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Home Gym

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I really hate going to the gym, because I like downtime between school, work, and gym. The gym is a 15 minute drive from home, and being brought up in a city, that is very annoying.

I'm buying/building some stuff for my home gym.

Local sporting goods store has a 300lb weight set with a 45lb bar for 100 bucks. Its probably cheesy, but I'm not looking for it to last a lifetime.

I already have a decent exercise bike that I use 5 times a week.

I really want:
-A squat rack. I want one of the "power" type racks so I can lift alone without killing myself. They are kind of pricey, I was considering building my own but steel is really pricey right now and it'd probably cost just as much or more. The basic ones seem to be about 200 bucks. They have chin-up bars.
-A bench of some sort. I'm thinking I want one with the hamstring curl bar on the end. If its adjustable for incline, that would be cool too. i'm not sure how important that is.
-One of those cool machines with the overhead/floor cables. Its like a big truss where you can set the pulleys up to pull the cable from the floor, top center, or side. So you can put a pulldown bar on it, and also do fancy leg exercises. I haven't found any low cost options here, perhaps there is a better way to go.
-leg adduction machine. Really helps me with the uh, inside part of the quad there. vastus medialis obliquus I think it is called.
-one of the multipurpose short bars.
-I also want a couple dummbells. Perhaps I can buy bigger ones as I go along.

I could probably spend about a grand on this stuff. Any suggestions from someone who has gone this route?
-Garrett
post #2 of 22
I live in an apartment and I use a set of dumbells that adjust from 5 to 45 lbs, and one of those inflatable stability balls. The ball is the only bench I use, and I use it for some hamstring and abdominal exercises also. Since I don't have heavy weights, I do different kinds of 1 leg thrusts and squats. When you do excercises that require balance, the weights you use are quite a bit less. I think most fitness experts are coming around to the idea that doing light weights on an instable base is better than heavy lifting for improving balance and athletic performance, especially in skiing.
If my shoulder ever really gets better, I'll can add some weight to the dumbells.
I occasionally go to the gym to do squats or deadlifts with heavy weights, but I wouldn't do squats at home when no one is around (which is usually the case when I work out). I'm getting too old to lift really heavy weights anyway.
For most people, going to the gym is way better than working put at home. When you go to the gym, the only decision you need to make is to leave the house, and when you get there there's at least a chance of meeting someone. When you work out at home, you need to make dozens of choices between another set or another beer. I'm pretty motivated, but sometimes the beer still wins.

John
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I hear you.

The reason why I cancel my gym membership yearly, sometime in the spring, is simple. The 30 minute round trip to the gym is really annoying. Heck, I could do 2/3rds of my workout in that time. And I "can't" have a beer at home because I'm 20. Though I have plenty of other distractions, like my cars and forums.

You are completely right about the benefits of going to the gym.

I forgot to mention I have one of those balls...great thing they are.
-Garrett
post #4 of 22
Be careful going cheap on the equipment. You pretty much get what you pay for. Look for a Smith machine that you can add attachments. That way you can add what you want. We have the free weights with an extra bar, plus 310lbs of plate weights for the pull down, fly machine, etc. Very nice, but not the cheapest. We spent a bit more for the gym quality setup so it would last. If you want something to cover all the bases, maybe look for a used Bowflex or something. I thought it was a gimmick type machine until I tried my friends a few times. I worked, but I personally just liked the feel of the free weights more.

Look for used racks or ask around at local gyms if they're going to be replacing any of their equipment. I had a friend that got a great squat rack for a steal. Good Luck
post #5 of 22
I have a home gym and I goto a gym. I like to go to the gym, they have everything from free wieghts to bOSU's. Plus the advice I get form the instructors in awesome. So it certainely worth it for me to drive the 10 minutes.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaMtnRider
Look for used racks or ask around at local gyms if they're going to be replacing any of their equipment. I had a friend that got a great squat rack for a steal. Good Luck
Good advice! Thanks.
post #7 of 22
Garrett, I'm about to buy some home gym stuff to keep my two ACL-recon knees strong for the ski season. Basically, I'm getting this sort of thing:

http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...id=00615033000

with

http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...hes +%26+Sets

I already do lots of cycling and have my road bike to ride on rollers for that type of cardio work.

Most gyms cost about $350-450 per year. For about the same price, I get all the needed eqpt to keep permanently. Seems a better trade off.

