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Beginners Weight Training Essentials?

What are the most essential pieces of equipment, that a beginner should buy to start weight training? I dont have any exercise equipment except dumbells, running machine, heavy punching bag, and a speed bag. My goal is to gain alot of muscle, and lose some weight. I dont have alot of space (one car garage). Oh, and Im really broke right now (California Economy is crappy right now), so thats why I only want the essentials right now. Any help would be greatly apreciated. Thanks

Question - I want to setup a home weight room for my son (or for me) in my garage, so I can do this program. What do I need?

  1. A power rack - get one that has solid spotter pins as well as easily adjustable, well-constructed J-hooks to hold the bar in the rack. Preferably, get one with a chinup/pullup bar attached. It should be at least 2" tubing, and the holes should be spaced no more than 2" apart. Some very nice racks, especially those made by Williams (sold at EliteFTS.com) have 1" spacing in the bench press area, which can also be useful, as well as costly.

  2. An adjustable bench - This specific program doesn’t require any adjustments of the bench because you will only do flat benches and standing presses during the novice stage. As you advance, however, an adjustable bench will be very useful. Make sure the bench isn’t “wobbly” in the decline or incline position, and that it locks solidly into place at any angle. Ensure that several angles are useable, and for maximum value, ensure that the bench can be set to a completely vertical upright position for use as a seated overhead press seat. If you have the space and the cash, get multiple fixed angle benches. Start off with the flat bench, and as you advance in your training, pick up a seat, a low incline, and a decline.

  3. Iron 300-lb barbell set. This is pretty standard, it contains a basic 84" 45-lb bar, a pair of 45s, 35s, 25s, and 10s, 2 pairs of 5s, and a pair of 2.5s. This is not an industrial strength barbell set, it is a basic beginner’s barbell set, and will serve it’s purpose for at least a year for most people, several years for others. The bar will eventually bend, and you will want to invest in a quality bar. In the meantime, weigh the plates once you get them to make sure they are accurate. If you are going to be performing olympic lifts, then prepare to spend the $$$ on a quality Olympic set with bumper plates. They are expensive, yet they are completely indispensible and necessary for the aspiring O-lifter.

  4. Flooring - A few layers of plywood covered with a heavy floor matting will go a long way toward preserving your garage floor. It is also helpful to have several cheaper “singles”, pieces of floor that you can move around and position to provide additional protection, especially where the plates touch the floor on deadlifts, cleans and rows.

  5. Plate racks - best bet is to pick up 2 A-frame types, and keep one on either side of the rack with one of each pair of weights you have on each A-frame.

  6. If you end up buying a few bars (trap bar, Safety Squat bar, curl bar, triceps bar, basic Olympic bar), then get yourself a bar rack as well. Bars and plates lying around your gym are dangerous.

  7. Chalk - don’t ask. Just buy it. You can get a chalk tray if you like for convenience sake, or you can just toss it into a Tupperware container.

(From: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=998224 )

[quote]anders078 wrote:
Question - I want to setup a home weight room for my son (or for me) in my garage, so I can do this program. What do I need?

  1. A power rack - get one that has solid spotter pins as well as easily adjustable, well-constructed J-hooks to hold the bar in the rack. Preferably, get one with a chinup/pullup bar attached. It should be at least 2" tubing, and the holes should be spaced no more than 2" apart. Some very nice racks, especially those made by Williams (sold at EliteFTS.com) have 1" spacing in the bench press area, which can also be useful, as well as costly.

  2. An adjustable bench - This specific program doesn’t require any adjustments of the bench because you will only do flat benches and standing presses during the novice stage. As you advance, however, an adjustable bench will be very useful. Make sure the bench isn’t “wobbly” in the decline or incline position, and that it locks solidly into place at any angle. Ensure that several angles are useable, and for maximum value, ensure that the bench can be set to a completely vertical upright position for use as a seated overhead press seat. If you have the space and the cash, get multiple fixed angle benches. Start off with the flat bench, and as you advance in your training, pick up a seat, a low incline, and a decline.

  3. Iron 300-lb barbell set. This is pretty standard, it contains a basic 84" 45-lb bar, a pair of 45s, 35s, 25s, and 10s, 2 pairs of 5s, and a pair of 2.5s. This is not an industrial strength barbell set, it is a basic beginner’s barbell set, and will serve it’s purpose for at least a year for most people, several years for others. The bar will eventually bend, and you will want to invest in a quality bar. In the meantime, weigh the plates once you get them to make sure they are accurate. If you are going to be performing olympic lifts, then prepare to spend the $$$ on a quality Olympic set with bumper plates. They are expensive, yet they are completely indispensible and necessary for the aspiring O-lifter.

  4. Flooring - A few layers of plywood covered with a heavy floor matting will go a long way toward preserving your garage floor. It is also helpful to have several cheaper “singles”, pieces of floor that you can move around and position to provide additional protection, especially where the plates touch the floor on deadlifts, cleans and rows.

