T Nation

Need Advice on Gym Equipment

Hey guys,

I find my self having less time latly to get to the gym since my wife got pregnant and the new job. So I thought I would invest in some gym equipment that I could use at home. I have been doing alot of reading on this site for a few years now and I have found a large range of excersises that I can do with just dumbbells and still target all areas of my body.

So I am looking for some advice on what brands and where to get some one handed bars and about 200 pounds of plates to use with those bars. I have a small 25 pounder that I use at work in between calls since I have a desk job, but I find all the areas I am working on my body with that 25 pound dumbbell are becomming too used to the weight.

So any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Atrumblood,
I’m exactly the same way. I train strictly at home. I would suggest powertec and maybe some used machines. I have a powertec rack with pulldown and row attachment, a powertec squat machine, treadmill, and I’ve just added a Nautilus Superpullover. I also have a variety of dumbbells and kettlebells. This whole setup cost about 3 grand but well worth it. I would shop and see what’s available. Alot of used commercial machines are out there at a reasonable price.


Thanks, I will look into that.

You have same avatar as Vegita, a long-time poster here.

I have:
1 squat rack, with bench and a pulley
1 210 kg bumper set
rubber floors
2 olympic bars with over 1000 lbs in plates
1 standard bar and dumbbell handles with about 300 lbs in plates

cost me about $1400

Oh hmmm. I’ll see if I can find another avatar, plus I will be posting alot more on here. I am going to be following a diet and workout plan by *John Berardi (*not sure if i spelled that right). So I am most likely going to start a journal.

Check out Elite Fitness and Ironmind. Both have quality equipment.

ok thanks for the tip. ill check em out.

Before you purchase anything, check out Ironmaster.com. I purchased their Quick-Lock Dumbbell set with rack (up to 75lbs each) as well as their Super Bench and many of the attachments and add-on kit for the dumbbells.

I am highly satisfied with their products. The dumbbells are high-quality and very durable. They also feel and look like the fixed dumbbells you find in most gyms and they don’t restrict you from performing certain movements like the PowerBlock or Bow-tech selectorized dumbbells. They are also made of solid metal, so they can be dropped and won’t break.

Their Super Bench is one of the best benches I have ever used. It’s very strong and can go from flat, decline or incline positions quickly and easily. It’s also more affordable than many other benches available (and it comes with a removable seat for performing seated military presses and other exercises).

With the Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells with rack and Super Bench, you would have a pretty sweet home set up for [u]$600[/u].

You could then build a home gym as money and space permits by adding a power rack, barbell, weights, etc.

I’ve built my home gym during the past 3.5 years to include the following:

  1. Body Solid Power Rack with lat/row attachment - great thing to have - $399 (from Play It Again Sports - one of the best investments ever!)

  2. Various bars for the lat/row attachment (triceps rope, straight bar, lat bar, v-bar, etc.) - ~$60 (some were new and some were used but practically brand new from Play It Again Sports)

  3. Ironmaster Super Bench - $822 (as part of the package listed below that included the quick-lock dumbbells to 75lbs and rack, Super Bench and all attachments)

  4. Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells with rack

  5. Ironmaster attachments (preacher curl, leg extension/leg curl, ab attachment and dip bar)

  6. Ironmaster add-on dumbbell kit (goes up to 120lbs per dumbbell) - $180

  7. Texas Power Bar - $225

  8. 300lbs Olympic barbell set - $119 + a few additional 35lbs plates I had purchased a few years before. I purchased the 300lb set at Play it Again Sports

  9. Weight Tree - $25 (Play It Again Sports)

  10. EZ Curl Bar - $22 (Play It Again Sports)

  11. OOOF Med Balls - ~$45 (4lbs, 6lbs, 9lbs)

  12. Elite FTS Dragging Sled - $130 (when I bought it in 2001 from Elite and it came with two straps!)

  13. Jump Rope from Champs Sports - $5.99

  14. Elite FTS Blast Straps - $55

  15. 40lb Xvest - $169 (buy this from Renegade Training. You can get it even cheaper now!)

