building tips and advize
Home Gym Alternative
If you have deep pockets, an alternative to outside facilities is purchasing
equipment and building your own home gym. This can be a very expensive endeavor,
but not impossible.
Your best bet is to visit
local sports equipment stores to see what is available. After
you get over the “price shock” take copious notes
on each piece of equipment that will fit your personal program.
If you can afford the
individual pieces by all means purchase them.
However, for most new bodybuilders
that kind of investment is prohibitive. A good alternative
is to watch for “used” equipment. The possibilities
of obtaining just what you need are very high.
Some of those possibilities
are bodybuilders who have moved on to more sophisticated equipment
or people who thought
they would give bodybuilding
a shot only
to find it just wasn’t for them. Even though we caution people
not to spend money on expensive equipment, there are always those who
jump into any new
Some good places to shop
for used equipment, are bulletin boards at local gyms, local
newspaper classifieds, Thrifty
Nickel and don’t forget yard sales.
Next, we need to take a look
at what equipment is available for the bodybuilder home gym
and the purpose they serve.
Free weights are the simplest and most cost effective pieces
of equipment for the beginning bodybuilder. Free weights
consist of barbells,
weight plates. They are called “free weights” because they have
no cables, pins or pulleys.
Available as normal weights
or Olympic weights, be advised that Olympic weights are generally
much more costly.
The Olympic bar
is also “thicker” at
the ends to accommodate the larger hole present in Olympic weight
Barbells come in all shapes
and sizes. They consist of a bar that is usually 4’ to
7’ in length and can weigh from 20 to 45 pounds. Varying
weights are attached to the ends of the bar. The weights are
attached using collars or sleeves. You can find barbells in
a “fixed collar” design.
This prevents the weights from sliding off the end of the bar,
but they are limiting as the weights cannot be removed. With
adjustable collars you can
add and remove weights to suit your own purposes.
The longer 7’ bar that
is generally referred to as an Olympic bar can hold 500 to
1500 pounds. As mentioned, these are usually more costly. There
are also other Olympic “specialty” bars available
that are designed for specific purposes such as biceps and
The weight plates that fit
the ends of the bar come in standard increments of:
2 1/2 pounds
If you stick with cast iron
weights you are pretty much guaranteed that the weights will
remain constant over
time as opposed
to those that are
encased or other metals that could warp over time.
If planning to go with the “home
gym” sticking with standard weights
is probably best for you. One of the advantages is
that you can find standard weights available as a “package” that
will include your bars, weights and collars. Most standard
weight packages also come with dumbbells.
You will also need to have
a weight bench. There are varying types of benches. You can
types that you
can set for
This is a good buy because by adjusting the incline
or decline, you can
a number of different exercises to work out different
There is no getting around it. When you begin looking
at high end gym equipment, you can pretty much
bet that these are going to cost quite a bit of money.
These are often referred to as “home
This piece of equipment is
multi-purpose and able to serve more than one person at a time.
exercises are ones that can’t be done with
barbells such as leg curls, lat pull downs, leg
extensions, and cable movements.
Some things you need to take
under consideration with this type of equipment is the size.
you have sufficient
They are pretty much stationery and not designed
for portability. Cost is another factor as
well as who
will be using the
machine. If it will
than one individual the cost effectiveness
of such equipment increases if you are weighing
Obvious advantages are that
you and your partner can both use the equipment simultaneously
and there is
having the ability
to train in your own home.
Variable Resistance Machines
What are variable resistance machines? Think
Nautilus® or Bowflex®.
Both are variable resistance machines that provide an alternative to free weight
The primary advantage is
the constant resistance in the range of movement for the muscle
group you are
traditional weight training is that by
working with constant resistance, you
make the muscle
stronger and you do it much faster than
This type of training also
lets you deliver exactly the amount of exercise you
desire to whatever
you are working.
is the benefit of working that resistance
through a greater range of movement
you can reduce your training time.
Variable resistance can be added to
your free weight training routines
and do it
Portability can be another
advantage. These pieces of equipment tend to
take up less
space and many
down in just
one or two
for storage convenience when not
As far as which is better,
free weights or variable resistance, it all
depends on what
be. If you have
budget and your goals, throwing
variable resistance machines into the mix
might be an option.
Regardless of which options
you choose, let me remind you to
There’s a good chance you
can find used equipment that
is just right for your purposes.