Advanced Fitness Buffs
In this third and final article in the series of At Home Fitness, we are going to take a look at some more advanced workouts and equipment that you may want put on your goal board or work towards after you have gone through Getting Started with At Home Fitness and Moving Up From Newbie Status in your fitness journey.
If you have been following along from the beginning, you’ll know that nutrition is an import aspect to the results that you are able to achieve with any fitness program. If you aren’t nailing your nutrition on a consistent basis, then you are likely going to fall a little short of the desire results you have for yourself.
At this point in the process, you may be considering supplements. I use supplement myself, but I keep things pretty simple in this area and don’t use anything that you might consider “unnatural” or illegal. I won’t really go into detail about the specific supplements I am using as I have done so in the past and you can review my suggestions/recommendation for supplements here: Supplements for Hardgainers – My Recommendations
For an overview on nutrition and how to get started the right way, check this page out: Nutrition 101 – Start Here
The equipment listed below isn’t a requirement in order to get great results with at home fitness programs, these are merely my suggestions with respect to the equipment that I have used or continue to use in my own journey. Get started with what you have and slowly add to your list as resources become available and your goals change.
Dumbbells – Adjustable or Hex?
In order to get started with resistance training, you will need some form of…well…resistance! This typically comes in the form of dumbbells for most people who workout at home. The question then becomes; what kind of dumbbells are best?
The best question might be; what kind of dumbbells are best for me and my goals?
You really need to think about your future goals and how you plan to implement resistance training in order to ensure that you get yourself the right equipment the first time. Dumbbells in any form, if purchasing new, can be expensive, so you don’t want to invest in something that is going to help you reach those goals and end wasting a lot of your money.
For me, adjustable dumbbells were the way to go, for a couple of reasons.
1. Adjustable dumbbells are the most economical.
When I purchased my Bowflex 1090 dumbbells, I didn’t have anything more that a couple of 10s, 15s and 25s hex dumbbells, so essentially not much. In order to get the entire range of dumbbells that are offered with the 1090s, I would have had to purchase A LOT of dumbbells. Hex dumbbells, typically sell for about a little more than $1/lb, a little less if you can find them used. With all of the different combinations of weights that the 1090s offer, that’s 1700 lb. of hex dumbbells, so you can see they are quite a bit cheaper than iron.
I Want This
2. Adjustable dumbbells have a much smaller footprint.
As someone who was getting into working out from home, I didn’t have a dedicated workout space at that time to fill with an entire rack of dumbbells. The adjustable dumbbells, come in a the form factor of a single dumbbell, so you can keep them in the corner of a room or a closet if needed and move them into your workout area as needed.
If you don’t need the full range that a set of adjustable dumbbells offer, then the standard hex dumbbells will likely suit you just fine! You can find them online or in retail stores just about anywhere as well. One place that you might also look, as I have suggested in the past, is the website Craigslist.org. There always seems to be people willing to get rid of hex dumbbells as a pretty reasonable price. Just be sure to check out the condition that they are in as many end up in garages and covered in rust when not being used. Also compare the prices that they are listed with you can purchase new. If they aren’t selling them at a bargain, I’d either hold out for someone else’s ad or pick up something new.
One piece of equipment that you should definitely consider if you are planning to get started with a resistance training program like Body Beast, is a weight bench. More specifically, an adjustable weight bench that will allow you to raise and lower the bench at varying angles to hit several different exercises and work each muscle group slightly differently.
There are several different brands that offer an adjustable weight bench, so if you favor a particular brand for fitness equipment, there is a good chance they have something in their product line-up. I happen to have the Bowflex 3.1 adjustable bench (shown below) and it was a package deal at the time I purchase my 1090’s, so I didn’t shop around too much. This particular bench as the four standard positions you would expect to find in a bench; flat, incline (45 & 90 degrees) and decline (-10 degrees). If I were to buy another, I would probably go with the 5.1 bench from Bowflex, as it has 6 positions; flat, 3 for incline (45, 60 & 90 degrees), and 1 for decline (-17 degrees). Again, the additional position, just allow you to put focus on the muscle group from a slightly different angle, when needed.
