Home gym - what would you recommend?

Tangled Metal
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Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Home gym - what would you recommend?

Postby Tangled Metal » 16 Nov 2020, 10:02pm

We're moving house and there's a garage there. We are very unlikely to use the garage for cars only bikes, washing machines and chest freezer. It's 20 feet long and pretty soundproofed for neighbours and other family members. So I thought gym.

We have a basic smart trainer which I can set up my old road bike on. Annoyingly my partner only has a 26" wheeled bike which means a bolt loosening to change the trainer for her. I couldn't get it to work smart though think it's tacx model and the model that was a cheap smart trainer but still allowed zwift type apps to be used to control the difficulty. We also have assisted dumbbells and kettle bells but I can't get on with them somehow. Perhaps I just need to find the right exercise. My partner has a weighted hula hoop too. Skipping rope with weighted grips IIRC.

So, what else would you recommend? I used to enjoy going to the gym but stopped my membership because it got too expensive and I needed to cut my expenses. I be really didn't need it back then to keep fit as I did so much. Now a family means I can't do as much for my own fitness. I'm unlikely to go out in winter or bad weather so I need an indoor solution for fitness, CV and health.

Money isn't free for this as we'll have just bought a new house but we want something or a few things that are effective and durable enough to last some time. What would you recommend? I like the concept II rowing machines and have no always liked multi gyms but they're too expensive. I'm thinking we need something for CV exercises, strength training and core strength.

My opinion is a rowung machine if not a concept two something cheaper perhaps that's still good. Must admit the concept two I used to find uncomfortable fairly quickly so perhaps another make. That's for CV and it'll help strength / core strength too. A better selection of free weights and something specifically for core strength perhaps even to improve balance.

What would you recommend? What have you got that's been most useful for fitness? Any advice on kit?

DevonDamo
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Joined: 24 May 2011, 1:42am

Re: Home gym - what would you recommend?

Postby DevonDamo » 16 Nov 2020, 10:20pm

I can't help you with CV or leg-training, because I use my bike/kayak for that. However, for strength training, you need very little. Two spin-lock dumbells, a good-quality adjustable-incline bench, a pull-up thing (proper name is a 'power tower') and a load of metal weights - four each of 1.25, 2.5, 5, 7.5kg, plus 8 lots of 10kg should do it. Having a decent floor surface so you can drop your dumbells helps - I've made a gym area out of old laminate flooring from my house.

With home training, the key is to make it as easy and quick as you possibly can - to maximise the chances you'll drag your backside out there on the days when you're not feeling motivated. For me, the answer to this is a very simple routine (chest press, incline press, dumbell rows, pull-ups, shoulder press, abdominal crunches) 3 times a week. I'm doing 3 sets of 10. I can get through my routine in less than an hour (although if you're in your garage, you'll probably find yourself fiddling with bikes etc. whilst you're resting). This routine would be sneered at by proper gym-rats, who will normally train more frequently, doing different muscle-groups on different days and mixing up high reps with very heavy low-rep sets. I've done that in the past, and it's great, but I'll bet you won't keep it up for more than a couple of years. My routine is incredibly effective because you can keep it up year after year, and keep making gains whilst you do so. That's all that counts - 10 years of consistent training trumps 2 years of hero followed by 8 years of zero.

Tangled Metal
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Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Re: Home gym - what would you recommend?

Postby Tangled Metal » 16 Nov 2020, 10:45pm

The thing about free weights is it you're on your own and over do it you've got a heavy weight over you. I've never really liked heavy reps with free weights.

I think I really should learn more about kettlebells because you use them differently I think! They're a more dynamic type of weights training where you recruit more muscles than just the main lifting muscle groups. Plus you don't really lift them above your head on a bench like dumbbells or barbells.

If money and space was no issue i would get something I know was a freedom trainer that they had in my old gym. It was a pulley based resistance machine with two arms that could be moved up, down, left and right. It had pulleys, cables and grips that allow you to pull up or down or in or out. Basically any direction you want and different for your left and right arms. You can use bench, seat or as I did a balance ball to recruit core muscles too. I used it to simulate kayak strokes. It made for a very concentrated exercise indeed. Only probably costs ten grand I reckon.

Jdsk
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Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Home gym - what would you recommend?

Postby Jdsk » 16 Nov 2020, 10:55pm

DevonDamo wrote:With home training, the key is to make it as easy and quick as you possibly can - to maximise the chances you'll drag your backside out there on the days when you're not feeling motivated.

Yes, the key to effective exercise is keeping it up. And finding equipment etc that encourages that is probably much more important than anything else.

Jonathan

DevonDamo
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Joined: 24 May 2011, 1:42am

Re: Home gym - what would you recommend?

Postby DevonDamo » 16 Nov 2020, 11:15pm

Tangled Metal wrote:The thing about free weights is it you're on your own and over do it you've got a heavy weight over you. I've never really liked heavy reps with free weights.


