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  1. #1
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    Home gym - The essentials

    Hello folks,
    I'm moving to a new house this weekend, a much bigger house in which we'll have a proper home gym. Hurray! We'll be looking at buying some weights and machines to complement our cycling and running training. My girlfriend isn't so much into serious training although she is training for a half marathon and I expect her to catch on once the gym is setup good.

    So we already have a treadmill and a Road Machine trainer. We might add a second trainer for my GF if she wants one next winter. There's a used Weider 8530 close from the house I was looking to possibly buy but it takes up so much space we are not sure it's the best option. With that said, I was wondering what people consider the essentials for a home gym. Freewieghts all the way? Yoga balls? Chin-up bar? Multi-station?

    So let's hear it: what do you consider an essential purchase for a home gym? What's the most versatile? What's the most cost effective?
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  2. #2
    lgh
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    Squat rack with built in pull up bar. You can also set your rollers up in the rack.

    Bench

    Kettlebells and some free weights

    Floor mat in case you drop weights (rubber barn mat works perfect)

    No weight machines (although I might add a rowing machine to my space.) Save the money you would spend on machines for cool bike stuff, for instruction from a professional trainer, or for romantic stuff with your GF.

    I've had lots of different stuff in my home gyms. This is the only stuff that has stood the test of time. You can buy it all for less than a single machine. Buy good used equipment and you will be fine and save a lot of money.

    Larry

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    Free weights!

  4. #4
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    rowing machine... I want one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lgh View Post
    Squat rack with built in pull up bar. You can also set your rollers up in the rack.

    Bench

    Kettlebells and some free weights

    Floor mat in case you drop weights (rubber barn mat works perfect)

    No weight machines (although I might add a rowing machine to my space.) Save the money you would spend on machines for cool bike stuff, for instruction from a professional trainer, or for romantic stuff with your GF.

    I've had lots of different stuff in my home gyms. This is the only stuff that has stood the test of time. You can buy it all for less than a single machine. Buy good used equipment and you will be fine and save a lot of money.

    Larry
    +1

    I'd also add some bands to that list. Planning to put a gym in next year and that's the exact list I'm looking at. Only other thing I'd add is a TRX as I really like some of the exercises you can do with it plus it's great for travel but not a must have.

  6. #6
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    If you are working out at home a rubber floor, dumbbells and a good bench is really all you need for the basics. Moving up from that I'd recommend a loaded power rack with high and low pulleys. A power rack can be used in lieu of a spotter if set up properly and religiously.

    What are your goals though? For some weights are secondary to a good treadmill, climber, elliptical, rower etc.

    Definitely second-hand is the way to go...so many deals out there especially now.

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    You must get a good cage, must! Then get a good multi adjustable bench that you can use in the cage and out. A free standing lat pull down machine, you know one with a high and low pulley. Pro style dumbells, olympic weight set with straight bar and curl bar. Preacher bench. A leg extension leg curl machine. Then a tread mill of course.

    I spent the last few years putting together a pretty respectable gym with those items and believe it is all you need to work everything and get in shape. Serves me well.

  8. #8
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    The only really essential things Kettlebells and a nice pullup bar (stud bar, or something similar.) You can do everything you *need* to do for off-bike fitness with those things - pullups, pushups, swings, goblet squats, TGU, deck squats, burpees...

    A well-equipped home gym would also have a ski erg or rowing machine, dumbells and a nice barbell and bumpers. Gymnastics rings are sweet, and I am planning on putting brackets in the ceiling for rock rings and a homemade TRX. A GHD is on my list as well.

    There are some sweet home gyms out there... You don't need much to get strong, if that's your goal. If your goal is enough off-bike fitness to make the rest of your life easier, you need even less stuff. If you want to be fast on the bike and don't care about anything else, you really don't need any of this stuff.

  9. #9
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    Good rug, yoga strap, some free weights...that is it.

    A rowing machine might be good for the back???

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    Some kettle bells, a cable cross machine, and a yoga mat would be all that I'd have in my dream home gym. Some power cords or a trx could substitute for the cable cross, typically cheaper.

