neutral. Use same weight, back imprinted and legs into tabletop or extended, will work lower abs.

    Hope this gives you some ideas anyway
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    Dec 26, 2012 1:24 PM GMT
    Try a device called the "Perfect Pushup." It's two cylinders that you rotate as you perform the pushup. It works great, especially for pecs -- you'll notice a difference right away!
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Dec 26, 2012 3:55 PM GMT
    just do p90x or something
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    Dec 27, 2012 8:31 AM GMT
    Thans guys gonna look into a few things you've advised
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2012 8:48 AM GMT
    calibro saidjust do p90x or something


    basically anything beachbody
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    Dec 28, 2012 6:56 PM GMT
    def get yourself a body ball for home use, depending on your height, determines the color ball, best way to do abs and best for your back, you can do all kinds of exersize with it. Try some at home yoga too.

    The ball and yoga i learned from physical therapy, works great

    and i like your body, nothin wrong with it icon_razz.gif
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    Dec 28, 2012 7:17 PM GMT
    you might consider the Iron Gym over-door apparatus-

    Wholesale-Newest-font-b-IRON-b-font-font

    irongym.jpg

    they're only like 30 bucks and it opens up lots of options as far as chin-ups/military presses/ab raises etc. Pretty versatile piece of equipment. I would reinforce the molding around whatever door frame you use though with some extra nails just in case, though, cause it does pull down somewhat.
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    Dec 28, 2012 9:00 PM GMT
    Ha thanks for the compliments guys!
    But its not gonna get me anywhere!

    Door thingy looks nifty, not sure how sturd my frames are haha
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    Dec 28, 2012 9:15 PM GMT
    surfswim saidHa thanks for the compliments guys!
    But its not gonna get me anywhere!

    Door thingy looks nifty, not sure how sturd my frames are haha


    Buy some free weights and a bench.

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    Dec 28, 2012 9:23 PM GMT
    desertmuscl said
    surfswim saidHa thanks for the compliments guys!
    But its not gonna get me anywhere!

    Door thingy looks nifty, not sure how sturd my frames are haha


    Buy some free weights and a bench.



    Anything in particular you would suggest?
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    Dec 28, 2012 9:37 PM GMT
    Body weight exercises, in conjunction with running, can really do a lot for you. The Murph, named after Lieutenant Michael Murphy who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, is a pretty good one:

    Run 1 mile followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 sit-ups, 400 squats, and then run another mile. It will kick your ass if you don't take many breaks.
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    Dec 28, 2012 9:41 PM GMT
    It depends on your budget, the amount of space you have, and whether it needs to be portable. I think there are a few home gym threads lurking back in the mists of time here. (Standing in mine right now.)

    But most people build a basic setup around bench (adjustable angles) safety/squat cage, and olympic barbell w/ weights. And dumbbells. If money is a problem, you can collect it one piece at a time or build some things yourself. Especially if you have access to a machine shop.

    When I was broke, I went on the dumbbell-of-the-month plan. Bought one pair (or one) each paycheck. Obviously you can get a bunch of smaller ones at once, but larger ones get expensive.
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    Jan 06, 2013 9:53 PM GMT
    Several options:

    1) pull-up / chin-up bar attached to a doorway is excellent, as already suggested

    2) Perfect Push-up handles

    3) Body weight suspension training, such as the TRX Suspension system. You could also make some straps yourself to save money, but they have done a good job and have several training programs available.

    4) A bench and dumbbells. To save space, might consider dumbbells that you can vary the weight with to avoid having to buy a complete set, such as PowerBlocks.
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    Jan 06, 2013 10:46 PM GMT
    Do take a look at bodyweight exercises in the RJ workout database. I've been going through one of the 12 week programs and there are a lot of them in there that I'd never heard of before, that are good substitutes for weighted exercises.

    Re: adjustable dumbbells. The cheapest kind are like two little barbells with a bunch of plates that you screw on and off of them. I got these for my first set, but they take far too much time to change the weights between each set. Now I just keep them loaded up and use them for my 80 pounders. There are several kinds with nesting weights that you adjust by moving a pin or turning a screw to select how many weights you'll take off the stand. Nice idea, but these are so expensive that it's cheaper to just buy individual dumbbells. And they don't really take up much less room than 20 individual dumbbells stacked neatly on a rack.

    Well, at the risk of scaring you off, here is stuff that I collected over a period of a few years. The "adjustables" that I mentioned are on the floor and the rest self-explanatory.
    IMG_0446.jpg
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 06, 2013 11:25 PM GMT
    Push up bars are cheap and compact.
    Also, a TRX Home or TRX Pro is a great investment, and travels wherever you go.
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    Jan 07, 2013 12:28 AM GMT
    Here's a link to a book of body weight exercises. It has a huge variety of exercises you can do at home without having to invest in a home gym setup. I have a copy and I has a ton of different push ups, pull ups, and core routines. I've added quite a few to my gym workout.

    You Are Your Own Gym - Mark Lauren
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0345528581
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    Jan 07, 2013 2:13 AM GMT
    mindgarden saidRe: adjustable dumbbells. The cheapest kind are like two little barbells with a bunch of plates that you screw on and off of them. I got these for my first set, but they take far too much time to change the weights between each set. Now I just keep them loaded up and use them for my 80 pounders. There are several kinds with nesting weights that you adjust by moving a pin or turning a screw to select how many weights you'll take off the stand. Nice idea, but these are so expensive that it's cheaper to just buy individual dumbbells. And they don't really take up much less room than 20 individual dumbbells stacked neatly on a rack.

    The PowerBlocks take up less room. Depending on the range and increment you want, you could need more than 20. With PowerBlocks and some individual dumbbells, you can use magnetized fractional plates to provide smaller increments. On the other hand, PowerBlocks can be a bit of a nuisance if continual changes are needed. I just mentioned it as an option.
  • Kriss

    Posts: 690

    Jan 07, 2013 3:03 AM GMT
    This thread is amazing! great advice, as a college student I struggle with the fact that I can't always be inside the gym as much as I would like. After class I go to work and after work I have homework to do. By the time I get that done it's late and gyms closing.

    Glad to read some of this advice, I might try p90x this semester.
  • Medjai

    Posts: 2671

    Jan 11, 2013 4:48 PM GMT
    I've heard some good reviews about Convict Conditioning, a primarily body weight and salvaged items program. It seems creative and effective.
  • FitGwynedd

    Posts: 1468

    Jan 11, 2013 5:03 PM GMT
    Parts of Wales are the same, but each town here has a leisure centre. Doesn't your town or county have a leisure centre within reasonable distance?
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    Aug 23, 2013 8:58 AM GMT
    This is a great thread, I thought I would bump it up, because I am in the same position.

    I have a specific question. Can anyone point out how the different variants of push-ups can be used to work other parts of the body? For example, by widening the distance between your hands, does that work your chest more? How about when you rest your feet on a raised surface, such as a couch - what does that do in terms of body parts?
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    Aug 23, 2013 8:45 PM GMT
    Get a home gym. I found one a lady in Beverly Hills was selling for about $300. She was moving and didn't need it anymore. I can get about 80 percent of a great workout on it.