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  1. #1
    Registered User DJ1989's Avatar
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    Opinions on only using Free weights

    I am training at home using only free weights and im seeing some huge gains.
    i have a squat rack, bench, easy curl bar, dumbells, and 250kg of weight.

    I know arnold trained for years without using machines and he was huge but is there anything major i might be missing out on?
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    Registered User thedickus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DJ1989 View Post
    I am training at home using only free weights and im seeing some huge gains.
    i have a squat rack, bench, easy curl bar, dumbells, and 250kg of weight.

    I know arnold trained for years without using machines and he was huge but is there anything major i might be missing out on?
    You can go as far as your knowledge and imagination will take you with that setup.
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  3. #3
    Registered User DJ1989's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by thedickus View Post
    You can go as far as your knowledge and imagination will take you with that setup.
    ok thanks.
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    Registered User rlundregan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by thedickus View Post
    You can go as far as your knowledge and imagination will take you with that setup.
    This /\/\ ........you can pretty much /thread right here.
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    Steve Reeves is one of my favs and is a good example of what can be achieved with a simple barbell.....and stellar Godly genetics of course.
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    Registered User rpark's Avatar
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    Take a look at the Arnold Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding, most of it's based on his workouts in the 70's, you can do quite a variety with free weights.
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    Nothing To See Here cgc's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rpark View Post
    Take a look at the Arnold Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding, most of it's based on his workouts in the 70's, you can do quite a variety with free weights.
    Thats a great book. I still pick it up and read it from time to time (have to skip the pages the dog chewed up....stupid dog)

    OP. keep in mind, most machines are based off of free weight movements. Yeah, you have some specialized movements...but over all, most are based off of FW movements.
    "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard"

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    Registered User thedickus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rpark View Post
    Take a look at the Arnold Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding, most of it's based on his workouts in the 70's, you can do quite a variety with free weights.
    Agreed! Excellent book detailing many free weight exercises and should be in any bodybuilders library. I wouldn't necessarily recommend following Arnold's 6 day a week high volume double split where every body part gets trained three days a week though LOL
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    Nothing To See Here cgc's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by thedickus View Post
    Agreed! Excellent book detailing many free weight exercises and should be in any bodybuilders library. I wouldn't necessarily recommend following Arnold's 6 day a week high volume double split where every body part gets trained three days a week though LOL
    I think you have to use your head a bit with his routines. I know teens look at professional BBer's and think they have to (or can) do the same thing. Thats why I think SS is probably one of the best books for building routines. I would never use such a massive routines as any pro BBer uses.
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    That is a preferable setup. If the only way a movement can be performed is on a special machine designed for it, you might question just how practical that movement would be. And if not, and I have a choice between a free-weight movement and a machine, why would I choose the inferior movement? In nice commercial gyms, the answer is usually just because you can and it takes less work to set up. At home, the simplicity of a good barbell setup will keep you on "the path"
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  11. #11
    Bootless Errand ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DJ1989 View Post
    I am training at home using only free weights and im seeing some huge gains.
    i have a squat rack, bench, easy curl bar, dumbells, and 250kg of weight.

    I know arnold trained for years without using machines and he was huge but is there anything major i might be missing out on?
    Not sure that Arnold's (or any other highly-genetically-gifted and "assisted" Pro bodybuilder) results/training methods are completely relevant to natty 'average joes.'



    Free weights will always form the basis of any serious bodybuilder's training, but once you get past beginner stage, you'll eventually come to a point where you're going to require more and different options in order to continue to progress. All of the successful contemporary bodybuilders (natty and assisted) use a mix of free weight and machine training. It's logical to assume then that what works for the vast majority will also be the best path for you as well.
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  12. #12
    Registered User thedickus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cgc View Post
    I think you have to use your head a bit with his routines. I know teens look at professional BBer's and think they have to (or can) do the same thing. Thats why I think SS is probably one of the best books for building routines. I would never use such a massive routines as any pro BBer uses.
    I don't know how they did it back in Arnold's day, with what would be considered small dosages compared to today's bodybuilders, their training volume was insane. Ric Drasin has some real cool videos on youtube (search Ric's Corner). There's a lot of stories and interviews with 60s and 70s era bodybuilders. Ric talks about working all day once as a hod carrier for Franco Columbo, who was a brick layer at the time, then going to the gym and doing a full 2 hour workout. Apparently Franco did this daily and was still one of the strongest guys out there pound for pound.
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  13. #13
    Registered User rpark's Avatar
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    Agree with all the above about the actual routines, very select few should consider his workout programs, but the encyclopedia is a good start to see different free weight exercises. I originally read it about 25 years ago.
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  14. #14
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    What kind of goals do you have? You can achieve an impressive physique with freeweights. Many cable machine movements have freeweight substitutes, or in the worst case you can use bands.