  11. #11
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    free weights 5-60lbs, pull-up bar, yoga mat, tv/computer/stereo, motivation

    nice but not necessary: TRX, kettlebells, push up stands

  12. #12
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    forget kettle bells and the other 'crossfit' dogma for a home gym. There is a reason kettle bells went out of style due to flat weight plates...SPACE

    Not knocking that kettle bells serve a purpose, they are just a trend though and very impractical for a home gym unless you have a ton of space and money.

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    A squat rack and a bench to put in it would be great. Add a set of dumbbells and you have a full gym.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by alkemyst View Post
    forget kettle bells and the other 'crossfit' dogma for a home gym. There is a reason kettle bells went out of style due to flat weight plates...SPACE

    Not knocking that kettle bells serve a purpose, they are just a trend though and very impractical for a home gym unless you have a ton of space and money.
    This from the guy who is telling you to get an elliptical. And a pulley machine. Both of those things take up way more room than kettlebells, and are just plain silly bullsh*t.

  15. #15
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    Some resistance bands for lighter days.

    A good sturdy built box for some plyo if you have the ceiling height for it.

    +1 for Kettle Bells. Weider makes some really good adjustable sets.

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    A floor and a pullup bar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alkemyst View Post
    forget kettle bells and the other 'crossfit' dogma for a home gym. There is a reason kettle bells went out of style due to flat weight plates...SPACE

    Not knocking that kettle bells serve a purpose, they are just a trend though and very impractical for a home gym unless you have a ton of space and money.
    My wife has a "Jillian Michaels" adjustable kettlebell. Huge space-saver and it does everything she needs it too. Some knock it because of the branding or the fact it is adjustable, but truthfully, it is a good solution for someone wanting to do basic kettlebell work without all the space.

  18. #18
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    rollers rollers rollers, i built a set of floating frame rollers ,same idea as e-motion but marketably different.This last winter on the east coast was f'n horrible for cycling but i set up a bike room.Centered on my rollers, i added krietlers "killer headwind" fan attachment to my rollers, that's a huge thing.They add a very realistic resistance and cool you off at the same time.When i'm riding my rollers i'm in my bike room surrounded by my roadbikes and my mountainbikes(xc,am,dh)i was riding for 50-120 minutes 5-6 times a week (approx 90minute average),and it made a HUGE difference in the spring. I quit my gym and i've been doing minimal lifting, just a couple times a week,kind of randomly but probabely on days where i don't bike that hard. I have a curling stand and a cheap rack for pulling down and a benchpress with dumbells. I have a bunch of other things but i think the major point is don't lose track of the goal,bicycling!, don't turn into a powerlifter,don't bulk up, or even over muscle the legs. lean and mean with a good power to weight ratio, and focusing on the aerobic. Push ups for mtb descending and jump landings .Oh yeah, vigorous snow shoveling

  19. #19
    lgh
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    Quote Originally Posted by alkemyst View Post
    forget kettle bells and the other 'crossfit' dogma for a home gym. There is a reason kettle bells went out of style due to flat weight plates...SPACE

    Not knocking that kettle bells serve a purpose, they are just a trend though and very impractical for a home gym unless you have a ton of space and money.
    Please explain. Kb's have been around for over a century, long before crossfit. Flat weights are attached to long bars. Long bars take up space, especially when you move them around.

    How old are you?

    Larry

  20. #20
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    In no particular order:

    Plyo Box
    Indo Board Balance Trainer
    Jump Rope
    Chinning Bar
    Rubber flooring
    Good music system
    Kettle bells
    Dip station
    Gymnastic rings

  21. #21
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    Power Bock Adjustable Dumbbells
    Squat Rack w/ Pull-up Bar
    Olympic Bar and Plates.
    Adjustable Bench
    Retribution Fitness: Strength, Power, and Purpose
    General fitness workouts posted daily.

  22. #22
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    DVD player, tv, water and a bunch of Beachbody workouts or just Google "body weight exercises". If you want to build muscle you'll need to lift heavy things, if you want to get lean your body weight is all you need.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by alkemyst View Post
    forget kettle bells and the other 'crossfit' dogma for a home gym. There is a reason kettle bells went out of style due to flat weight plates...SPACE

    Not knocking that kettle bells serve a purpose, they are just a trend though and very impractical for a home gym unless you have a ton of space and money.
    I have one kettlebell. It takes up roughly 10 square inches on my garage floor. I can use it to get a whole body workout.

