Newbie looking to setup a basic home gym

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  1. #1
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    Newbie looking to setup a basic home gym

    I'm a high school mid-distance runner looking into weight training. My primary goal is thus not gaining bulk, but strength to improve my times and perhaps my physique. Joining a gym is out of the question due to cost and lack of time to commute regularly. Thus I'd like to have an idea of exactly what to buy for a small home gym. I can't afford to spend too much on weight training equipment, so a little has to go a long way.

    1) I begin my junior year this September - that's just 2 years for college, for the decade-long process that they call medical school. So will my equipment go to waste after these 2 years? I think it unlikely that I'll ship it (I live in Asia) all to college since I'll probably be strapped for space and they'll already have gyms that are free (I hope) and open at 5AM when I do most of my workouts (I hope). Is it worth buying quality equipment and continue their use during or after college, or buy the cheapest used equipment I can find and sell them before college?

    2) I'm looking to buy a set of adjustable dumbells/barbells, plate weights and material and bar lengths unknown. Any recommendations? I'm currently 15, 5'7" and about 56kgs or 125lbs, probably won't be lifting more than 30-50% of my body weight, but that's just a guess.

    3) I've seen bars and weights rusted into pathetic condition due to age - I wouldn't like that happening to any equipment I purchase. A salesperson I talked to about this recommended chrome weights over iron. But that still doesn't explain how the bar can get really rusty, and chrome is quite a bit more expensive.

    4) Curl or straight barbell? Most people I've talked to recommend curl.

    5) I'd like to do incline crunches and situps, but multipurpose benches do not seem to be able to convert to an ab board. Also, most multipurpose benches I've seen for under $100 seem slightly unstablewith narrow seats. I guess it's too little to pay for a quality bench? But it doesn't seem worthwhile paying more since I won't be lifting that much. I've been thinking of a standard flat/incline bench with adjustable uprights and a leg extention - no preacher, pulley or fly (is that what it's called?) attachments. I will not be doing exercises standing up (too much stress in the back, and I'm still a growing boy after all), so no need for a squat rack. For the exercises I have decided on, I have no use for a decline bench, but might I have some significant use for it down the road?

    I appreciate any input I get. Thanks for bothering to read all this.
    Last edited by SlipGun; 06-14-2002 at 02:00 AM.

  2. #2
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    Well, its a tough call, if you can I'd just join a gym for the next two years unless you plan on being in the same place after med school cause it'll cost to much to ship iron. In the long run a gym would probably be cheaper and there's alot more equipment there than what your probably willing to put out.

    As far as what to buy if your going to go that route, I'd just stick with cheap old iron, so what if the plates get a little rusty, nothing a can of spray paint couldn't fix, i've got plates that are over 10 years old that have no rust so I don't think its a problem.
    I'd buy it used if you can find it.

    I'd try to get a "stable" adjustable bench -incline/decline/flat
    and a power rack with a lat bar or pulldown attatchment.
    For weights, iron, straight and curl bar as well as adjustable DB.
    Cool

  3. #3
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    Welcome to IM BTW!!
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    Unfortunately the cheaper all-in-one home units have crappy lat bars, and crappy leg attatchments, but for basic workout you can do squats, and rows, and then use the bench for chest and some alternating curl bicep work if you want.

    If you just want a basic setup then grab some weights and some type of adjustable bench. Weights will cost a ton to ship as said, either dump them off on a friend or drive to your destination if that was possible for you.

  5. #5
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    what is your budget? sports authority has a few stable and relatively cheap benches but they are most of the time in the 100-150 range.. i think a straight bar is more important than a curl bar coach says "we dont use curl bars in here" so i guess thats why.. you said youd only be lifting 50-60% of your body weight so i guess i wont recommend buyin a 300 pound set but i think weights are 30-50 cents a pound

  6. #6
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    How can you gain strength if you're not lifting a lot ??

    Anyway for your goals, get a bench with flat , decline (decline's good, plus u can do ur abs on a decline bench) & incline

    Here's one I found for $100 -



    Then a barbell, adjustable dumbells and of course the weights themselves

    Your probably looking at $150-200 Total if you opt for standard weights (5ft bar & 1" width)

    Olympic Sets cost more, but are IMO better value

    P.S. What country in asia are you from ? Since my cousin who lives der bought some weights and they were CHEAP !!
    Cold as ice !!

  7. #7
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    That looks like alot better bench than the one I got, about 14 years ago (of course). Looksl ike its setup for olympic weights though, I agree they are nicer to work with, if you have the space for a 7' bar.

  8. #8
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    ders a standard bench for $90 -



    Same basic thing though
    Cold as ice !!

