Strength Equipment training is an essential component to any fitness program, and the benefits of incorporating an element of strength training are both numerous and well documented. Studies today show that even a mild amount of regular exercise with resistance can stimulate muscular development, increase bone density, lose excess body fat, tone and tighten your physique and greatly reduce stress for greater mental and physical health and well-being. Simply put, regular strength training will make you look and feel much better.
Unlike cardio conditioning, where the focus is on the heart and lungs, strength training focuses on the muscular and skeletal areas of your body. A weekly exercise program that features some cardio training and some strength training gives you a well-rounded approach towards your fitness goals. An additional bonus is that strength training provides you with a more varied training program. This variety ends the monotony that can happen when you train in only one method and also gives you greater overall results by targeting your physique from a different angle and methodology.
If you are looking to shed pounds, adding strength conditioning to your cardio program will give you an added boost by burning additional calories not only during your workout session, but long afterwards. With so many people today having sedentary jobs, it is even more important to set time aside for regular exercise to offset the debilitating long term effects of lack of movement. A strength training program causes your metabolism to burn faster even hours after your session is done, causing you to expend more calories during rest than you would without strength training. In doing so, strength training helps to keep those extra pounds off.
Men and women of various ages can experience results from strength conditioning and it is never too late to start a strength training program. Studies show that people well into their eighties can benefit from beginning a strength conditioning program. Working the muscles keep them lively and active. Strength training prevents muscle loss and, in fact, acts to regain lost muscle. It does the same with your bones. Strength training forces you to use your skeleton to support your body against the chosen resistance that you are using. This can stop bone density loss and even help to reverse it. Of course, if you are just starting out with strength training, you should first speak with your doctor and seek the advice and direction of a professional to make sure that you are training appropriately and safely so that you get the results that you want without injury.
The benefits of using strength equipment go well beyond just weight loss, muscle growth and bone health. Strength equipment also can lower your blood pressure and help your heart by increasing your good cholesterol levels (HDL) and decreasing your bad cholesterol levels (LDL).
So, if you want to get in shape, feel better, look better and live much healthier, you should add strength equipment training as a part of your lifestyle.
Things to Consider
Here you will find all kinds of equipment that you can choose from that will give you a strength equipment conditioning element for your exercise program. You will see that there is a wide variety of strength equipment to choose from. With such a large variety of strength equipment training styles and product offerings, you will be able to find just the right method that works for you so that you will have equipment that you will want to use and that you will use regularly. You want to consider how much time you will a lot to your training, what results you are looking to get from your training, how much money you are looking to spend for your strength equipment and what type of strength training interests you.
If you are generally short on time and are allocating about 15 minutes or so for strength training, equipment that is easy to use and allows you to move quickly from one exercise to the next while giving you a full body workout in a small specified amount of time is for you. You will want to choose equipment that allows you to train more than one muscle or muscle group at a time, thereby still giving you a high-quality training session in a reduced period of time. Such a workout is efficient and expedient.
If you are looking to start your strength program on a small budget, there are several options available that you will find on this site that fit that bill. You don’t need to spend a ton of money to strength train properly, but you do need to get equipment that works properly and that you will use regularly. If you are looking for a more extensive strength training apparatus and have the budget for that, there are several types of machines for both home and commercial use that are a great fit.
The type of training that you want to do also determines the best strength equipment for you. Heavier weights, free weights and other equipment are best suited for individuals looking for muscle growth. If you are looking to add to the quality and performance of things that you do on a regular basis in your daily life at work or in your hobbies, equipment that aids in the development of those skills is for you. This type of training focuses of functional skills as opposed to just muscle growth. Ask yourself why you are interested in strength training and then look for equipment that fits your answer.
Types of Strength Equipment
With almost as many variations as you can imagine, home gyms, (also called multi-stations), like the Body Solid Powerline Home Gym. They are often the perfect solution for strength training in the privacy of your home or office. They give you several different exercise stations on the same machine to provide a convenient and affordable way to enjoy a total body workout. The MWM-990 Home Gym by Marcy has many great features that don’t break the bank. Many home gyms are designed to save space and can fit in a smaller area of your home workout room. Home gyms can come in single weight stack or multi weight stack options. Some larger units feature a leg press or even a cable crossover machine.
Although most home gyms use weight stacks for their resistance, other options include rods, thick rubber bands, resistance coils and even digital control resistance. Although the resistance used may be different and give you a different feel when training, the basic concept is the same with all home gyms – to provide you with an all-in-one piece of exercise equipment for strength training.
Because home gyms give you the ability to perform different exercises from the same position, they are an ideal solution if you are looking for a way to strength train with a quick routine. By simply grabbing a different handle or making a simple adjustment, you can change from one exercise to another without needing to reposition yourself such as the Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym.
Resistance Tubing and Bands
Resistance tubing and strength bands are an extremely affordable way of developing your muscles with a strength training program. Unlike home gyms that generally use weight stack resistance, the resistance from resistance tubing and strength bands comes from the stretching of the tube of band itself. The further that the tube or band stretches, the greater the resistance.
The Bodylastics Stackable MAX XT Resistance Bands Set is one of the best available, check our review for more information.