BIG CAVEAT: the "leg extension" quadriceps device is BAD for the knee. it puts huge shearing stress on the ACL and can weaken the ACL. in extreme cases, some athletes even have torn their ACL when trying to move big weights on a quad machine. STICK TO SQUATS DONE PROPERLY.
post #8 of 22
"BIG CAVEAT: the "leg extension" quadriceps device is BAD for the knee. it puts huge shearing stress on the ACL and can weaken the ACL. in extreme cases, some athletes even have torn their ACL when trying to move big weights on a quad machine. STICK TO SQUATS DONE PROPERLY."
Thank you! I get so tired of saying that! One more thing to keep in mind. A squat is not a tuck. Think about that on the hill. It's okay to do a squat in your workout, but if you use that weight distribution on the slopes, your center of gravity will not be over your base of support.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
I only use those "leg extension" bars for nice slow, squeezed hamstring curls.

Those aren't dangerous for knees, are they? I don't know of any better hamstring exercises to replace that. The vast majority of people don't give the hamstring enough oomph, which according to my doc reduces knee stability.
-Garrett
post #10 of 22
Stability ball hamstring curls are AWESOME. Don't have time to search, because I'm working on some writing deadlines, but I've referred to it a gazillion times in this forum.
post #11 of 22
Those are fine. But if you are into squats, avoid the smith. The predefined path of the bar is not optimal - squatting with a smith machine puts a big shearing stress on the knees. secondly, it takes the stabilizers out of the picture.

I'd lie under it and use it as a leg press machine instead.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
Those are fine. But if you are into squats, avoid the smith. The predefined path of the bar is not optimal - squatting with a smith machine puts a big shearing stress on the knees. secondly, it takes the stabilizers out of the picture.

I'd lie under it and use it as a leg press machine instead.
Yeah, I won't be going with a Smith machine. I want one of the "power rack" type setups really, might have to settle for something less.
-Garrett
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
Stability ball hamstring curls are AWESOME. Don't have time to search, because I'm working on some writing deadlines, but I've referred to it a gazillion times in this forum.
Will search! Thanks.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
Those are fine. But if you are into squats, avoid the smith. The predefined path of the bar is not optimal - squatting with a smith machine puts a big shearing stress on the knees. secondly, it takes the stabilizers out of the picture.

I'd lie under it and use it as a leg press machine instead.
What about a Smith machine puts more shear stress on the knees than an ordinary squat with free weights? The load path of both are identical, except that the Smith machine misaligns the path of your center of mass from gravity by an inconsquential amount. The Smith machine takes some of the balancing and stabilizing muscles out of it, but it still works the large muscles that hold the spine erect.
OTOH Using a leg press machine isolates the leg muscles and takes all of the balancing and stabilizing muscles out of the load path. Think about it this way, do you really want your legs to be strong enough to lift a weight that your back cannot support?

John
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdowling
Think about it this way, do you really want your legs to be strong enough to lift a weight that your back cannot support?

John
Yes?

When I'm making a turn in skiing, I'm often using every last ounce of available leg strength. With very little load on my back.
-Garrett
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdowling
What about a Smith machine puts more shear stress on the knees than an ordinary squat with free weights? The load path of both are identical, except that the Smith machine misaligns the path of your center of mass from gravity by an inconsquential amount. The Smith machine takes some of the balancing and stabilizing muscles out of it, but it still works the large muscles that hold the spine erect.
OTOH Using a leg press machine isolates the leg muscles and takes all of the balancing and stabilizing muscles out of the load path. Think about it this way, do you really want your legs to be strong enough to lift a weight that your back cannot support?

John
A smith machine squat is quite different from a free weight squat. Notice how far forward the feet are from the bar in the smith squat. The bar presses back on the knees at the same angle, as the body presses into the bar. This force has both horizontal and vertical components. The Horizontal force is the sheer force. This feature of the device is nothing new. It is quite well known.

eg. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/rob3.htm see training tip 3
Dr. Squat writes:
http://staff.washington.edu/griffin/dr_squat.txt

And many other sources can be found using a quick google on smith shear squat.

Smith:

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...s/SMSquat.html


Free:
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...FullSquat.html

As you can see, the path of the bar is NOT identical -- viewed from the side, it is shaped somewhat like a right parenthesis. This is what is needed for the stabilizers, not the chair like posture of the smith squat.

hope this clears things up.