That's why I use dumbells, not barbells for home training alone. If you can't lift the weight, there's no consequence - you can always drop the bells out to the side. Dumbells also, apparently, develop a wider range of muscles with each lift, because you're having to stabilise them, which you don't have to do with a barbell.

It sounds like you're thinking about more high-tech kit or kettle-bells, which have become the 'fixie bike' of the weight-training world. I can't help you with any of that - over the years, I've trained in some posh gyms and used some of their eye-wateringly expensive kit, but I've always found a simple movement with a barbell or dumbell is the most effective and least-unpleasant way to work your muscles to exhaustion. I suppose one good thing about the high-tech and exotic stuff is that there's always loads of it going cheaply second-hand on Gumtree.

Bonefishblues
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Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Home gym - what would you recommend?

Postby Bonefishblues » 16 Nov 2020, 11:26pm

If rowing, then Water Rower. Much better for the non-Olympian than the C2. Second hand from £450-500 or so and worth the money.

Cowsham
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Joined: 4 Nov 2019, 1:33pm

Re: Home gym - what would you recommend?

Postby Cowsham » 17 Nov 2020, 3:25am

DevonDamo wrote:I can't help you with CV or leg-training, because I use my bike/kayak for that. However, for strength training, you need very little. Two spin-lock dumbells, a good-quality adjustable-incline bench, a pull-up thing (proper name is a 'power tower') and a load of metal weights - four each of 1.25, 2.5, 5, 7.5kg, plus 8 lots of 10kg should do it. Having a decent floor surface so you can drop your dumbells helps - I've made a gym area out of old laminate flooring from my house.

With home training, the key is to make it as easy and quick as you possibly can - to maximise the chances you'll drag your backside out there on the days when you're not feeling motivated. For me, the answer to this is a very simple routine (chest press, incline press, dumbell rows, pull-ups, shoulder press, abdominal crunches) 3 times a week. I'm doing 3 sets of 10. I can get through my routine in less than an hour (although if you're in your garage, you'll probably find yourself fiddling with bikes etc. whilst you're resting). This routine would be sneered at by proper gym-rats, who will normally train more frequently, doing different muscle-groups on different days and mixing up high reps with very heavy low-rep sets. I've done that in the past, and it's great, but I'll bet you won't keep it up for more than a couple of years. My routine is incredibly effective because you can keep it up year after year, and keep making gains whilst you do so. That's all that counts - 10 years of consistent training trumps 2 years of hero followed by 8 years of zero.


Would agree with most of this but would make sure if getting a bench press, that there's something to catch the weight if you get caught under it since there's no one around to lift it off you it could end badly.

I'd avoid multi gyms too cos they simply take up too much room and cheap ones can be a bit ropey ( pardon to pun )

Tangled Metal
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Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Re: Home gym - what would you recommend?

Postby Tangled Metal » 17 Nov 2020, 7:45am

Catch the weight? Are you talking Smith's machines or do you think a barbell stand actually provides much real safety?

As to barbell vs dumbbell for safety, neither offers significant benefits for overhead safety I reckon. It's easy to suddenly lose it with dumbbells and I've heard of people losing it with one and the weight sending their arm across the body dangerously. I've also lifted a weight at the end of a session and felt close to losing it with a barbell. Just because it's never happened you you doesn't make it safe.

Imho if you're working out on your own overhead lifting especially when there's nobody around then I just think traditional free weights aren't the best. Kettlebells might be a trend right now but there's a real benefits for solo training. Not least the dynamic element that uses your body more naturally or with secondary muscle groups being recruited with the main target group.

Free weights are better for focused muscle group exercise imho but if that's your thing then it's more of the weight lifting / body building activity. You're more likely to be doing it in a gym in that case. General fitness and strength conditioning is something that dynamic training techniques I reckon become more important and home training is common.

I've never lifted weights or used equipment for bulk, looks or weightlifting reasons. For me it's about being fitter and stronger for my outdoor activities and healthier in general life. Plus I enjoy the activity. I'd be a member of a gym if they hadn't gone very expensive, shutdown or just too far away. We're close to moving house into somewhere with space to leave fitness equipment set up ready to go. That's half the battle for me, if I have you set kit up, move it out from behind furniture or out of a cupboard then it's demotivating for me. Space for a home gym means I'll do something. Plus it's in the garage, under the house with sound proofing. Nobody to disturb which is impossible right now with a 7 year old and a terraced house.

My only issue is money. I've not got 10k for a good setup. Multi gyms are out on price. Possibly height reasons too. I'm thinking my turbo might need a tuck position set up if there's a height issue. Know any good I mean cheap but comfortable tri bars?

I really am not sure about kit. One possibility, my partner and son would certainly enjoy is a punch bag from the ceiling. In used to do ju Jitsu and you can certainly get a good workout with one. No good for me since I broke my hand as I can't form one hand into a fist.

Any other possibilities or suggestions?

