Strength Training At Home: What You Need And What You Don't

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Ugh! Get up. Get dressed. Gather the gym clothes, find the gym bag. Scrape the ice off the car. Fight the traffic; find a parking spot. Find your gym card. Trudge to the locker room, change clothes, and cram your stuff into that tiny locker. Wait for a bench. And that's all before you can start your workout.

Or you can get up, grab your shorts, pick up your dumbbells, start your workout.

Which would you prefer? Is there any question? Doing your strength training at home is way more pleasant. But is that really a good option? Probably not for a professional athlete. For the rest of us, it can be fantastic. strength training at home saves you time, gas, energy, gym fees, and frustration.

OK--what do I need? Some space where you can swing a cat. For a start, you will only need a little space and maybe a floor mat. A way to watch DVDs or online videos will be helpful, too, as many home workouts are available--often free.

Not far down the pike, however, you will want some equipment. Resistance bands/tubes are light, compact, and effective. You begin with the lightest colors and gradually acquire the darker, the stronger resistance bands as you need them. Some hooks can keep them untangled and quickly accessible.

Most likely, you will also want dumbbells, which come in graduated weights, and are sometimes sold as sets. You will need an increasing number of these and ever more space to keep them in.

Much more convenient than multiple dumbbell pairs are the Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells or the bigger Bowflex SelectTech 1090s. One pair of these replaces at least 15 pairs of regular dumbbells--saving both space and annoyance. In about 20 seconds with the twist of a dial you can change to any weight. A metal clip moves to pick up exactly what you dialed. Most non-professionals will only need this one set for all their weight training for the rest of their lives.

Barbells at home can give you much more weight than even the SelectTech 1090s--at a cost in money, space, and potential danger. It is easy to lose control of barbells. You need a spotter to prevent injury, and you are more likely to have one available at a gym than at home.

An incline/decline bench is required to use the barbells most safely. Of course, you can use the dumbbells and bands on a bench, too. You just don't need it for the smaller equipment.

Some people splurge and get home exercise machines. Sure, consider them if you have a large space and budget. But you better get a home trial option to be sure it fits your space and personality. They are also widely available used from people who got them before being sure they would use them. Remember, there can be serious maintenance costs as well as initial purchase price for such equipment.

You can do strength training at home. A gym may have more equipment, more camaraderie, more expert advice, and more motivating competition, but strength training at home is a lot more convenient, and counting gym fees, over time a lot less expensive.