    They are popular right now, and if that makes them a trend, that's fine. I can tell you from experience that they provide a great functional strength training workout, unlike most weight lifting exercises that are great for bodybuilding and just putting on bulk.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whambat View Post
    They are popular right now, and if that makes them a trend, that's fine. I can tell you from experience that they provide a great functional strength training workout, unlike most weight lifting exercises that are great for bodybuilding and just putting on bulk.
    Your last statement shows you bought into the crossfit dogma.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by alkemyst View Post
    Your last statement shows you bought into the crossfit dogma.
    it is awesome! and I mean AWESOME! when people on the internet go to ad-hominim attacks as a default!

    You are so cool. Thank you for adding to the discussion. You are free of bias, thank you for pointing out that we are all biased.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by alkemyst View Post
    Your last statement shows you bought into the crossfit dogma.
    I'd take one 16kg kettlebell over one 16kg dumbbell any day.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by alkemyst View Post
    Your last statement shows you bought into the crossfit dogma.
    Actually, I'm not a huge crossfit fan. However, I like a lot of their exercises and it works well for a lot of people in a lot of different sports. For example, friends of mine just got second in white water rafting nationals use crossfit as their main dryland training.

    For what it's worth, my statement is derived from experience over 19 years: including a degree in Kinesiology, learning from a Div 1 NCAA strength and conditioning coach, participating in dryland training for freestyle skiing at college, personally rehabbing 4 knee surgeries, working as a personal trainer, and just generally paying attention to what works for athletes across a broad spectrum of sports. I don't work in the field anymore: I pursued a different career, but I stay up on it as a hobby and for my own self-interests.

    Generally, slow motion, single plane movements that are designed to isolate muscle groups to facilitate hypertrophy have little relevance to sport performance. Many studies have come to that same conclusion. The majority of gym work most people do is derived from bodybuilding, not from strength training for sport. While there are a few sports that athletes need pure bulk, e.g. american football, most athletes need a different kind of strength training, and even football players do more than lift standard weights for strength training. There are many ways to get that kind of strength training, one of which is kettle bells. Others include: cable cross workouts, sport cords, plyos, running with parachutes, etc... Kettlebells happen to be cheap and take up little space, making them great for a home gym.

    Thanks for your insightful posts: they really add to the depth of the discussion.

  28. #28
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    I don't think its really any place to argue what works and what doesn't. Crossfit works for some, and not for others. I don't believe there's a "dogma" to it.

    If you don't want to use them, then don't.

    I'll +1 any plyo box, as this has given me more power and stability then anything, but some people will argue plyo is garbage.

    To each his own. OP was just asking what people are using, not the benefits or "dogma" of what they use.
    Last edited by 14Stone; 06-23-2011 at 10:26 AM. Reason: Previous message had no constructive content.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by playpunk View Post
    This from the guy who is telling you to get an elliptical. And a pulley machine. Both of those things take up way more room than kettlebells, and are just plain silly bullsh*t.
    Did I say that?

    Looks like I said: [What are your goals though? For some weights are secondary to a good treadmill, climber, elliptical, rower etc.

    Never endorsing any of those, however; his goals are cycling and running and many people do not live where they can do this outside all the time....so a good piece that can allow a cardio workout would be helpful.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by playpunk View Post
    it is awesome! and I mean AWESOME! when people on the internet go to ad-hominim attacks as a default!

    You are so cool. Thank you for adding to the discussion. You are free of bias, thank you for pointing out that we are all biased.
    Sounds like you are a PX90 or Crossfit fanboi then. I was replying to their dogma that free weights (which kettlebells fall under) only are for bodybuilders and getting bulky non-functional strength.

    lolz.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whambat View Post
    Actually, I'm not a huge crossfit fan. However, I like a lot of their exercises and it works well for a lot of people in a lot of different sports. For example, friends of mine just got second in white water rafting nationals use crossfit as their main dryland training.

    For what it's worth, my statement is derived from experience over 19 years: including a degree in Kinesiology, learning from a Div 1 NCAA strength and conditioning coach, participating in dryland training for freestyle skiing at college, personally rehabbing 4 knee surgeries, working as a personal trainer, and just generally paying attention to what works for athletes across a broad spectrum of sports. I don't work in the field anymore: I pursued a different career, but I stay up on it as a hobby and for my own self-interests.