Resistance tubing and strength bands require extremely little space to train with. Some come with door hanger attachments that allow you to simply place it over your door and train with your bands from there. When not in use, they can be put away so that your room is freed up for other uses. Another great benefit to resistance tubing and strength bands is that you can put them in your gym bag and take them with you if you are on a business trip, want to train outdoors, or even are on vacation and do not want to miss out on your fitness training.
If you are looking for a way to definitively measure the amount of weight that you are using, resistance tubing and strength bands are not your best choice. This resistance does not equate to pounds or kilograms like what is used with home gyms, free weight and plate loaded equipment. Whereas weight remains a constant throughout the exercise, (a 45 pound plate is a 45 pound plate no matter what exercise you are doing), the resistance of tubing and strength bands is much more fluid, changing throughout the exercise as the tube or band stretches.
Because there are no restricted movements, the amount of exercises that you can do with this type of apparatus is practically limitless.
Free Weight Equipment
Many people think of benches, squat racks, power racks and preacher curl benches when they think of strength training. These types of pieces are called free weight equipment and are generally considered the foundation for strength training for building large muscles for athletic performance and bodybuilding. Free weight equipment is used for basic movements to produce muscle growth and strength. It requires a bar and weight plates to be used along with the specific piece of equipment. The bar and plates can also be used separately for a wide array of stand-alone exercises.
Unlike home gyms with a set amount of weight on each weight stack, free weight equipment allows you the capability of adding additional weight plates when your strength goes beyond the amount of weight that you currently have. Weight plates are inexpensive and can be added whenever you are ready.
Your free weight collections isn’t complete without a set of dumbbells and we recommend Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells.
Free weight equipment may require the use of a spotter, (someone to help you in case you get stuck mid-exercise), so it is not as safe to use alone as other forms of strength training, but it is the standard strength training apparatus that other forms have sprung from. Free weight equipment also requires more room than other forms of strength training equipment because of the weight bar, so you should take the bar into account when considering your space in your home gym.
Body Weight Equipment
Body weight equipment is any strength training equipment that uses your own body weight as its resistance. Abdominal sit up units, back hyperextensions, knee raise / dip stations (VKR), push up handles, pull up bars and several other pieces of equipment are all body weight pieces. Some body weight units employ cables that you use to pull your body along a rail system. With this system, the higher the degree of incline that you position your seat, the greater the resistance and, hence, the more difficult the exercise. The most that you can offset your body weight with such a machine is about 70 per cent so, if you are needing heavier weight than that for your strength training goals, this is not the best system for you. Another form of body weight exercise is suspension training. This puts your body in various positions while your hands or feet are in straps and you go through different exercise movements. With suspension training, your body placement delineates the degree of difficulty.
Body weight equipment is generally simple to use and not very space consuming. It is also affordable, but you may need to get more than one type of body weight piece to properly hit all of your body since each piece is often designed for specific muscle groups, (sit-up boards for abdominals, chin up bars for back and biceps, push up handles for chest and triceps). One of our personal favorites is the TRX Home Gym which as everything you need to get you started in body weight training. The Total Gym XLS – Universal Home Gym which is endorsed by none other than Chuck Norris is a must have for your home gym.
Since there is no, or very little, resistance, body weight equipment relies upon the use of greater repetitions or much slower movement to get the required results. Other types of body weight equipment that have added resistance are dumbbells, kettle bells, medicine balls, slam balls, wall balls, fitness ropes, body bars and plyometric boxes.
Body weight equipment is a great addition to other strength training equipment to give you variety and a fuller strength training experience.
Plate Loaded Equipment
Plate loaded equipment is similar to free weight equipment in that weight plates are necessary for it to be used. With plate loaded equipment, the weight plates are put directly on weight posts that are attached to the machine as opposed to a separate bar that is needed with free weight equipment.
Examples of plate loaded equipment are – 45 degree leg press, hack squat, t-bar row, dip machine, plate loaded lat pulldown, seated calf raise, standing calf raise and plate loaded bicep curl.
Some plate loaded equipment uses independent arm action so that you can train in better accordance with your body’s own strength and weaknesses. If your right arm is stronger than your left, you can load the machine differently on each arm so that you can train your weaker side to catch up with your stronger arm. This type of plate loaded equipment is also called leverage equipment and often utilizes converging or diverging paths of motion so that your muscles are targeted deeper.
As with free weight equipment, it may take a few pieces of plate loaded equipment to give you all that you need. However, a leverage plate loaded multi-station home gym would have al that you need for a total body workout in one unit.
Plate loaded equipment is more expensive than free weight equipment and less that weight stack home gyms.
Choosing the Best Home Strength Equipment for You
With so many options available for you to choose from for your strength training equipment, there is no single answer to what is the best equipment for any given home gym. The best strength equipment for your home gym is the equipment that best suits your needs – training goals, budget and room size. It also needs to be equipment that fits how you want to train.
A multi-station home gym is ideal for convenience if you have the right amount of space. Plate loaded equipment is an affordable alternative to a multi-station weight stack home gym and provides you with all that you need for a complete workout. Free weight equipment is the standard bearer for strength training and is ideal for bulk muscle building and athletic training, but it generally requires more area and is not a self-contained unit. Body weight equipment, resistance tubing and strength bands all are affordable and space saving, giving you a different type of resistance and feel in your training.
The determining factor is its usability for you. The best strength training equipment, no matter the style, is the equipment that you will use on a regular basis.