  16. 16kg and 24kg Kbells from Dragondoor - ~$190 for both back in 2001. I now recommend buying the Iron Woody kbells from Renegade Training.

  17. Josh Henkin sandbags - $~140 for the small and medium bags (I then made my own sandbags)

  18. Iron Woody sandbags (60lbs and 80lbs) - $200 (buy them from Renegade Training when they have specials)

  19. Iron Woody mini bands - ~$16 (get them from Renegade Training)

  20. Hex Dumbbells (5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30lbs) - From Play It Again Sports (some new, some used)

  21. Two and three-board presses from Elite FTS (you can make these if you have the tools)

  22. Foam Roller - $18 (Elite FTS)

  23. Additional little things at home including other Jump Stretch bands (light and average band) from Elite FTS, push-up bars, etc.

  24. Two, 4x6’ 1/2" thick rubber mats from a FEED store - $75

  25. Flat bench - $60 (From Play It Again Sports - I bought this at the same time I bought my rack and barbell set. I had a very basic set up. But it worked great for nearly two years until I could add more to it).

I think that I have a pretty sweet set up. It’s taken a few years to build, but I have everything I need. The only things on my wish list are the Elite Glute-Ham Bench and the new “Econo” Prowler from Elite FTS.

I’ll take some new pictures soon, as the one above doesn’t show the lat/row attachment on my power rack (I added it last year but originally purchased the power rack in July 2004) as well as all the other things I’ve added in the last year or two.

I started out with only the Body Solid Power Rack (no lat/row attachment), flat bench, 300lbs Olympic barbell set, weight tree, EZ curl bar, black rubber mats and a few things I already had before that such as my kbells, Elite dragging sled, jump rope and med balls. I originally spent less than $600 to start my home gym. I think I’m still under $3,000 total for everything I have.

Everything I’ve bought has been from EliteFTS and New York Barbell. Both great companies and products.

I use a lot of bodysolid equipment. They seemed to be about the right price/performance mix for me. Elite Fitness is obviously the best if you can afford it. Check the used section of your local paper, people are often getting rid of perfectly good stuff at a discount.

I would start with

a power rack
a bench
a good bar and weights


I would probably go with NYBarbell co.
You would probably get free shipping from them. I wish I live in states.

The racks from NYBB seems to be in between elite and bodysolid quality, for the price bit more than bodysolid or the same.

I have found out bodysolid, bodycraft, powercraft, etc brands are all imported from china, and just named different, they made pretty well but.

Thanks alot guys, I wasn’t expecting so many replys this fast. Natedogg, seriously thanks man very informative.

[quote]atrumblood wrote:
Thanks alot guys, I wasn’t expecting so many replys this fast. Natedogg, seriously thanks man very informative.[/quote]

No problem!

Building a home gym will most likely be one of the best investments you make for you own health and fitness goals. And you definitely don’t need to purchase as many things as I have. If I did it over again, I’d probably only buy a few less kbells and sandbags. But the power rack with lat/row attachment, Ironmaster Super Bench and Quick-Lock Dumbbells and Olympic barbell and weights would be a no-brainer.

It also depends on what your goals are. I want to stay athletic, thus the reason I like having a variety of “tools” to perform many of the basic movements. I don’t like using just barbells and dumbbells, so I enjoy mixing things up with sandbags, kbells, the Xvest, bodyweight exercises, dragging sled, med balls, etc.

If bodybuilding or powerlifting is your goal, you really don’t need all those extra things. I like the variety and the challenge.

Now make it happen!

Nate Dogg-

You’re right about IRONMASTER. I have some of their equipment as well and it’s top quality. I ended up going with POWERBLOCKS for my dumbbell set though…just personal preference.

Cool deal! What did you purchase? The Super Bench?