A weight bench isn’t just for resistance training either, I use mine all the time for core workouts!
This next piece of equipment has been the most versatile addition to my equipment list. Don’t get me wrong, you can get a great workout and great results with dumbbells alone. However there are some safety concerns that can occur when you start moving around 90+ pound dumbbells; momentum and weight (dumbbells in this case) can really get you into a dangerous situation and you could end up with an injury. Some, but not all, of that concern is alleviated with a squat rack and accompanying barbell and safety devices.
With a rack like the one pictured below (SML-1), you can lift more weight, in a safer manner. You will also be able to implement some of the more traditional “big lifts” (squat, bench, deadlift) into your routines. This rack is kind of a hybrid of sorts and referred to as a “Squat Stand”, but when you add a bench into the mix, you’ve got yourself a great setup!
I chose a simpler rack for my purposes, but there are some that are really elaborate and include several attachments and additional pieces where you can perform hundreds of exercises. Again, when choosing a rack, make sure you allow for some expansion for both your immediate goals and your future goals.
Olympic Bar / Plates
For the most part, Olympic weight are readily available at your local sporting goods store and will be available from several different brands – almost all of them will be in cast iron or steel form. These are the kind that you are likely most familiar with and have seen in your gym or elsewhere. Some stores, if your are lucky enough, will also have rubber plates also known as “Bumper Plates”. These are made from vulcanized rubber and will be slightly larger than their cast iron/steel counterparts. Both are equally suitable for at home fitness programs, though the latter (Bumper Plates), will typically cost more than the former (cast iron/steel).
Iron is Iron – at the end of the day, if you are just getting started, you can find some great deals locally from those that are parting ways with their Olympic plates through website such as Craigslist.org, which where I found mine. Anytime that you can find a decent looking set of plates for under $1/pound – that’s a great deal and you should move quickly. Keep in mind, there may be some that are in better shape than others, so you are paying a discount for used equipment, but nothing that a little elbow grease and some Rust Oleum paint can fix!
Unless you are dead-set on having new equipment; before you buy new, check online sources for used equipment and you could save enough to add even more equipment.
Once you have accumulated a decent amount weight in plate form, you’ll need something or someplace to store them. If you’ve got the floor-space, you could simply leave them right there, on the floor (in neat stacks, of course…). However, this can be dangerous if your workout space is used for more than just lifting weights. You don’t want to turn an ankle of any of those plates lying on the floor, so it is best to store them properly whenever possible. You shouldn’t “store” your weights on the bar either, over time, this could eventually weaken the bar and lead to more significant issues; like, you guessed it; injury!
Look for something that allows you to store the weight you have, but allow for expansion as well, in the event you pick up more down the road. There are lots of options here, so do some shopping around for what fits within your budget, your space as well as your needs. I’ve got something similar to what is pictured below as well as some storage options on the Rogue Rack I purchased.
Spotter Arms & Straps
If you are working out from home, it is likely that you’ll be doing so alone. While this can be a good thing, it does pose some limits once you start using an Olympic bar and plates. You are lifting some HEAVY weights and safety needs to be addressed. Most, if not all, racks have some form of safety to allow you to drop the weight and avoid killing yourself. Rogue Fitness has a couple of great options, spotter arms and safety straps. Again, these are for your benefit, allowing you to go a bit heavier than you might otherwise without the need of a spotter or fear of dropping the weight on your neck!
Suggested Fitness Programs:
- Body Beast – This has been my “Go To” program for awhile now and it can benefit both men and women!
- Insanity / Insanity MAX:30 – Shaun T. leads these two programs and while they don’t require any equipment, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them to beginners.
- P90X / P90X2 – The classics! These are the programs that are great for those who are ready to move into the next level with their fitness journey.
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Add your comments below to suggest ideas that you might have for nutrition or equipment!
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