What a pain! Get up; get dressed. Shove your gym clothes in the gym bag. Scrape the ice off the car. Fight the traffic; find a parking spot. Dig out your gym card. Then off to the locker room to change your clothes and cram your stuff into a tiny locker. Wait for a bench. And that’s all before you can start your workout.
Or Get up, grab your shorts, pick up your dumbbells, start your workout.
Which would you prefer? Is there any question? Doing your strength training at home is way more pleasant. But is that really a good option? If you are an Olympic hopeful, probably not. But for everybody else, it can be fantastic. Save time, gas, energy, gym fees, and frustration.
OK–what do you need? For a start, you will only need a little space and maybe a floor mat. A way to watch DVDs or online videos will be helpful, too, as many home workouts are available–often free.
Not far down the pike, however, you will want some equipment. A good place to start is with the light, compact, and effective resistance bands or tubes. Begin with the lightest colors and gradually collect the rainbow–the darker, the stronger the resistance. Hook storage keeps them untangled and quickly accessible.
Eventually, you will also want dumbbells. These come in graduated weights, sometimes sold as sets. As your strength increases, you will need more dumbbells and more space to keep them in.
A highly effective alternative to multiple dumbbell pairs are the Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells or their bigger brothers the Bowflex SelectTech 1090s. One pair of these gives you as many weight options as at least 15 pairs of regular dumbbells. In about 20 seconds with the twist of a dial you can change to any weight. A metal clip moves to pick up exactly what you dialed. Click and go. Most non-professionals will only need this one set for all their weight training for the rest of their lives.
Barbells at home can give you a larger weight range than the SelectTech 1090s, but they take more space and are expensive and dangerous. It is easy to lose control of barbells. Its best to have a spotter at hand to prevent injuries.
You will also generally need an incline/decline bench to use the barbells most safely. It would not hurt to use a bench with dumbbells and bands. You just don’t need it for the smaller equipment.
Some people splurge and get home exercise machines. Sure, consider them if you have a large space and budget. But you better get a home trial option to be sure it fits your space and personality. Such equipment is widely available used–consider this option, too. Remember, there can be serious maintenance costs as well as initial purchase price for such equipment.
You can do strength training at home. A gym may motivate you by having classes or competitors, but look at how easy it is to just do the strength training at home–especially in winter!