PS: I'm sure 97% of all folks have legs much stronger than their backs. That's completely normal.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
A smith machine squat is quite different from a free weight squat. Notice how far forward the feet are from the bar in the smith squat.
That foot forward position isn't required when using a Smith machine, it's only an option for the Smith (and on most leg press machines) that's not available with free weights. The load path remains the same for both regardless of where the feet are: from the bar to the shoulders, back hips , legs, feet to the floor. The load path for a leg press machine is hips, legs, feet platform. Unless your feet are way forward of the bar, a few degrees off vertical is not going to cause any problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
PS: I'm sure 97% of all folks have legs much stronger than their backs. That's completely normal.
Maybe that's why back injuries are so common.

John
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdowling
Maybe that's why back injuries are so common.

John
I don't understand the thought process here. I don't carry huge things around on my back very often. I never lift anything over 100lbs. Why does my leg strength have anything to do with my back strength, and why is the relationship related to risk of back injury?
-Garrett
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingman
I don't understand the thought process here. I don't carry huge things around on my back very often. I never lift anything over 100lbs. Why does my leg strength have anything to do with my back strength, and why is the relationship related to risk of back injury?
-Garrett
Your back needs to be strong enough to carry the weight of your upper body, and to resist gravity and the dynamic forces of any activity you do. Ask any physical therapist or orthopedic doctor. Poor back strength (and poor back flexibility) are major contributors to poor posture and to back problems generally. Greater leg strength (in sports) leads to greater dynamic loads on the back, and that leads to more back problems when the back is relatively weak.
Recreational skiing doesn't require unusual leg strength. The greatest fitness issue in skiing is to be strong and flexible enough to fall without injuring your upper body, back and neck. General fitness is more important than great strength. That's true for most sports, except at the highest levels of competition.
There are some good threads here about the importance of core strength and the hazards of excercises that isolate specific body parts. That's really the issue we are talking about.

John
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdowling
Your back needs to be strong enough to carry the weight of your upper body, and to resist gravity and the dynamic forces of any activity you do. Ask any physical therapist or orthopedic doctor. Poor back strength (and poor back flexibility) are major contributors to poor posture and to back problems generally.
I'm totally with you on that part. I understand that even at this "invincible" age.

All about the core strength.
Quote:
Greater leg strength (in sports) leads to greater dynamic loads on the back, and that leads to more back problems when the back is relatively weak.
Thats the part I really don't get. I'm not a linebacker using my back as a lever to knock someone down with leg strength. I go skiing. My back doesn't get much of a workout...the lower back and lower abdominal muscles get the biggest workout I think. Depends on what you are skiing a bit I guess.

I understand that back strength and core strength are key, I just don't understand how excess leg strength makes me more likely to hurt my back.
Quote:
Recreational skiing doesn't require unusual leg strength. The greatest fitness issue in skiing is to be strong and flexible enough to fall without injuring your upper body, back and neck. General fitness is more important than great strength. That's true for most sports, except at the highest levels of competition.
I would agree that the most critical part is that people have a strong core, adequate flexibility, and warm up before they throw the boots on and hit the hill. I don't get how ultimate leg strength isn't important though. I squat 1.5 times my (fatass) bodyweight, and my legs are still the first thing to go. My slalom skis will wreck my legs in an hour if I want them to.
Quote:
There are some good threads here about the importance of core strength and the hazards of excercises that isolate specific body parts. That's really the issue we are talking about.

John
Yeah, I hear that. I really like the excercises that take as many muscles as possible and work them. Except for a couple muscle groups that I need to target because they are relatively weak, like the Vmo, and the hamstring. Oh, and my arms. They are like bamboo.

This is why I like regular squat better than with a Smith machine or leg press. I can build strength and mass in my legs very quickly, but the rest of my body is somewhat slower. I'm a real "pear" type guy. So leg pressing 650 lbs is all well and good, but it doesn't do jack for the muscles I really want to help along.
-Garrett
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingman

I understand that back strength and core strength are key, I just don't understand how excess leg strength makes me more likely to hurt my back...
The leg muscles pull against the pelvis. The abs and back muscles attach to the pelvis and stabilize it when the legs pull against it. If there is an imbalance between the strength of the leg muscles and the strength of the abs and back muscles, the leg muscles can be strong enough to pull the pelvis out of its optimum position. The vertibrae are all stacked on the pelvis, and if the pelvis is out of position, the spine will be out of its optimum position. The stronger the legs are, the stronger the abs and back stabilizers need to be to stabilize the pelvis. That kind of imbalance in strength (and flexibilty) is what causes so much lower back pain for people trapped in office work for too long.

From the rest of your post, it sounds like you are on the right track.

John
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Sweet, I didn't know all that about the relationship between muscles on either end of the pelvis...

Thanks for the explanation.
-Garrett
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