What Weight Lifting Equipment Should I Get Without Causing a Divorce?
Oh no…not weight lifting equipment.
Just picture yourself having to haul in a half ton of weights, machines, and medicine balls.
You know your spouse will kill you. It will become a cluttered mess, pets will use it a soil refuge, and children will build forts around it.
Take a deep rational breath and realize your weight training equipment won’t be that bad.
Relax because you don’t need a lot. We are going to go through some of the options you have. It might not fit all of your needs depending on what fitness program you choose, but it should come in handy when making these critical health choices that will impact the rest of your life.
Some Gym Shoes and a Little Sir Isaac Newton
Many athletes have trained through the years without ever using weights. Instead they use their own body force and gravity to build strength and endurance.
Some of the most synergistic exercises don’t have to use weights like push-ups, squats, lunges, and chair dips. This could easily be done in a prison cell if needed.
All I recommend is a soft ground, maybe a mat if needed, and some comfortable shoes.
The Gym: A Torture Chamber with Pretty Colors
The easiest option for some of you may just be getting a gym membership at a place like Gold’s Gym, Bally, Lifetime Fitness, CrossFit, or 24 Hour Fitness. The one challenge with gyms that use strength training equipment is that their stationary machines aren’t made for the exact dimensions of everyone’s body. That can cause potential injury for your arms, legs, or any area where you have joints. (A lot of places that exists on your body)
The gym can be motivating for multiple reasons:
- Comparing yourself to others in a physical sense
- Comparing yourself to others by pounds lifted, reps, speed, or time
- Seeing someone of the opposite sex that attracts you (for single people or if you are fresh out of a relationship because of too much fitness equipment)
While there are a lot of reasons to argue against the purity of these reasons, it can still be helpful if it gets your butt off the couch and working out more often.
What if the Gym Isn’t for Me?
I know for some of you, the gym may be a bit too much and you would rather buy weight lifting equipment. Not only can it be overbearing, but you might not find it very comfortable working out in public. I get it.
I have been working out for years and not only can you find the crowd annoying, but it also can feel like you are lining up at the DMV just to get a shot to use the equipment. You could build enough stress that the cortisol in your body could cause you to gain weight just being at the gym.
If you want to work out from home you can exercise all of your muscle groups with something as simple as dumbbell sets or bands. If your spouse loves you or there is no significant other in your life, then feel free to dive into the deep end. You can go get a rack with multiple weights ranging from 0-55 pounds.
You may need more weights for leg exercises. If so, that will require you to go as high as 100 pounds (or maybe more if you are a monster).
A weight rack with dumbbells can be rather expensive and cumbersome. It can take up what seems like half a room. If you move a lot, then it can even be more of a pain in the butt, unless you like counting moving as your workout.
Weight Lifting Equipment Options
Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells
To save on space, time, and cost I personally use the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells. This is the bee’s knees or some of the best home gym equipment out there. This is because it allows for you to save an immense amount of space at your home workout gym so you can put in other more important stuff like Rock Band and Wii.
Instead of using a rack with loads of weights, the Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells are two handle grips that place into a base with adjustable plates on the end of the grip. You can very easily adjust the knobs at the end of the Bowflex dumbbells to change the weight from 5 pounds to over 50 pounds on each dumbbell. As long as you can count in English this should not be rocket science.
You can work multiple large and small muscle groups at the same time with these weights. In fact, you can get in a full workout, including legs and calves.
For some of you, your legs are like tree stumps and will require more weight. Bowflex was smarty-pants enough to make an advanced version for bodybuilders or the genetically gifted. I give you the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells.
The 1090 dumbbells go up to 90 pounds for each dumbbell. This is probably more suited for males or hardcore female fitness wonks. Males will get more out of their deadlifts and lunges with the Bowflex Dumbbells 1090. Depending on how big you want to get, it will also have a major impact on your chest and other upper body areas.
If you are new to the fitness thing or getting back into it, just stick with the Bowflex Dumbbells 552. Both set of dumbbells come with the Bowflex SelectTech 2-in-1 Stand. I personally think anyone can do what they need with just the 552 Dumbbells and the stand is optional. Either way this is some of the best weight lifting equipment you can get.