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the replies

    If I'm buying a set that will last a few good years, then I could spend up to $200, *possibly* more if it's worthwhile.

    I'll probably go with black iron plates as Scotty recommended.

    Sub-Zero:
    Are multipurpose benches with decline comfortable for crunches/situps? Because it's only the 'adjustable,' not the 'seat' part that declines.

    I'm not sure if it's worthwhile paying extra for olympic. Standard benches don't look large enough for ab work.

    Since you asked where I'm 'from' - technically speaking, I'm from Sri Lanka. But I live in the United Arab Emirates (bordering Saudi Arabia, better known as the country that got trashed by Germany in WC2002).

    On the topic of shipping. Don't they just charge you by unit volume? Weight equipment wouldn't take up a whole lot of space. And since I'd be shipping other stuff along with it, so it doesn't sound like it would be *too* expensive. (shipping to the US)

    btw, I checked with 2 gyms nearest to my house. They're not open at 5 AM . Are college gyms also like that?

  10. #10
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    Could someone outline the differences between 2-, 4- and 6-roller leg extentions? And examples of barbell exercises that are better done with a curl bar and those with a straight bar?
    Last edited by SlipGun; 06-15-2002 at 03:44 AM.

  11. #11
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    The seat itself does move, the bar behind it is just to keep it in place. In fact ab boards are just decline boards without the rack behind it.

    There are 3 sets of rollers to enable you to do leg extentions AND leg curls on the same bench.

    Olympic sets will always be better, since the bar itself is bigger and more tensile (you can get a better grip, & load more weight on the bar without it bendin as much)

    As for shipping, I'm sure there is gym apparatus you can order within the UAE. With goods as big as these, they usually give free shipping or if they do charge around $25 or so. They'll just ship it in a lorry and deliver to your house where you can assemble urself.

    Lastly, I know where UAE is, even been Dubai a few times.
    Cold as ice !!

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by Sub-Zero
    As for shipping, I'm sure there is gym apparatus you can order within the UAE. With goods as big as these, they usually give free shipping or if they do charge around $25 or so. They'll just ship it in a lorry and deliver to your house where you can assemble urself.

    Lastly, I know where UAE is, even been Dubai a few times.
    That last line was quite an eye-opener.

    You misunderstood me about the shipping. I meant shipping it from the UAE to the USA after I'm done with high school here.

    Best Olympic bench I've seen so far is a Kettler (Brit company) with 3 positions for the 'top seat' and 2 for the 'lower seat' on sale for about $273. That's too steep if I'm selling in 2 years.

    How big is the average college dorm room? I doubt if an olympic-sized bench with weights would fit. Plus there would be a gym anyway... but free? And what kind of opening hours do they usually have?

  13. #13
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    What is ur situation ? Are you studyin in UAE for 2 years ? I wouldn't bother shipping weights international TOO MUCH !!
    Cold as ice !!

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Sub-Zero
    What is ur situation ? Are you studyin in UAE for 2 years ? I wouldn't bother shipping weights international TOO MUCH !!
    Like I said before, 2 years of high school here and then college in the US.

  15. #15
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    Question - Why do you have to do ur w/o's at 5am ?
    Cold as ice !!

  16. #16
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    Originally posted by Sub-Zero
    Question - Why do you have to do ur w/o's at 5am ?
    It's a personal preference.

    1) I'm really tired and sluggish after school - in no mood for working out.
    2) Since I'd run/bike as a warmup to lifting, the morning seems more sensible since it's HOT in the afternoon.
    3) I don't have the time to work out twice every day.

    So I've always been exercising in the morning. My workouts begin anywhere from 4-5AM. I've developed a sleep early - wake early principle as a result.
    Last edited by SlipGun; 06-17-2002 at 03:30 AM.

  17. #17
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    I've made up my mind

    I've made up my mind to go the 'cheap' route - decent standard-sized equipment I can use for 2 years and sell off to someone before college.

    I'm in a dilemma about the weights. There're so many combinations for dumbells and barbells. Could someone recommend exactly what to buy for a good 'starter' set I can add on to later or a set that I wouldn't need to upgrade for the next 2 years?

    I was thinking of something along the lines of:
    Dumbells:
    Total 20kg (44lb) with the smallest plates being 0.5kg (1.1lb) each, little or no room for extra plates.
    OR
    Total 30kg (66lb) with the smallest plates being 0.75kg (1.7lb) each.
    OR little or no room for extra plates.
    Total 20kg with a lot of room for extra plates with the smallest plates being 2kg (4.4lb) or so.

    Barbell:
    No idea

    No one answered my question about when to use curl and when to use a straight bar...

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