How Can I Help a Client Get Stronger If They Don't Have Access to More Weights?

by Brooke
(Manchester, NH, USA)

dumbbell art

I'm working with a client who has some weights and home gym equipment. They're ready for more, but limited in adding more equipment, and I can only bring so much with me when I see them in-person. How can I help a client get stronger if they don't have access to more weights?

Epicenter Training Insight

This is a top question amongst new personal trainers. ☝️ We’re taught progressive overload in our certs, but often at a basic level. And more often than not, when we’re training the general population, we need to add a hint of creativity.

Don't get nervous or fear that all is lost if your clients don't have access to heavier weights - this coming from a former, competitive powerlifter! There are plenty of ways to help a client get stronger WITHOUT lifting heavier weights. No matter what: The goal is to ALWAYS put mechanical stress on their muscles.


1. Reps and Sets

Add more reps or sets to increase total volume.

2. Vary the Time Under Tension

  1. Slow down the eccentric/concentric parts of the movements

  2. Speed up the movement to work faster through a particular range of motion with a particular weight

3. Train with Bands

Bands are a great way to increase resistance AND there is more time under tension with bands than weights.

4. Add a Pulse / Half Rep

5. Decrease Rest Time

6. Train the Sticking Points of a Movement


So, whether you don’t have access to weights or the next weight up is just a little too much of a jump, practice one of these other forms of progressive overload that aren’t as common as simply “just add weight."

Yours in fitness,

Laura Mahoney
Co-founder, Epicenter Training

✌️ What’s your favorite way to program out of these options?! Comment below!

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page or ask your own question! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Personal Training Questions.

join our newsletter where we simplify growth for personal trainers

Independent Personal Trainer Near Me

Subscribe for proven business strategies to grow confidently and successfully.