Strength Training

I don’t have space at home or money to kit out a home gym but I’m lucky to have a gym next to my work that is 24/7, still open, monthly rolling membership and just £17 per month. So I’ve joined it for my 10 week off season before I start TR base plan in Dec.

Even more it has a watt bike for my warm ups and cool downs :grinning:


My workout equipment includes:

  • 40lb kettlebell
  • 40lb dumbbell
  • rock rings for pull ups
  • a mat

With the right exercises, this is all the equipment I need to maintain strength.

These might work for young knees. I avoid any squat that puts my knees that far forward.

Reverse lungs, Bulgarian squats better IMO

Thanks for that. Great to see the buildup of different variations, thanks for sharing.

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Equipment question. For those who do bench work, I am in the market for a bench. Would you purchase an adjustable that can be used for inclined work, or just a flat basic bench? I was looking at Rouge’s folding flat bench so I can put it away when not using it (limited space in the Greater Boston area). I don’t want to miss out on the adjustability of an adjustable bench if people thing it’s truly the way to go. I know when the fixed bench it can load with more weight, but I doubt that I will ever get to doing 500 lbs bench.

If you were buying one bench, flat or adjustable?

I’d go for the adjustable. Until you bench 500+ the non-adjustable offers no particular benefit, while the adjustable will be easier to store when not in use as you say, and additionally it allows you to do a couple of exercises that require an adjustable bench.

For ‘older’ knee’s potentially like Dave’s you could try some other fun variations:

Single Leg Swiss ball squats loaded or unloaded. You can control your knee angle as much as you want :wink:

For the posterior chain:

Single Leg bridge, loaded and unloaded.
Single Leg Swiss Ball leg curls and if your advanced/adventurous you can try loading them too.

Skinny cyclist here: If I were looking for a basic squat / deadlift setup for the garage, what would you recommend? Not absolute bargain basement, but I don’t need fancy.

A set of adjustable dumbbells would probably work if you don’t anticipate lifting a huge amount of weight. I have a pair of Bowflex dumbbells that go up to 52.5 lbs each. The model is Selectech 552, you just twist a dial to change the weight, no taking off/putting on plates.

Goblet squats, lunges, step ups, and deadlifts are all easy to do with them.

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Agree on the recommendation for dumbbells. Easy and sufficient for what most people need.

A barbell is really only necessary if you’re lifting heavy weights to build strength / weight for a power sport of some type. To be clear - I’m not saying barbell exercises aren’t good - they are, I did them for 20 years. But dumbbells are easier and offer more flexibility / range of exercises - and arguably are better for cyclists as they allow for a lot of single sided exercises.

For squats and deadlifts, when you do them single sided (eg split squat, single leg deadlifts), dumbbells will get you all the weight you need.

FWIW, if you go down this path, I’d recommend mixing dumbbells and kettlebells, as it allows for a greater range of exercises.

I’ve never been a fan of these. They are more bulky vs a regular dumbbell, and the plates can wiggle about sometimes which is off-putting.

If at the beginning of a strength program, and are looking to ramp up weights while containing the number of pieces of equipment, I can see they are very useful.

Once you reach “steady state” and are in maintenance mode, you don’t need the range of weights.


Lifting heavy meaning what? I was 1.2x for 5x5 bodyweight when lockdown started, but I don’t have any real goals, just increasing strength.

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FWIW - also enjoy dumbbell movements in addition to barbell work.

For iron dumbbells, a potential issue is the standard 5 pound increments can be too much of an increase in one step.

Wife and I added a set of PlateMates to our dumbbell collection and find them very useful. These are overpriced but very effective 1 1/4 pound magnets that you stick to the dumbbell (or to iron plates for barbells) allowing smaller weight increments.

No affiliation, just something others might find useful and wouldn’t obviously know about.

Our fixed weight dumbbell collection goes from 5 to 50 pounds. Collected over time as we needed and not a matched set. Weight is weight.

Anyone have a preference and some reasoning behind preferring dumbbells or kettlebells? At this point I just need something heavy to add to my bodyweight strength training routine. Ideally for as little money as possible. I’m pretty shocked how expensive basic weight equipment is.

For the money and flexibility you cant beat a set of bands.


Beside the obvious - they take up much less space than barbells - I like them mostly for one-sided exercices which come with a few benefits:

  • Core work: When only one side of your body is loaded, you core is actively working to prevent your body from bending over and/or twisting, depending on the movement;
  • Imbalances: One-sided exercices will make sure each side of your body gets the same load. Your stronger side can’t compensate for the weaker one.
  • More technically forgiving: I find dumbbell versions of some movement much easier to perform than their barbell counterpart, technically speaking. The snatch and clean&press are two prime examples.
  • Self-spotting: By keeping a free hand, you can generally go heavy and spot/assist with your none working hand as needed. I particularly like the single-sided dumbbell bench press for that very reason (see also core work above).

On the other hand, I find one-sided exercices don’t quite tax the CNS in the same fashion as heavy barbell movements. I guess this can either be a pro or a con, depending on your goals.

Finally, as for going heavy on a budget - see my recommendation of the sandbag above. It’s a tremendous piece of equipment that can be had for relatively cheap.

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I forgot that I have a set of bands! Or more accurately, I hadn’t considered using them for my Bulgarian split squats and single leg hamstring bridge. Thanks, that’s perfect! At least for now.

thanks for this detailed response! Hopefully soon I can get a sandbag and some other equipment. My plan is to keep looking at craigslist for deals.

I’ve had dumbells around the house for years and rarely touched them. I got a couple kettlebells about 8 weeks ago and can’t keep my hands of them. There’s your answer :wink:

I’m admittedly a recent convert but in my short time with bells, I have come to firmly believe that every human should be doing kettlebell swings a few times a week so even if you’re focusing on dumbbells, still get a kettlebell or two. There are lots of kettlebell exercises but they are worth it just for swings alone

Lastly, in the current Covid/home gym panic, kettlebells are a little easier to find than dumbbells.



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I used an old ikea expanding shower rail with two tyres on balanced each end for a makeshift 20kg over head press, and the same rail with two carwheels for a 30kg squat bar, if I recall correctly. Military press on the kids garden swings.

It was a pain, and through lockdown I eventually sourced a rack, bar and weights. As someone who doesnt really identify with “lifting” its been a surprising source of pride this season.