I’m too lazy to work out. No, don’t get me
wrong – the desire to lift weights is unbearable. I’m too lazy to do everything
that precedes and follows the training. You have to get dressed, go out,
go to the gym, change to your training outfit, go to the wight room where
you often waste time waiting for some not so modern or new machine is finally
vacated by some greasy, sweaty jocks, laying bare skin on the bench
without a towel layer and never wiping it afterward, resulting in wet, sticky,
smelly surface. It’s just disgusting. Moreover, you have to actually
speak with them and the training instructors, if you don’t want to be known
as an arrogant douchebag. When you done working out, you have to wait
while you cool down and dry, change back to your outside clothes and go
home. In my case, only the commute and changing takes about an hour. Wasting
an whole hour! An hour is what most people require for a work-out to keep
fit, and I was just wasting it, and given my job, family and other chores,
I don’t have much free hours on an average day.
Time usually means money, but in this case they add up. Gyms are expensive,
and they get only pricier over time. So, economically, it may be a better
idea just to buy all the necessary equipment to train at home. You should
get even after a couple of years, since you stopped paying John Doe the
gym owner for letting you use machines you already own.
And there actually was a time when I followed this path – I had an exercise bike,
and even a barbell complete with stand and bench. The cost really was like
a year admittance fee to a decent gym. But other issues araised.
The first one is of course, space. A barbell complete with stands and bench
use as much space as a double bed. And in small apartments, it is usually either
bed or barbell. You can’t fit both so you obviously choose bed. Collapsible and
removable constructions are not exactly convenient, as you have to do that
every time in very crumpled space. This leaves no option for flash trainings
like when you have spare 10 minutes and you want to pump some iron for a
selected muscle. You spend that time setting up your training space.
The next and most important issue is safety. First, there must be a lot of
free space around your barbel setup, so it won’t stuck or damage anything.
Second, the essence of any muscle gain training is making the last reps
at the very limit of you strength, almost breaking point. And yes, you may break.
This is where your training buddy has to help you remove the barbel from your
chest. In home setup, there is usually no one who can supervise you, and
the falling barbel may crush your chest, resulting on serious injury and even
death. So you probably won’t take risk, and will only lift the weight you
are sure about. You’ll be safer, but you can forget fast muscle growth. Even
if you won’t lock the barbells in hope you will be able to throw some of them
off the bar, it is still too risky. So I had to give up the idea of full-featured
home weightlifting gym. But.. an idea struck me a couple days ago.
In fact, it’s strange it didn’t dawn on me earlier.
Do you really need a whole gym at home? Yes, a gym has all those fabulous
serious looking sophisticated machines, big and heavy. But. Machines are for
really highly trained athletes. They restrict natural movement and thus
toll only one-two specific muscles. Accomplished bodybuilders use them to
achieve muscle separation. Gym newcomers who just want to become fit and
enjoy their own reflection in the mirror, don’t need those fancy machines,
and may never need them in their entire bodybuilding experience.
Barbel is a free weight. Such weight toll not only the basic muscles, but
also auxiliary muscles which do as much work as the main ones, and thus the
free weights trained body looks more natural and better proportioned.
Barbel is really important for such looks. The best thing about barbel is that
it allows you too train with maximum weight. But at a price of comfort, as
you have to hold the bar with two hands, which also limits your movement.
You know there are mini barbels, a separate one for each hand, don’t you?
They are called dumbbells, and dumbbells are my idea for compact home gym.
They don’t give you the maximum weight, that’s true. This is by far the only
drawback, and not that of a drawback, since the maximum weight is a very
subjective term. For instance, a 100 kilo (220 pound) barbel equals two
50 kilo (110 pound) dumbbells. 50 kilos dumbbells could be easily arranged.
So far with the drawbacks, from now on it’s only positive things. First, you
get the maximum movement freedom, unachievable with a barbell let alone with a
machine, since you don’t have to use both hands. The more movement freedom you
have, the better can you work out a particular muscle. Second, working with
only one dumbbell utilize those auxiliary muscles that stabilize your body
at maximum, resulting in a better workout and faster calories burn. Third,
you get maximum safety, as you you may just drop the dumbbell at the very first
sign on danger, and it will just fall on the ground, and will not hit your
chest will all the fucking weight. So you may lift those dangerous, on the
edge weight without training buddy. And forth, dumbbells occupy much less space
than a barbell of the same weight, and you also can utilize all your corners
and other unused space to store them. Here comes another interesting point. For
some reason, most people associate dumbbell training with only one exercise – biceps
curl. However, in reality you can train much more of your body. Even
better, a pair of dumbbells is the only thing you need to get a full body workout.
So, you don’t really need those lines of machines, benches and barbels
you see in an average gym. So, I purchased a pair of dumbbells. With
variable weight. You can see that they occupy the absolute minimum of space,
even though the joint weight is 40 kilos. I also stocked another 60 kilos
in a closet for the future growth. Well, there are some minor rubber wrapping
defects on one of the plates and one of the chrome on one of the locks peels
as if it is duct tape, showing early rust. So I will have to get these two
exchanged, if the seller won’t fuck my brains out about this, of course.
The price I payed equals 15 weeks admission fee of my local gym. So no I don’t
have to go anywhere, I can train any time I wish, even with micro-splits – say
you have 20 minutes in the morning to train one group, 20 minutes before lunch
to train another one, and 20 minutes before sleep. And this is my own, personal
intimate equipment no one is laying dirty greasy fingers onto. Besides, I
can train in my boxer pants and slippers. I don’t need to invest in quite expensive
training clothes anymore, which I couldn’t wear anywhere but in the gym and
I had to wash after each training session because of the disgustingly wet
benches. I’ve never seen cleaning personnel actually wipe the machines. Only
thing they do is vacuum the gym carpeting. So if you plan to invest n some dumbbells,
pay close attention to the plates. The come in standard weights, usually 15,
10, 5, 2.5, 1.25 and 0.5 kilos. The bar and locks add about 2.5kg more. Bear
in mind that this is a dumbbell. so if the plates the larger is the plates
diameter, the less comfortable they become. So better use 3 smaller plates by
5 kilos instead of one huge 15 kg plate. This should ease movements. But if
you still have to use large plates, there is a trick: put smaller diameter plates
closer to the center, and larger diameter places on the outside. That should
leave more space for handling. The the point is getting enough plates to
allow you increase weight by minimal increment. Keep in mind that a dumbbell
has two ends, and you’d better put the same weight on both on them. So if
you put a 1.25 plate in each side, the total weight increase is 2.5 kg, which
may be too much. This is the biggest open secret, the very essence of weight
training: small plates. The less, the better. Get 4 plates – that
is too for each dumbbell – of 0.5 kg plates. Or even better, 0.25 kg plates
if you are happy to find some. This will allow you increase weight by minor
500 grams. That means, that you would be able to add those 500 grams to your
training weight each week. This doesn’t seem much, and you will still be able
to perform all the reps will full amplitude, but this will give a substantial
2kg exercise weight increase every month. You can hardly do that without small
plates. You may also require an exercise bench for
certain moves, so get one. Alternatively you may use a stepper, which
I showed earlier.