I am considering making a move to workouts at home. Would
you have any suggestions on weight training equipment? I want
to do this with a minimal investment, but be able to do full
workouts without having to go to the gym. Any help would be appreciated.
I recommend starting with free weights. They are economical
and very versatile. Admittedly exercises may feel a bit wobbly
the first few workouts if you are accustomed to machines. After
a short time you will feel more in control during the execution
of free weight exercises.
I would suggest purchasing an adjustable flat to incline bench
and dumbbells. Consider hex dumbbells with a dumbbell rack. If
space is an issue look at Powerblocks, Quick Dumbells, Hoist
Quik-Change Dumbbells, or BowFlex SelectTech Dumbbells. If your
budget is a factor you can purchase a standard size spin lock
dumbbell set. If you get hex dumbbells instead of plate loaded
dumbbells, purchase a set of 3, 5, 8, 12, 15, and every 5 lb.
increment beyond that until you have enough weight to perform
your heaviest exercise. Some specialty fitness stores sell 1.25
lb (0.5) kg magnets (PlateMate) to be placed at the ends of metal
dumbbells. This can make it much easier to graduate to the next
weight after you have performed 12 reps.
Only after you have proven to yourself to stick to a home
based program, expand your equipment to barbells. Decide to purchase
an Olympic size barbell set (2" diameter) or a standard
size barbell set (1" diameter). A 7' Olympic bar (45 lbs)
is most common, but lighter 6' and 5' bars are also manufactured.
In addition, purchase an EZ curl bar for lighter arm work.
A power rack or cage (half or full) can be convenient and
versatile, particularly with an Olympic size barbell set. You
can even purchase a rack that has a cable pulley (high and low)
assembly built onto it. Cable attachments may include: lat bar,
straight bar, curl bar, multi-exercise bar, stirrup handles,
and ankle straps. Ankle straps without a buckle are more durable.
If the budget permits, you can even find a free weight rack that
has a smith machine combined. Finally, if you don't mind spending
more, consider a Sled 45° Leg Press / Hack Squat Machine.
If you would rather purchase a machine, Consumer Reports Magazine
(March 2001 issue) recommends Hoist Multi-Gym H210 ($1700). Body
Solid Multi-Station EXM 1500S ($700) follows and was rated a
CR Best Buy. Interestingly, Bowflex Power Pro XTL ($1400) was
number 5 and Soloflex Muscle Machine ($1,195) was number 6.
Pictured: HF-985A Half Cage Ensemble. Image used with permission