I've been looking at online retailers and there's a whole new line of kit. New to me. It's called functional training. Things like battle ropes, slam balls, sleds, these floor ladder things, etc. Basically things like circuit training or boot camp things I reckon. About strength and fitness through actually doing stuff in a natural way. It's like a hard, manual job will get you strong naturally. These are kind of using movement with weighted kit to exercise muscle groups plus secondary groups too.

Tangled Metal
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Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Re: Home gym - what would you recommend?

Postby Tangled Metal » 17 Nov 2020, 7:50am

Just remembered a book I got decades ago on functional training for outdoor activities. Anything from hiking, backpacking through to rowing, canoeing, kayaking in whitewater and sea. So many activities including golf iirc. It has information on physiology, anatomy, sports science, focused training and exercises including listing ones targeted for each sport or activity. Heavy reading but if you're serious about something then it would make a valuable book to have for planning your training properly.

I modified a few exercise band and other exercises to the freedom resistance machine at my local gym. Perhaps a few exercise bands and the other equipment used as in that book might be worth it.

DevonDamo
Posts: 495
Joined: 24 May 2011, 1:42am

Re: Home gym - what would you recommend?

Postby DevonDamo » 17 Nov 2020, 11:38am

There's more to be said about using dumbbells overhead safely etc. but this thread has deviated from 'request for advice' to 'whose way is better?' As with saddle-choice etc. such threads always produce more heat than light(!) To get the info you're after, it might be more straightforward to throw in some of the specific kit you're thinking of buying and ask if anyone's got experience of it?

Bonefishblues
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Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Home gym - what would you recommend?

Postby Bonefishblues » 17 Nov 2020, 11:50am

Well some of us kept on track :D

pete75
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Re: Home gym - what would you recommend?

Postby pete75 » 17 Nov 2020, 12:54pm

Bought a multi gym recently. It seems at the moment they are in great demand with shops like Decathlon and Argos selling out very quickly due to Covid/lockdowns etc. The one I bought was this https://www.amazon.co.uk/TF-7002-Workou ... B07RQGSZHM secondhand but in almost new condition advertised on Facebook at the , to my mind, remarkably low price of £150. The lady selling advertised on Sunday evening and between me saying I'd buy and collecting at noon the following day she'd have over 40 offers. It seems to be reasonably well made with stuff for exercising most parts of the body though I mainly wanted it for building up leg strength after suffering from the effects of a torn knee cartilage for quite a while. Using it has made a noticeable "going up stairs" difference already.
Most of the weight stack type home gyms seem to be very similar offering the same exercises and some with a few extras like the one I bought which has stepper and vertical knee raise attachments on the side.

Tangled Metal
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Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Re: Home gym - what would you recommend?

Postby Tangled Metal » 17 Nov 2020, 1:05pm

Bonefishblues wrote:If rowing, then Water Rower. Much better for the non-Olympian than the C2. Second hand from £450-500 or so and worth the money.

How well sealed is the water chamber? I take it to have to fill it up with tap water when you get it home. Is it quieter than the magnetic ones?

I like the air ones like C2 D model. You can take the metrics off it and I believe it might connect to apps. I know there's another make does that. You can even link to cycling apps like swift! Would you fancy yourself rowing your way up Ventoux?!!!! :lol:

Whatever the case it would be good to be able to get the data onto Garmin with my other fitness data if at all possible.

Bonefishblues
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Re: Home gym - what would you recommend?

Postby Bonefishblues » 17 Nov 2020, 1:22pm

Tangled Metal wrote:
Bonefishblues wrote:If rowing, then Water Rower. Much better for the non-Olympian than the C2. Second hand from £450-500 or so and worth the money.

How well sealed is the water chamber? I take it to have to fill it up with tap water when you get it home. Is it quieter than the magnetic ones?

I like the air ones like C2 D model. You can take the metrics off it and I believe it might connect to apps. I know there's another make does that. You can even link to cycling apps like swift! Would you fancy yourself rowing your way up Ventoux?!!!! :lol:

Whatever the case it would be good to be able to get the data onto Garmin with my other fitness data if at all possible.

I filled mine up once - in 1995 or so when I bought it, so yes, it's all good in those terms!

It rows with a lovely, well, water-wooshing sound, and feels like proper rowing. Different computers can be retro-fitted to the older models if that's important to you, although I still have the original & very basic one. The one thing that might be present on the air resistance ones is some element of cooling (of you), but I don't know. I put a fan on when I'm rowing, similarly to a turbo trainer and the like.

Tangled Metal
Posts: 7580
Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Re: Home gym - what would you recommend?

Postby Tangled Metal » 17 Nov 2020, 1:25pm

The biggest trouble is actually finding any kit left in stock. Online retailers are now putting a link on they're front page to take you to the items actually in stock. Considering they've got navy categories with up to 100 items in them it's actually crazy that their in stock items don't extend to too a second page, that's less than 24 items!!!