What equipment for my training methods?

vitaminCoffee

Level 1 Valued Member
I'm new to strength training. I started a year ago with a 16 kg kettlebell. Since then, I've been messing around, trying different programs, and trying to get a sense of what I like. I also bought a 24 kg bell.

It turns out, the exercises I like doing are these: one arm military press, get up, bent press, bent over row, dead snatch, dead clean and press, goblet squat, and weighted carries.

I like playing around with programming, and trying out new schemes, like pyramids a la rite of progress. Right now I'm working on the military press, for instance, doing 4 sets of 5 reps, working up to 4 sets of 15 reps, before jumping up in weight.

I'm currently reading a book by Sig Klein, and enjoy trying to understand those older training methods.

I'm currently still just using the 16 and 24 kg bells. To approximate a 20kg weight, I sometimes grab the 16 kg as well a gallon of water in the same hand. It works pretty well for the presses.

I tend to move house a lot, so I need my equipment to fit in the trunk of my car when I move next. As much as I love kettlebells, it seems like they're not the best choice for me. My questions is: should I get a barbell or a dumbbell?

Across the country, in storage, I have a very old barbell that I've never used. I remember it has those old red metal collars. Looking online, I think it must be a York bell, but I remember being it quite a bit shorter than the modern barbells I've seen.

Could I get away with the barbell, doing one arm military presses with it, as well as one arm snatches, etc.?

Would an olympic loadable dumbbell be the best thing? I keep reading conflicting things about them, with people saying the weights are too big, limiting range of motion, or that you can't do snatches with them because the weights will fall off.

I really have on idea what weights someone like like me would typically top out on. I'm 5'10", 175lbs, and not very strong yet.
 

vitaminCoffee

Level 1 Valued Member
I thought so too, but it seems like the weight selection is a problem. I don't do swings, so the 32 kg doesn't have much use for me now. But, I also need something heavy for bent presses and squats. It doesn't seem like a lot of people my size end up pressing a 32 kg for reps often. For weighted carries, I can use water jugs and things. I'm not explaining my predicament well, but it seemed like the adjustable nature of the barbel or dumbbell would be an advantage.
 

Chrisdavisjr

Level 7 Valued Member
A barbell would be ideal for building leg strength however it would not fit in the back of your car. As much as I hate to suggest it, access to a gym with barbells, weights and racks etc. might be the best way to go if you don't have the option of having that kind of set-up at home.

Loadable dumbbells certainly have their uses, but I would argue that you'd get more variety of use from a set of kettlebells.
 

IMayAgainKnowChris

Level 5 Valued Member
Welcome to the forum. Kettlebells are pretty versatile IMO. Why do you think KB’s aren’t a good choice for you. It’s amazing the mileage you can get out of a few KB’s (16,24,32). You can also work on some pistol squats or one arm pushups and really get into some challenging body weight exercises.

I think you’ll never match a barbell for certain pure strength aspects but I would imagine with correct programming you can get pretty far with a few KB’s. Esp when you start playing with compressing rest periods, or extending them to get more sets in with the same rep scheme...
 

H. Mac

Level 5 Valued Member
Welcome to the forum!

Gymnastic rings are inexpensive, easy to transport, can be used anywhere there’s an overhead support (even a large branch), and there’s almost no end to what they can help,you accomplish.

And the possibilities of what can be accomplished with your two KBs (16 and 24 KG) are also almost endless. The trick though may be adding to the list of exercises you like. You might consider changing grips to add the Bottoms Up Press, Waiter Press, and Hammer Press, and/or changing your position to add the Seated Press, Half-Kneeling Press, or One Leg Press.

And if you add swings for a few weeks, you’ll be glad that you did!
 

Antti

Level 8 Valued Member
I think every tool can work for you. You seem to enjoy doing what you do so I would keep doing what you do.

If you have the room and the means, I think the barbell would be the best tool. It allows for the easiest and most effective way to develop your absolute strength. I think it would play well with your favourite exercises.
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
Good advice given by everyone thus far

@vitaminCoffee you haven’t really stated what your strength / training goals are (other than the tools needing to be highly portable)
A person can get very strong with body weight only... pretty portable...

Let your goals dictate methods and tools...
 

Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
I thought so too, but it seems like the weight selection is a problem. I don't do swings, so the 32 kg doesn't have much use for me now. But, I also need something heavy for bent presses and squats. It doesn't seem like a lot of people my size end up pressing a 32 kg for reps often. For weighted carries, I can use water jugs and things. I'm not explaining my predicament well, but it seemed like the adjustable nature of the barbel or dumbbell would be an advantage.
On your travels do you load your car roof? A used ski rack and some bungee cords would hold a BB. Some of those very cool Oly mini bars that @watchnerd bought a few months back would also work
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Another thing to consider is a membership in a nationwide chain of gyms. I've done this when I've been on the road for a week or two and needed to train. I think mine is with LA Fitness, and they have an option where I don't pay for it except when I activate it, which I can do a month at a time.

