Cost effective barbell training

Simply strong

Level 4 Valued Member
I’ve been thinking over a program that only uses a very light barbell. Mainly because I went and added up how much training at home would cost if you bought a series of kettlebells from 12 to 48kg vs a barbell that goes up in 10kg increments from 20kg to 90kg and in every case the kettlebells were seriously more expensive and it probably takes more space to store around 8-10 bells vs a bar and 6 plates (2x5kg, 2x10kg, 2x20kg).

So the question is what lifts can you do to make real progress with just a light bar?

I thought a program that focused on the power snatch, strict press and SL deadlift would be a good place to start. Would this be a respectable workout of the decade?
 

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
There are so many options that it is hard for me to answer.

I do derivatives of powerlifts. Right now yoke squats, floor presses, and partial deadlifts (bar right below knee).

Yiu could do the original York Barbell Course.

What about the dry fighting weight program but with a barbell. Floor presses, cleans, and presses.

In general though, I would recommend getting strong using Grinds first, then later introduce ballistics.

But I agree with you... The kbell is a minimalist tool. But this only applies if you own 1 or 2 or 3 of them. If you end up getting all of them, then you might as well consider a barbell and plates.

Regards,

Eric
 

Chase Hines

Level 3 Valued Member
I’ve been thinking over a program that only uses a very light barbell. Mainly because I went and added up how much training at home would cost if you bought a series of kettlebells from 12 to 48kg vs a barbell that goes up in 10kg increments from 20kg to 90kg and in every case the kettlebells were seriously more expensive and it probably takes more space to store around 8-10 bells vs a bar and 6 plates (2x5kg, 2x10kg, 2x20kg).

So the question is what lifts can you do to make real progress with just a light bar?

I thought a program that focused on the power snatch, strict press and SL deadlift would be a good place to start. Would this be a respectable workout of the decade
You can go to the moon & back with a 16KG bell and a barbell with 235lbs in plates.

4 - 45s
2 - 25s

Get a quality bell from StrongFirst & go dirt cheap on the barbell & plates. Titan fitness sells cheap bars that are OK and you can snag cheap OLY plates at dicks for around $1 per pound.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Simply strong, what equipment do you currently have? Assuming you have a background in strength already and are in some kind of shape, consider buying one kettlebell and a starter Olympic barbell set. That would be my "all-rounder" choice, but it might help to have some specific goals stated. 24 kg is the standard issue for adult men in the military, and you can do a lot with that, even learn on it if need be. Or get a 20 or 16 if you feel that's more your speed but if you only have one, I'd err a little on the side of going too big because whatever feels right now might feel too light in a few weeks.

-S-
 

Tigger

Level 5 Valued Member
There's an adjustable bell that gives you a set from 12-32kg. $200. Get two, and you're set for years. Very cost effective.
 

Nate

Level 5 Valued Member
I bought diamond pro for both kettlebells & bumper plates for ~$1/# (and free shipping) as recently as last winter (19-20).
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
There are many weights (pun intended) to make light way feel heavier. Using one limb, pausing, using a weaker grip or stance.

Fir pulls, snatching would be a pretty darn good accomplishment with that top weight, same with strict pressing. Zercher squats would be a great way to fill in the gaps. Floor presses would also work well until you’re stronger.
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
You could always go this route:

Bamboo-Bar.jpg
 

marvinthemartian

Level 5 Valued Member
Wouldn't "light" barbell training be more effective for strength and hypertrophy than kettlebells anyways because it can still be loaded heavier? Your 90kg (assuming a 20kg bar) barbell set wouldn't be much by barbell standards but 90kg cleans, presses and squats are rarely seen in the KB world. 90kg bench presses, cleans and squats for 10, 15, 20+ reps sound pretty strong in general. You could probably even do double KB programs like Return of the KB with your barbell set. C&P ladders + FS + 20 rep DL blocks alternated with C&J ladders. Geoff Neuperts programs have a great reputation around here and involve a lot of double KBs. Maybe they would fit the bill as well.
 
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Hardartery

Level 2 Valued Member
Quite a few of the plates I have in the US came from scrapyards and cost around 7-10 cents a pound. I went regularly to drop scrap from jobs (Construction) and there was often a few plates there. a rental or something else gets cleaned out and they just take that stuff to the scrap yard. I've picked up what appear to be brand new stuff sometimes. They would pull them out and have sitting by the office sometimes just for guys looking for that.
 

Simply strong

Level 4 Valued Member
Wouldn't "light" barbell training be more effective for strength and hypertrophy than kettlebells anyways because it can still be loaded heavier? Your 90kg (assuming a 20kg bar) barbell set wouldn't be much by barbell standards but 90kg cleans, presses and squats are rarely seen in the KB world. 90kg bench presses, cleans and squats for 10, 15, 20+ reps sound pretty strong in general. You could probably even do double KB programs like Return of the KB with your barbell set. C&P ladders + FS + 20 rep DL blocks alternated with C&J ladders. Geoff Neuperts programs have a great reputation around here and involve a lot of double KBs. Maybe they would fit the bill as well.
Running double kettlebell programs with a bar is a good shout if you have only a light barbell. Like that idea a lot.

CrossFit gets a bad rap for doing high rep Olympic lifts but if your goal is to be stronger/fitter and not an Olympic lifter would there be any inherent negatives to aiming for the SSST with barbell hang snatches (probably they will look more like hang muscle snatches)?
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
Running double kettlebell programs with a bar is a good shout if you have only a light barbell. Like that idea a lot.

CrossFit gets a bad rap for doing high rep Olympic lifts but if your goal is to be stronger/fitter and not an Olympic lifter would there be any inherent negatives to aiming for the SSST with barbell hang snatches (probably they will look more like hang muscle snatches)?

Yes.

You end up learning crappy snatch form and defeating the purpose of training explosively if you do it light for high reps until fatigue with huge slop and bad form.

If you want to do explosive ballistics for lightweight and reps, KBs are better.

Caveat: I'm a weightlifter by sport
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
Totally different approach, but if cost is a limiting factor sandbags are tough to beat. I can load with steel shot ballast and is still cheaper than most cast iron deals.
Limited by top end loading size to weight, webbing strap handles start to really bite in much over 120lbs.

You can do versions of Oly lifts that will provide virtually identical adaptive response. Heavy squat and DL are limited to unilateral or leverage limited movements a la Good Mornings, single leg squat etc.
 

Chrisdavisjr

Level 7 Valued Member
Running double kettlebell programs with a bar is a good shout if you have only a light barbell. Like that idea a lot.

CrossFit gets a bad rap for doing high rep Olympic lifts but if your goal is to be stronger/fitter and not an Olympic lifter would there be any inherent negatives to aiming for the SSST with barbell hang snatches (probably they will look more like hang muscle snatches)?
Yeah, the movements in Oly lifting are built around moving maximal weights from the floor to overhead as efficiently as possible for a single all-out effort. High-reps in an Oly lifting context is 3-5 and can be effective as part of a strength/conditioning modality but pushing into those higher rep ranges is really not what those lifts are for.

When all you have is a barbell and a few plates, the Javorek Complex might not be a bad place to start (Tip: The Javorek Complex | T Nation). It's not a million miles away from Olympic lifting (there's a muscle snatch in there; a lot more like a KB snatch than the full squat snatch) but it's more suitable to those working on strength/endurance than technique or the highly position-specific strength demanded by Oly lifting.
 
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