    Generally, slow motion, single plane movements that are designed to isolate muscle groups to facilitate hypertrophy have little relevance to sport performance. Many studies have come to that same conclusion. The majority of gym work most people do is derived from bodybuilding, not from strength training for sport. While there are a few sports that athletes need pure bulk, e.g. american football, most athletes need a different kind of strength training, and even football players do more than lift standard weights for strength training. There are many ways to get that kind of strength training, one of which is kettle bells. Others include: cable cross workouts, sport cords, plyos, running with parachutes, etc... Kettlebells happen to be cheap and take up little space, making them great for a home gym.

    Thanks for your insightful posts: they really add to the depth of the discussion.
    Yet you were the one that denounced 'free weights' and limited it to bodybuilding and bulk.

    A lot of these crossfit things do nearly the exact same movements one that understands weight lifting esp those that include squats, power cleans and deadlifts into their programs.

    They are making a lot of money off people though to get told to do laps around the outside of the gym....lol.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by alkemyst View Post
    If you are working out at home a rubber floor, dumbbells and a good bench is really all you need for the basics. Moving up from that I'd recommend a loaded power rack with high and low pulleys. A power rack can be used in lieu of a spotter if set up properly and religiously.

    What are your goals though? For some weights are secondary to a good treadmill, climber, elliptical, rower etc.

    Definitely second-hand is the way to go...so many deals out there especially now.
    That is what you said. A power rack is a stupid, expensive, waste of space. An elliptical is a stupid, expensive, waste of space. A stair-stepper is a stupid, expensive, waste of space.

    A rowing machine is nice, but not at all essential. I want one, but I'd way rather have a ski-erg, or a nice set of rollers.

    All you need for bike fitness is a bike, a floor, and a pull-up bar, like somebody else said. What I want for a home-gym is informed by crossfit, because it is functional.

    It sounds to me like you are a machine fan-boi, or a typical gold's gym type work out guy. It is cool to knock crossfit, as you obviously know quite a bit about it.

    Have fun with your lat pull-downs.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by alkemyst View Post
    Yet you were the one that denounced 'free weights' and limited it to bodybuilding and bulk.

    A lot of these crossfit things do nearly the exact same movements one that understands weight lifting esp those that include squats, power cleans and deadlifts into their programs.

    They are making a lot of money off people though to get told to do laps around the outside of the gym....lol.
    I see you're having trouble reading, as well as stringing a sentence together. Let me try to parse what you mean.

    "A lot of these crossfit things do nearly the exact same movements one that understand weigh lifting esp those that include squats, power cleans and deadlifts into their programs."

    A major portion of crossfit is barbell work. In reality, not where you exist, evidently, most crossfit gyms and trainers start each workout with some barbell work - squats, or some variation, deadlifts, olympic lifts, etc. Real strength is a major part of crossfit.

    The other movements crossfit uses, while analagous to those barbell movements, are used in metabolic condition workouts, to increase general fitness.

    The two different methodologies complement the other. You are obviously ignorant and don't understand crossfit. Educate yourself, then bash it. Or educate yourself, try it, then bash it.

  34. #34
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    The guy said he has space for a home gym. He was looking for advice.

    Most people that have room for a gym have room for a power rack. Much of the crosscut stuff where you have room to let weights fall, spotters and the like don't exist at home. A rack allows this.

    Also you usually get a pullup bar as part of them. Much of the kettle bell stuff can be done with dumbbells which don't take up much space. The op can also supplement a few as well.

    I don't get why people are paying so much for crossfit if they know what they are doing, a GOOD gym will have most if not all of it.

    It was proven decades ago bodybuilding/traditional large compound lifts do not lead to muscle-boundness.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by playpunk View Post
    I see you're having trouble reading, as well as stringing a sentence together. Let me try to parse what you mean.

    "A lot of these crossfit things do nearly the exact same movements one that understand weigh lifting esp those that include squats, power cleans and deadlifts into their programs."

    A major portion of crossfit is barbell work. In reality, not where you exist, evidently, most crossfit gyms and trainers start each workout with some barbell work - squats, or some variation, deadlifts, olympic lifts, etc. Real strength is a major part of crossfit.

    The other movements crossfit uses, while analagous to those barbell movements, are used in metabolic condition workouts, to increase general fitness.