  5. Plate racks - best bet is to pick up 2 A-frame types, and keep one on either side of the rack with one of each pair of weights you have on each A-frame.

  6. If you end up buying a few bars (trap bar, Safety Squat bar, curl bar, triceps bar, basic Olympic bar), then get yourself a bar rack as well. Bars and plates lying around your gym are dangerous.

  7. Chalk - don’t ask. Just buy it. You can get a chalk tray if you like for convenience sake, or you can just toss it into a Tupperware container.

(From: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=998224 )[/quote]

I dont have alot of space (one car garage). Oh, and Im really broke right now (California Economy is crappy right now), so thats why I only want the essentials right now. In other words something cheap that will work.

Read this. http://stronglifts.com/how-to-build-your-home-gym/

You can get by with just a barbell for a while but the list already given you is what you should work towards over time. A rubber horse stall mat from a farm supply store will serve as a lifting platform. Buy your weights second hand. There are tons of deals in California. I wish I could say the save about Nova Scotia.

Play It Again Sports has been very helpful for me in getting equipment cheap. My guess is that in February/March there will be a glut of used equipment for sale there or through Craig’s List. I have seem some pretty good setups through Craig’s, though I’ve never used it.

Power rack

Regular Flat Bench

300lb Barbell set

“Essential” is a bar and enough plates. A floor mat and chalk are good.

I sometimes think I might want a power rack, too, but I know I don’t need one to keep making progress at this point, and may never need one. If my left shoulder were healthy enough for horizontal pressing I might want a bench, too.

I’m dieing to use a power rack…never have. Barbell, weights, dumbbells and a bench are the bare basics. The rest is gravy.

All you need is your own bodyweight.

If you want to go big spender you could get some blast straps or a similar product.

If you REALLY wanted to go crazy you could go down to Lowes and get some pipes and stuff to make your own chin-up bar.

So for BARE MINIMUM old school training you’ve already got a lot of stuff. If your Dumbbells go above 50 pounds then you don’t need to buy kettlebells.

Here’s what I would get if I was living in Kenya and I wanted to be strong:

  1. Chin-up Bar
  2. 25kg Kettlebell
  3. Dragging Sled
  4. 5 45lb Plates (For the Sled)

With the Chin-up Bar you’ve got all your upper back workout shit taken care of and if you get blast straps and jump stretch chords and shit you can hang them from the Chin-Bar

Push-ups and Kettlebell Presses will be enough pressing to get you extremely jacked.

Burpees and the Dragging Sled will be enough for your legs to get to 24 inches. Pushing a heavy sled is just as good as the pushing the low bars on the prowler sled. Pushing a heavy sled is an Overhead Lunge and a Reverse Hyper all mixed into one.

That is all the shit you need. The Plates and the Sled will cost the most. Maybe you can steal them from a High School equipment room or go to a used sporting goods store. It doesn’t matter where you get your iron plates.

With the Sled and a Single Kettlebell you can perform variants of almost every barbell and dumbbell exercise there is.

I don’t know about you, but a gym membership might be cheaper than buying your own equipment.

$50 per month = 600 a year. You might be able to get a quality power rack, weight set, and bench for $600 but that’s probably pushing it. You would also have much more equipment at a gym.

Though I’m in Ohio, the gyms near me that i considered joining were $18.75/month (for staff at the Univ., that’s me), $36/month (near work), $45/month (near home), and $60/month (stupid chain club for rich people and suburbanites).

Is where you live that expensive for a membership?

I don’t where in CA the OP is but a quick look in Craig’s List just turned up this: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/spo/528423592.html
$475 for a power rack and over 500# of weights. A lot cheaper than a membership.

[quote]PozzSka wrote:
I don’t know about you, but a gym membership might be cheaper than buying your own equipment.

$50 per month = 600 a year. You might be able to get a quality power rack, weight set, and bench for $600 but that’s probably pushing it. You would also have much more equipment at a gym.

Though I’m in Ohio, the gyms near me that i considered joining were $18.75/month (for staff at the Univ., that’s me), $36/month (near work), $45/month (near home), and $60/month (stupid chain club for rich people and suburbanites).

Is where you live that expensive for a membership?[/quote]

No, its about $40 a month at the gym thats near my house, but like you said $40 a month= $480 a year $480 a year= $2400 in 5 years. In the long run, I would be spending alot more money than if I just buy my equipment.

[quote] Matt wrote:
Power rack

Regular Flat Bench

300lb Barbell set[/quote]

Im probably gonna go with this set-up for now, and I will add a chin-up bar. Thanks

Most power racks have a built in chin up bar.

Good luck.


this is my home gym for me and my girlfriend put together over the last 6 months. all i need to complete is a pullup bar.

oh and sell the running machine. you live in california!

[quote]alit4 wrote:

oh and sell the running machine. you live in california![/quote]

Its more of a decorative piece, I dont actually use it as much as I should, I probably should sell it. But then I would not be able to THINK about using it during winter. Haha, no but really, it actually rains in California during winter! Who would have guessed?