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Home Gym Equipment Advice

c_e_UofU

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Greetings Stylish Ones,

I'm looking to assemble versatile pieces of equipment for home use. Budget isn't a huge concern (not that I'm trying to spend top dollar, either), but space is. I'm hoping to invest a little at a time over the next 6 months. Hoping to do it for under $6K when all is said and done. Beyond the accessories I take to the gym now (belt, gloves), I don't really have much equipment.

Trying to get a versatile rack, cardio equipment, and maybe some adjustable dumbbells (despite some issues I've had with adjustables in the past). I've been scanning FB Marketplace and CL for used plates.

Wondering if anybody has experience with any of the larger purchases I have my eyes on:

https://www.titan.fitness/cages-and-...wer-combo.html
Seems like it's versatile enough. I'm banking on the pulley combo offering enough variety to allow me to change up my routine every few months. It says it doesn't need to be mounted to the floor, but I've heard of stories where equipment came falling down anyways during pull ups. Anybody have one not secured to their floor that cares to weigh in?

https://www.nordictrackpromocodes.com/nordictrack-x11i-incline-trainer-coupons-and-promo-codes/
My wife and I went back and forth over cardio stuff. We talked about getting a stair stepper, rower, or treadmill. Currently considering this one since the incline can go up to 40 which sounds good. Wondering if anybody has experience with incline trainer functions or if we should just stick to a typical treadmill?

https://www.nordictrack.com/strength...b-dumbbell-set
I had a cheap/crappy pair of adjustables that never seemed to work right and just got stuck while trying to switch more often than not. I'm trying a larger name brand one in hopes that I'm not throwing my money away this time. Again, feedback is appreciated.

https://www.roguefitness.com/ab-2-ad...SABEgI0X_D_BwE
Last but not least, I need advice on an adjustable bench. I know I don't want to trust in a crappy/cheap one, but I was amazed at how much Rogue and Titan ones cost (Saw them for $500-850!). Are those worth the money? Or what's a more reasonable amount for a dependable bench?

Thanks in advance.
 

JLibourel

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Well, I've been doing resistance training for about 55 years now, and my wife is an avid fitness buff. Between us, we have accumulated a pretty well stocked home gym set up, no doubt with more than we need these days. I'll just share a few thoughts, if you don't mind getting them from an old-timer.

I really don't think cardio machines are worth the money and space they take up. My wife bought an elliptical machine some years back. She hardly ever uses it these days. I used it quite a bit for awhile, but frankly I find those things boring--like a hamster running in a wheel! A halfway decent set of running shoes will cost a fraction of these devices and take up minuscule space. If running isn't your thing, you can try stair climbing or going up and down hills. You can carry dumbbells or kettlebells for a "farmer's walk''--either on the level or on inclines--to make it a lot tougher. My preferred form of cardio these days is slamming a tire with a sledgehammer. I'll do a hundred slams (25 each, right diagonal, left diagonal, right overhead, left overhead). After each cycle of a hundred, I'll do some swinging with an iron Indian mace. About four or five of these cycles makes a good workout combining cardio and strength work.

What exactly were your problems with the "cheap, crappy" adjustable dumbbells? I did all my resistance training with dumbbells for about 12 years, and never had a problem. The collars were/are held in place with a set screw, either tightened with a hex wrench or an open-end wrench, depending on their design. I don't much like more the more modern design with threaded handles and collars that spin on. They work okay, but you have to tighten the collars after every set. I don't trust collars that have a bar that runs through the retaining screw that you can only finger tighten. I much prefer flat plates to interlocking ones. I can't see the point in getting those Nordic track dumbbells that max out at 55# each if you are even halfway serious about strength building. Unless you old and getting more frail (like me, these days!), you will want to go heavier (maybe much heavier) for squats, bench work and such. I notice you don't mention getting a barbell. If you are not concerned with trying to obtain maximum size and power, I believe a good adjustable dumbbell set will give you everything you need. You may wish to purchase some extra bars collars and plates so that you can leave two or three pairs permanently set up so that you don't have to go to the bother of changing weights during a workout.

You might also consider kettlebells as an alternative to dumbbells or barbells. In the past few years I have become a convert to kettlebells and do most of my resistance work with kettlebells these days. An advantage to kettlebells is that they don't require any ancillary equipment like squat racks or a bench. I like to do my kettlebell training outside in our yard when the weather permits. Their unbalanced weight makes them challenging. Even though I had been doing resistance training for many years, I was surprised how tough a workout a 36-pounder could give me, although I soon advanced to heavier poundages.

Unless you are planning on benching some pretty massive poundages--300# and up, you probably don't need to spend too much on a bench. Personally, I think doing heavy flat bench work without a spotter/training partner is damned dangerous. Incline dumbbell work is far safer and will give you a better looking chest, in my opinion.

I'll mention some other "alternative fitness" tools that I like that don't take up much space. I swing Indian clubs almost every day to limber up at the start of my workout. I have already mentioned the sledgehammer and Indian mace, and I am also partial to medicine balls/slam balls as a change of pace.

Anyway, just one old man's opinions, but I hope this is of some help.
 

Texasmade

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My brother bought a bunch of gym equipment a few years ago to setup in his garage. He got the cage squat rack, mats, bumper plates, bench, and a 45 lb barbell. It was basically like a one man cross fit gym setup. Once he got it all ready to go he barely used it. Now he just goes to LA Fitness or whatever gym membership he has.

Most people have grand ideas about building out a home gym thinking it will save them money in the long run but never end up using it. Mainly because going to the gym takes time so once they are there, they don’t screw around and workout. If you’re at home trying to workout, you’ll lose motivation.
 

c_e_UofU

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Thanks for the feedback guy!.

@JLibourel I agree with you on the cardio. That is for my wife mostly though. She grew up with a treadmill in her parents house and used it all the time. I'm not afraid of it going to waste. And we mix in out door running as much as we can. We just live in Utah where winters are brutal and summers can be too so we like the option to still run somewhere when outdoor conditions are unbearable. I'm just not thrilled about the space it'll take up. And I have been considering kettlebells over dumbbells now that you mention it. I already got the cage and the weights. My wife can spot me for all I do. I don't try and constantly beat my max or anything. And if I did that I'd have a neighbor come over for help with that.

@Texasmade I know most people would be wasting money on a home gym. No argument there. We've been avid gym goers for a long time. We just have gotten sick of the crowds and types of people we've found at our gym (the amount of people there to take photos of themselves by the cage is maddening). I'm not worried about losing motivation at home. So far we've been doing workouts just as long and if anything it's helped regulate meal times a little more by cutting out the 20 minutes we spend getting to and from the gym.
 

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