Home Gym
Home Gym

You don't actually have to buy a "Home Gym", although you certainly could. However, these are not cheap. The most common type of machines, such as home gyms, (sold practically everywhere), that rely on cables and pulleys to move a weight stack up and down, are excellent. The Total Gym and the Bowflex are really just variations on this same concept, using body weight and flexible "resistance rods", respectively, in place of a weight stack. All machines have one good point in common, they allow you to lift with a higher degree of stability and safety, due to the fact that they keep the weight moving in the proper plane and basically keep you in good form, allowing you to focus on, and really emphasise the muscle you are working.

Ironically, the drawback is that they keep the weight moving in the proper plane and basically keep you in good form. With free weights you must move the weight properly on your own, using other muscles to stabilize and assist the body parts that are working directly, similar to the way your body works in everyday situations.

In my my opinion well known, established fitness systems such as the Total Gym and the Bowflex are very good, but if possible should be used in conjunction with free weights.

The most important thing above all else is consistency! We can discuss the pros and cons of all the little details in the world, but actually lifting regularly with good form and consistency will provide good results, no matter if you have the best equipment in the world, or some cheap second hand stuff. With all of this in mind, I believe that you would be best served by purchasing a few basic pieces of equipment, such as;

Weight Bench

My Bench

You can find surprisingly good and inexpensive weight benches at department stores, and/or sporting goods stores. Look for a sturdy bench that will support a barbell at various heights. The back of the bench should be adjustable to at least 1 or 2 angles of incline, (a declined angle is nice, but not imperative). A leg development attachment is very important, and highly recommended. Other optional attachments are a pull down tower, preacher curl pad, and a butterfly attachment.


My Dumbbells

Start off with a 110 or 160 lb. barbell set, comprised of steel weights, not plastic covered concrete. Concrete weights break and crumble, and most importantly, they take up too much room on the bar, which is important when your strength goes up! You can easily add more steel plates and another straight bar to your set as needed, and if you follow my guidelines, you will need more weight. Most weight sets also come with dumbbell handles, which will come in very "handy", (sorry). You might also consider purchasing an E-Z curl bar, which I like to use for biceps work (curls), triceps work (french presses and overhead extensions), and shoulder work (upright rows).

Dumbbell extensions

Spinning Dumbbell

  • You might want some weightlifting gloves to reinforce your grip. Those bars can get a little slippery with sweat.
    Weightlifting Gloves

  • Some people use weightlifting belts, others think that if you utilize Proper Form , then you will be fine and the added support of a weightlifting belt could actually be counter-productive. Personally I think if you are at all prone to back pain or injuries, you should utilize a belt especially on moves such as Squats and Dead Lifts.
    Weightlifting Belt Plus!

  • Weightlifting hooks are useful when performing movements such as Dead Lifts, or when holding a heavy barbell and doing calf raises. Often times during such exercises, the forearm grip will give out before the targeted muscle does, which is very counterproductive. Hooks allow the weight to be held and the exercise to be taken all the way to completion.
    Weightlifting Hooks

  • Spring Exercisers are often sold as "Chest Expanders" or "Chest Developers", but that is misleading as the movement and resistance using this piece of equipment targets the upper back and rear deltoids.
    Spring Exerciser

  • An inclined sit-up board for abdominal work is nice, and it can also be used as a declined bench for dumbbell work.
    Inclined Board

  • An exercise mat can help protect your back and tailbone when doing crunches on the floor.
    Exercise Mat

  • Ankle weights come in handy for light-weight leg work and are available virtually anywhere.
    Ankle Weights

  • A pair of spring loaded, plastic handled hand-grips are good for working on your grip strength. There are also small rubber balls made for this same purpose.

  • On the Aerobic side of the home gym, you might want to get a treadmill, but that does not mean that you need to spend $1000.00 in doing so. I believe that a non-motorized treadmill will benefit you more than the motorized variety, because you use your own power, and that equals burning calories! It also equals a lot less cost!

  • On the other end of the cost spectrum, you can get a good jump-rope for less than $10.00, and you might be surprised at the cardiovascular benefits that a jump-rope will provide.
    Jump Rope

A buncha stuff

All of this, not counting the treadmill, can be purchased for less than the price of a home gym, and average deparment stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Sears or K-Mart probably can supply it all. (This is not an endorsement, just information.).

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Workouts That Work

September 11, 2001