But bodyweight, a set of rings, and one kettlebell will do you just fine. Even if you can use heavier, a 24 kg bell is just fine for most adult men, and heck, if you're strong enough, that one kettlebell can be a 28 or a 32.

-S-
 

vitaminCoffee

Level 1 Valued Member
Thanks for your comments.

I don't think I did a good job framing my questions. I'm very new to the strength training world and there's so much I don't know.

I'm male, 34, 5'10", 175 lbs. My only real previous athletic training consists of being a slow and skinny competitive runner back in high school, when I weighed 125 lbs.

Despite training for one year, I'm fairly weak overall, and don't have much muscle. I spend the last year mostly figuring out what I like, as well as rehabing my shoulder from an old injury with presses and get ups. I love training, and always do it outside.

I can press the 24 kg about 3 times with my right hand. Currently I'm working up to sets of 15 reps with the 16 kg. So yesterday for instance I did 4 sets of 11 reps each with the 16 kg. When I get to 15 reps, I will start over at 4 sets of 5 reps with the 16 kg + a gallon of water held in the same hand, approximating a 20 kg 'bell.'

My goals are to get stronger, gain muscle, and have fun. An approach like old timer Sig Klein's seemed appropriate to me ie old school bodybuilding where there is a real emphasis on strength as well.

Since I'm new to all this, I don't have a good sense of what strength level someone my size typically reaches, but I do get the impression that I wouldn't be doing a whole lot with a 32 kg bell.

Since I do dead cleans and dead snatches, I realized that I don't really need a kettlebell. I love kettlebells, and, while it may sound silly, there's something about the shape that I just like a lot. But an adjustable barbell or dumbell started to seem more practical at some point, since I think I could do all the same exercise with it. But when I started looking into it, I couldn't figure out what an olympic adjustable dumbell reall was-- is it something novel? People have said you can and can't drop them from an overhead position. If I can't drop it, I don't think I want it, and if there's any possibility of the plates sliding off, I definitely don't want it.

I can't find much information on one arm barbell snatches. They are mentioned by Sig Klein, but I don't see much modern information on them. Maybe it turns out they're a bad idea for a lot of people?

What are the mini olympic barbels? I'm searching on google for them but don't see them. Thanks for the gymnast ring ideas -- I didn't know about them.

I think I am mainly looking for ideas on what equipment would suit the type of old style bodybuilding/strength training I want to do (there's a distinct lack of any conditioning ie no swings, no swinging snatches, etc.), rather than emphasizing portability first and foremost.

I think I could stand to get one more kettlebell, and one dumbbell/barbell, if that's what would be best. I guess the main reason some sort of adjustable bar is the bent press, since the presses can be adjusted by also grasping a 10lbs weight or gallon of water. I was thinking that I could also buy a 20 kg kettlebell, using it for snatches and presses, and then when I wanted to do heavier bent presses, combine kettlebells, holding two at one. The thing that's holding me back is I don't know how safe it is. I've watched the videos where lifters bail on the bent press safetly, throwing the bell to the side, but would that work with two bells, or, for that matter, would it work with a barbell?
 

vitaminCoffee

Level 1 Valued Member
PS I am sometimes going being countries, which is why I haven't yet joined a gym chain, as well as the various shutdowns .
 

Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
Eleiko Loadable Dumbbell ( mini Oly bar )

 

vitaminCoffee

Level 1 Valued Member
Thank you for the link. Yes, those are similar to the Rogue ones I was looking at. Thanks for the idea about the top of the car, but I don't think it would fit on there. So I'm confused about these dumbbells -- people talk about the oly plates being a waste of money. Do you agree? You can put on regular plates instead? It seems people say you can't drop them.
 

IMayAgainKnowChris

Level 5 Valued Member
About what strength level you can achieve... id say you could get incredibly strong and still be your same weight assuming you eat enough protein and look at this long term. Not like a 4 month goal. I’m currently 5”8, 175 and 35 years old. I’ve seen people that weight 150 swinging the 32kg and putting me to shame (or inspiring me, depending on the day. Haha). But at your height/weight the works is what you make of it if you put in the work (and eat like it’s a job!). Much respect and hope to hear how things go!!!
 

Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
Correct. Very nice gear, so bad idea to drop. If rotating sleeves aren't a necessity it will be easy to find inexpensive basic loadable Db's that you can abuse. Not sure how many drops from height they could take before bending.
 

Alexander Halford

Level 7 Valued Member
Out of all your exercises you mentioned - no swing, no deadlift, cleans and snatches - dead, ie no hip hinge. May I ask why you are avoiding a strongest move your body can produce, and thus, fastest possible progress in strength?
 
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