If your focus is on strength training and your only means was working out at home (Home Gym), what equipment would you purchase, at what cost and how would it provide assistance for a complete strength training program?
If you want to build a self-sufficient home gym, here are my suggestions:
-Olympic weights (around 200lbs.)
-Bench with barbell rack
-Adjustable weight dumbbells
-Pull up bar
A setup like this is probably the minimum you'd need if you want to be able to get a full body workout and were serious about increasing strength. The equipment I've listed allows you to perform the majority of basic strength training workouts. In addition, you likely won't outgrow it. For example, if you were to purchase resistance bands or set-weight dumbbells, eventually you'd be too strong to get any use out of them.
I recommend looking on craigslist for people selling them locally. Just search up 'olympic' and you should get good search results. If you buy weights in store, you'll often be paying somewhere around $1 per lb. which can add up, but buying them used can save you good money. After all, metal is metal and it's unlikely any used olympic weights you come across will be in an unusable condition. This may not apply to 'home-gym' cable type set ups. All the weights I have at home are second hand (hell, the bench that I have I grabbed off the side of the road as someone was dumping it).
For home gyms, you will be limited by the following:
- Square footage - you need space for all this stuff
- Ceiling height - ceiling height can be a big deal if you want to purchase machines/stations
- Range of your lifting ability - if your roommate lifts considerably less or higher weights than you, you're going to find yourself with a lot more dumbbells. You might also want to consider flooring pads in case you are one of those people that like to drop weights on the ground. Don't want to wreck your floor.
- Personal preference - What exercises would you do at a gym (i.e. Do you like to bench press or do you do push-ups for your chest?)
- Cost - adjustable dumbbells can get pricey (esp. if you lift heavier weights), if your lifting range is narrower, you can get away with fixed dumbbells
We only have an 800 sq. foot apartment so we've got:
- adjustable dumbbells: to work legs, arms, back
- Stamina 1700 Power Tower: to work arms, back, abs
- SPRI resistance bands: to work inner thigh muscles
- yoga mat for stretching (you don't want to stink up your carpet) and well for, yoga!
*We're not heavy lifters. We do push-ups, planks, and run outside as well. If we had room, we'd have an incline bench and stability ball (right now my stability ball is deflated). We don't so I just use a chair (that's straight-back) as a step, for bulgarian split squats, and for arm/back work-outs. I do tricep dips using the bathtub.
I'd say: a barbell (with weights ofcourse), an (adjustable) bench and a squat rack.
This setup offers you a full range of possibility in strength training by allowing you to perform many of the big exercises, like squats, deadlifts and bench presses. You can easily perform dips with your bench, maybe even pull-ups in the rack if it's high enough. With these exercises you perform a excellent full-body work out and you wouldn't really miss out on anything.
It's my opinion that if you'd have to choose, this will give you the best bang for your buck.
If your budget allows it, the Hoist PTS 1000 dual-action smith cage is a versatile and safe way to do most free weight exercises. It takes Olympic size plates and you'll want a bench to go with it.
I like the Bowflex 5.1 bench. Also, a set of the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 dumbbells (the ones that go from 10 to 90 lbs) are a nice way to add dumbbells without taking up a lot of space although they are a little more ackward to use the regular dumbbells.
For some decent quality, but slightly less expensive equipment, check out the Body Solid line (i.e., power rack and free weight equipment).