As a reminder, you can get large without more weight. If you have deliberate movements and eat plenty of the right foods like protein, fats, and vegetables then you won’t need to start heaving weights into the air. Another plus is that with more weight, there is a higher risk of bad form. Bad form only leads to pain and injury.
Bowflex Ultimate Home Gym
For a larger variety you may want to get home gym equipment with a cable-pulley machine and a squat rack. The one I personally use is the Bowflex Ultimate 2 Home Gym. It is one of the best home weight lifting equipment option out there.
The home gym includes 310 pounds of power rod resistance that gives you a similar experience to dumbbells and plates, but without some of the inertia or risk of joint pain usually associated with free weights.
The home gym also comes with a no-change cable pulley system that lets you shift from many compound exercises that address squats to lats to quads and calves without changing cables. That is key if you are trying to go for more speed and power, or shorter intervals between sets. There are multiple cables and pulley positions or angles of resistance to work on muscle building.
The fun doesn’t end there. (Do you feel like this is an infomercial? I am looking for the clicking clock that says I have 30 seconds to sign up to get the discount.) The Bowflex Home Gym has a preacher curl attachment and leg extension equipment. There is an integrated squat station that helps you work your legs without having to go out and buy a squat rack. There is also a leg press belt to keep your good posture during these leg exercises.
There is a vertical bench press to work your chest and biceps. You can also get a core workout in with an abdominal crunch shoulder harness and even cardio with a built-in rowing machine. I don’t know if it comes with a built-in vacuum to help make your spouse happy, but you never know.
Just like the SelectTech Dumbbells, the Bowflex Home Gym is easier to move and store compared to a lot of the equipment on the market you would have to buy individually. The home gym has a folding unit to compact the gym to 44 by 46 inches which makes it nice and easy to move. And it might cause your spouse to kiss you.
For a long time I worked out at a home gym with all the different types of equipment such as a squat rack, a cable-pulley machine, a bench press, and a rack of weights. I have also used the Bowflex Home Gym quite a bit. I mention this because I can say I have lived in both worlds.
My feeling that the Bowflex Home Gym, while expensive, is totally worth it and will save you money over years of using it instead of getting a membership at a gym. You can get in all of the compound movements you are driving for.
Yes it is a machine, so even with adjustments for your height and weight; it won’t be perfect for your body size. So be aware that it could impact joints and connective tissue. If so, a gym membership with free weights or a training program might be a better route.
I will say this about the Bowflex Home Gym, think of it like buying a car instead of leasing one. If you intend to use it for a while, then it makes a lot more financial sense. It will pay itself off in 4-8 years over having a gym membership and maybe sooner depending on which gym you go to. That might not sound ideal, but if privacy and ease of use is important to you, then you should purchase the Bowflex Ultimate Home Gym or get DVDs for a training program.
There are several other potential items you could purchase. Most of these you can get at a local sporting goods store:
- Gymnastics rings or blast straps
- Exercise ball
- Pull-up bar
A good place online where I tend to buy this equipment is Beachbody. With all of these you will have to test out variations on the length, weight, or size. A big warning! Save your receipts because you might realize you have to take your stuff back to replace it with more appropriate equipment for your body and current strength.
Just so you know, I am not doing any affiliates here with these recommendations. I am recommending them because I have used them and have seen results. That is it. Think of it like the good neighbor that gives you the advice of where to go buy that fitness equipment.
Saving Your Relationship
Now that I have helped to prevent you from sleeping on the couch or getting that grumpy look from the significant other, enjoy your workout. You should never feel embarrassed about getting in shape.
While it is nice to be efficient with equipment, we should never hesitate to look and feel great. Be around people that support you getting in shape. Countless dollars are spent on televisions, computers, and other devices that take up a ton of space and only promote us being lazier.
Take pride in your workout and block out the world if you can. Exercise is “me time”. Enjoy it.
There are a lot of questions and myths about weight training. It can seem really daunting to the point where it feels like you shouldn’t bother. In the next post, we hope to squash those rumors.