Strength Training at Shape Up Fitness & Wellness Consulting

Strength Training At Home – What Equipment To Start With?

The Short Version

  • A TRX or Jungle Gym can get you a long way when getting started or travelling
  • Most equipment is being used as a coat hanger
  • Strength Equipment for different budgets. You don’t need a lot for some great workouts.

Getting Started in Fitness

For most people starting in fitness, purchasing dumbbells, bands, barbells, or expensive equipment is a bad choice. You can often see great equipment for little money on Craigslist because people purchase it without understanding it, or they figure out they don’t like working out at home after all, and the equipment ends up being used as coat hangers.

Buying Fitness Equipment on a Budget

If you are intend on purchasing something and you have not worked out in a long time I would start with the shoe-string budget. You invest relatively little and you can get a lot of bang for your buck. If it turns out that you don’t work out at home or traveling, you have not invested a lot of money.

Shoe String Budget ($30-$250)

  • TRX Suspension Trainer ($199) or Jungle Gym Suspension Trainer ($69-99): With the TRX being the leader in the business these two systems work very similarly. They offer the opportunity to work  your whole body via suspension. Both are easy to carry and offer attachments for doors and walls. They are light weight and can be easily taken along while traveling.
  • Resistance Tubing ($20-40) is another affordable way to get started working out. I am not a big fan, because most people will need different band strengths and you end up with a host of bands when traveling. In addition these bands or their handles can break relatively easily. We use them at our personal training studio but I would not recommend them as a primary tool for exercise.
  • Mini Bands ($2-4 a piece): These bands are great for lateral work, are cheap and you can use them for plenty exercises. I would definitely recommend getting them!
  • Foam Rollers ($10-15): These are great to work out some adhesions and reducing your massage therapists work a little. I would definitely recommend having one.
  • Medicine Balls are great, especially if you have a brick wall you can slam them against. Great for some power work. They will get pricy fast though and you might need several. Each ball costs between 20-120 dollars.

Low to moderate Budget ($250-1000)

  • Adjustable Dumbbells ($299-$1400). The pricing varies greatly and you need to see what works for you. I personally would not buy a set that goes up to less than 50 lbs and some people should have the ability to go up to 90 lbs. This will be definitely on the higher end spectrum of your budget ($1000).
  • Bench ($150-$300) If you get a set of dumbbells a bench is a great addition. You don’t have to spend 600 dollars to own a good bench. Just make sure it is not too high. A lower sitting bench is better for most people.

Moderate to High Budget ($500 +)

  • Barbell Set ($500+): Barbell sets vary greatly in price and quality,  and you can sometimes find great offers on Craigslist. You need to figure out what you are looking for. Do you really need bumper plates? You only do, if you do overhead lifts and drop your barbell. Make sure you have a bar of at least moderate quality. On the other hand most of us don’t need the ultra high end bar for hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
  • Power Rack ($700+) Good power racks cost money. You want them to be sturdy. Again you might be able to get something used. Cheaper racks are too light and might shift when you put the weight back. Also, you might want band attachments for superbands.
  • Half Racks ($500+). Half Racks take a little bit less space than full power racks but are usually not quite as stable.

There are so many more options and toys and I am sure I have missed one of your favorites. This list is far from being complete, but can offer you a nice start. Remember that the costs I mentioned are primarily for new equipment. You might be able to save some money with some savvy used purchases.

Have a fit and healthy day,


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