    Cable tricep pulldowns are inferior the freeweight lying tricep extension. Cable crossovers are often done with such low weights that bands seem close enough.
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    Registered User DJ1989's Avatar
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    my goals are to be cut at 105. im currently 100kg
    i want a bigger chest with the v shape back of course.
    i do alot of dumbell rows, barbell rows, goodmorning, deadlifts.
    Benchs, flys, squats. not going into shoulders ect.

    i guess whats playing on my mind is how long i continue this sort of regimen before i need to start going to the gym. my legs are starting to get left behind already. haha
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    Originally Posted by DJ1989 View Post
    my legs are starting to get left behind already. haha
    Squat more and heavier. Make sure you are hitting depth with proper form. Stiff Leg Deadlifts, Romanian Deadlifts, Good Mornings, and the Poor Man's GHR (or Nordic Leg Curl) are all good accessory moves for your legs without machines.
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    Registered User DJ1989's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cmarti063 View Post
    Squat more and heavier. Make sure you are hitting depth with proper form. Stiff Leg Deadlifts, Romanian Deadlifts, Good Mornings, and the Poor Man's GHR (or Nordic Leg Curl) are all good accessory moves for your legs without machines.
    okay thanks. thats noted my next leg day thanks.
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    Originally Posted by thedickus View Post
    I don't know how they did it back in Arnold's day, with what would be considered small dosages compared to today's bodybuilders, their training volume was insane. Ric Drasin has some real cool videos on youtube (search Ric's Corner). There's a lot of stories and interviews with 60s and 70s era bodybuilders. Ric talks about working all day once as a hod carrier for Franco Columbo, who was a brick layer at the time, then going to the gym and doing a full 2 hour workout. Apparently Franco did this daily and was still one of the strongest guys out there pound for pound.
    One way they did it was with none of what we would call cardio. You would kill yourself on five heavy sets of something then cut the weight in half and do five or as many as ten high rep sets of the same thing. This type of workout would give you the same thing as today's heavy quick workout and half an hour of cardio. Of course to todays lifter that type of workout looks huge and massive because now we don't count our calorie burning cardio as par of the lifting session.
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    Originally Posted by DJ1989 View Post
    my goals are to be cut at 105. im currently 100kg
    i want a bigger chest with the v shape back of course.
    i do alot of dumbell rows, barbell rows, goodmorning, deadlifts.
    Benchs, flys, squats. not going into shoulders ect.

    i guess whats playing on my mind is how long i continue this sort of regimen before i need to start going to the gym. my legs are starting to get left behind already. haha
    Well you're already a big dude. What are your lifts? 3-5 rep max of deadlift, squat, bench, overhead press, row, etc?

    Strength wise you should aim for 2.5xBW deadlift, 2xBW squat, 1.5xBW bench, 1xBW overhead press. Then you do bodybuilding routines of 8-12 reps with ~60% of your max to build mass. With good form, you should be proportional, legs shouldn't lag behind. You may be doing more volume on upper body than lower body.

    What do you plan to do in the gym? Leg press? You can sorta substitute it with a trap bar and raised platform.

    The squat does get annoying in terms of technique. You might be doing more of a good morning than a squat, then your legs may lag. Should also master front squat. Can't good morning that one.
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    just been to my physio and apparently I torn my right ACL due to poor form.
    2 weeks without any leg training at all.

    I can dead lift 150kg 3 reps
    bench 85 3 reps
    squat I dont know because I have always been worried about an injury and now I have done my knee do a set of 25 reps of 60 and I was only warming up.

    I have only been training 2 months. I have gained 12kg.ttraining for 2-3 hrs a day.
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    Gandalf of the Gym cmarti063's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DJ1989 View Post
    just been to my physio and apparently I torn my right ACL due to poor form.
    2 weeks without any leg training at all.

    I can dead lift 150kg 3 reps
    bench 85 3 reps
    squat I dont know because I have always been worried about an injury and now I have done my knee do a set of 25 reps of 60 and I was only warming up.

    I have only been training 2 months. I have gained 12kg.ttraining for 2-3 hrs a day.
    Pick up a copy of Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. This book will treach you everything you need to know about the squat (and the other 4 big lifts as well). I can promise this will fix your technique, give you confidence in your squat, and add plates to the bar week after week. In fact, this book its my most recommended piece of gym equipment (lol).
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    Registered User Detrus's Avatar
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    Yes, Starting Strength and many youtube vids are very helpful with form. But I still managed to have wrong form for years despite re-reading and re-watching. And injured my knee by missing a minor squat detail. You have to open your crotch as far as it can go when you squat down. I thought maybe just a little, hard to tell from pics and vids for a novice. I think Starting Strength suffers from a tl;dr problem, too much information for a novice. Hard to tell what is important. Also the low bar squat described in Starting Strength requires a certain amount of shoulder mobility to sit in your back properly and of 4 people I tried to show it to, none could do it.