    The two different methodologies complement the other. You are obviously ignorant and don't understand crossfit. Educate yourself, then bash it. Or educate yourself, try it, then bash it.
    Duh this is what I have been saying. You need more than a silly kettle bell and rubber bands. A good complete home gym with weights is essential.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by alkemyst View Post
    Yet you were the one that denounced 'free weights' and limited it to bodybuilding and bulk.

    A lot of these crossfit things do nearly the exact same movements one that understands weight lifting esp those that include squats, power cleans and deadlifts into their programs.

    They are making a lot of money off people though to get told to do laps around the outside of the gym....lol.
    I was denouncing what 90% of what people do in the gym as bodybuilding based exercises. Sorry, if I wasn't clear enough, I did say most. There are plenty of good exercises with free weights. Yes, olympic lifts with barbells are great. Take up a fair amount of space, though. If the OP can fit a full rack, awesome.

    But to say, you need more than just kettlebells is silly. I know quite a few people that do just kettlebells and silly rubber bands that are quite strong. And you can put on some bulk from them, if you want to. It's all I do for strength training and I'm a big guy for a cyclist, 6'1" 190 lbs 8% BF, but the upper body strength is good for my job. I was 200 lbs same BF, when I did more free weights, but my current routine has let me slim down while keeping all the functional strength. If you haven't tried kettlebells, give it a shot in the off season. Give it 6-8 weeks and then tell me they don't do anything.


    And, once again, I'm not a crossfit guy. I also think their gyms are expensive for warehouses that have cheap equipment.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by lgh View Post
    Please explain. Kb's have been around for over a century, long before crossfit. Flat weights are attached to long bars. Long bars take up space, especially when you move them around.

    How old are you?

    Larry
    Lot's of 'exercise' gear has been around for centuries.

    Kettle bells are a new 'fad'. They don't really lend themselves to a home gym and will take up much more space than free weights. All these old time things make their reappearance and disappear again. For the average guy it's not a good match.

    "long bars" don't take up much more space than the average man putting his arms out to the side.

    A good bench and bar/300lb set of weights will lend itself to a better workout for most than having a couple kettle bells. If you have the room and space then it wouldn't hurt to add them. Somethings like Power Cleans just really can't be done in most peoples homes. Heck even some gyms don't allow them.

    I am 40 though, been lifting since my teens up until about 6 months ago. I need surgery on my shoulder and knee which is why I am now riding a bike.

    To others...I don't do a lot of machine work. I will do pull ups and lat pulldowns. I will do bent rows and low pulley rows. I do dead lifts and squats, but also leg presses. Bench with dumbbells.

    In the end whatever you are going to use regularly and have at least some fun with is all that matters.

  38. #38
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    Thanks for the replies folks, it's interesting to see what people use and consider essential.

    For what it's worth, my usual weight training is more about weight resistance than weight lifting and is complementary to my cycling. Basically I train my upper body to prevent arm, back, etc. fatigue during long rides. Since thre is limitedvalue to lifting heavy weights in cycling, I train resisting weight rather than lifting them. Of course a lifting base is required to prevent injury.

    An example is my sit-ups. Instead of doing redular sit-ups, I use a medicine ball that I throw when I reach the top of my sit-up and resist the weight of the ball coming down. This turns out very useful on the trail when you must resist the weight of your upper body because your front wheel drops. It saved me on many crashes where I hadn't seen a hole or when my hands slip on the grips and my body weight was going over the bars. Being used to resist a weight with my abs saved me fom crashing many times.

    I also raise "long bars" with my back bent 90 degrees and knees slightly bent. I lift the bar quickly, release it when reaching teh top and catch it/absorb its wieght when it goes back down. Again this simulates the impacts of riding off-road and proves very valuable.

    I started looking around to find out what's available to me and I think I'll go with medicine balls, kettle bells, plyos, a sit-up bench and a chin up bar with VKR arms. This would turn out a fairly cheap and "compact" setup.
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  39. #39
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    Double post
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by alkemyst View Post
    Kettle bells are a new 'fad'. They don't really lend themselves to a home gym and will take up much more space than free weights.
    How is that? I have 44, 53, and 62 lb KB's and combined they take up about 3 sq ft.

    If you know what you are doing they are great for generating strength and power.

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    By Singular in forum California - Norcal
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 05-14-2008, 01:58 AM

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