    But nothing like a serious injury to make you care about form.

    You're still novice/intermediate according to those numbers and you could add 40+ KGs to your lifts before you'll really need any assistance moves from cable or lever machines.
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    Registered User DJ1989's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Detrus View Post
    Yes, Starting Strength and many youtube vids are very helpful with form. But I still managed to have wrong form for years despite re-reading and re-watching. And injured my knee by missing a minor squat detail. You have to open your crotch as far as it can go when you squat down. I thought maybe just a little, hard to tell from pics and vids for a novice. I think Starting Strength suffers from a tl;dr problem, too much information for a novice. Hard to tell what is important. Also the low bar squat described in Starting Strength requires a certain amount of shoulder mobility to sit in your back properly and of 4 people I tried to show it to, none could do it.

    But nothing like a serious injury to make you care about form.

    You're still novice/intermediate according to those numbers and you could add 40+ KGs to your lifts before you'll really need any assistance moves from cable or lever machines.
    yeah ill be very paranoid about form now!! ill make sure my knees are far enough apart because that's what caused the acl damage.

    thanks everybody for your input, ill be doing alot of study on the squat before i start doing them again..
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    Gandalf of the Gym cmarti063's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DJ1989 View Post
    yeah ill be very paranoid about form now!! ill make sure my knees are far enough apart because that's what caused the acl damage.

    thanks everybody for your input, ill be doing alot of study on the squat before i start doing them again..
    It isn't so much that your knees are far apart (your feet should be shoulder width), it is that they track over your toes, which should be angled out at about 30 deg. each (total of 60 deg), so that your knees move out the lower you get. As far as the low bar goes, Olympic style is better if you lack shoulder mobility (Rip says this in more than one book) but you can always grip wider if you want to low-bar squat with poor shoulder mobility (this is what I do).
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    Originally Posted by cmarti063 View Post
    Pick up a copy of Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. This book will treach you everything you need to know about the squat (and the other 4 big lifts as well). I can promise this will fix your technique, give you confidence in your squat, and add plates to the bar week after week. In fact, this book its my most recommended piece of gym equipment (lol).
    While there is much of value in SS, I would advise the beginner to take care and be ready to adapt what Rippetoe says to their own body. I have known more than one person injured by trying to follow the form guidelines in SS too closely.
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    Originally Posted by ichthis View Post
    While there is much of value in SS, I would advise the beginner to take care and be ready to adapt what Rippetoe says to their own body. I have known more than one person injured by trying to follow the form guidelines in SS too closely.
    +1. For example, don't get too caught up in trying to learn low bar squat if it doesn't feel right for you. I tried it for awhile but it never felt natural for me, and since I have a long torso, it tended to turn into a good morning when it got heavy. The most important thing is that you're squatting regularly, it doesn't really matter that much which squat variant you're doing, unless you're lifting competitively or something.

    Also, some of the techniques in his books is different from what he recommends now (e.g., strict press vs press 2.0). Be sure to read other sources, watch form videos and most importantly, figure out what works best for you.
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    Originally Posted by judgecrandall View Post
    +1. For example, don't get too caught up in trying to learn low bar squat if it doesn't feel right for you. I tried it for awhile but it never felt natural for me, and since I have a long torso, it tended to turn into a good morning when it got heavy. The most important thing is that you're squatting regularly, it doesn't really matter that much which squat variant you're doing, unless you're lifting competitively or something.

    Also, some of the techniques in his books is different from what he recommends now (e.g., strict press vs press 2.0). Be sure to read other sources, watch form videos and most importantly, figure out what works best for you.
    thanks for the info, ill keep all this in mind once my acl is back up and working.
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    Originally Posted by DJ1989 View Post
    thanks for the info, ill keep all this in mind once my acl is back up and working.
    FYI Rip is -missing- an ACL and still pulls in the low 500s
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    thought i would follow up on this thread.
    i went to the physio weekly for a month for some treatment and advice as he was also a lifter.
    my recovery plan consisted of of lunges. leg extensions. leg press. hamstring curls. and that went for about 4 weeks.
    the injury is completely healed now and im up to 100kg squats and im pretty happy with that.
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    I'm glad to hear that it's working out, keep up with it. I also recommend Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe as a good book for you.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do, than by the ones you did" Mark Twain

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