Some of the best equipment purchases I ever made were previously owned. Seriously, what’s the difference between a used weight and a new one? Gravity doesn’t affect them any differently. If you don’t like a little rust, a wire brush and a can of spray paint will make ‘em good as new.

FREE WEIGHTS
A foundation of many home and commercial gyms alike, your two options are standard or Olympic weights - the main difference being the diameter of bar they’re made for. Standard plates have a 1-1/8” hole and Olympic weights have a 2” diameter opening. I prefer the Olympic variety, but either way a pound is still a pound.

I have no control over any market prices mentioned in this report and all are subject to change. When comparing prices on weights, forget about the ergonomic grips, foam covered handles and any other marketing gimmicks. Price per pound is generally the best way to compare apples to apples. Typically, new weights can cost $.69/lb and higher but if you keep reading, you’ll learn how I find weights for as little as $.29/lb!
There are also those plastic weights filled w/concrete, or the turquoise foam covered dumbbells you can find at Target or Wal-Mart, but if you’re investing in a results-oriented home gym, you gotta think about what’s going to be useful for a lifetime.

VERSATILITY
If you’re starting your home gym from scratch, it makes sense to start with the pieces that’ll give you the most options. If nothing else, every home in America should have a set of adjustable dumbbells. As a rough guide, I’d suggest women start with weights that go up to 20lbs or so; men should at least double that amount – I highly recommend the PowerBlock SportBlock® and Personal PowerBlock®, respectively. An adjustable bench would be next on the list, but to keep costs down, a $25 stability ball can work just as well while you’re building the perfect home gym. They may look like toys, but heavy duty stability balls are burst resistant up to 800lbs – I’m always finding new exercises to do with the ball! By contrast, the ab-machine on the late night infomercial isn’t versatile at all, unless you consider a “clothes rack” or “yard sale item” an additional use.

Unless you’re opening a health club or are a high level strength athlete, you probably won’t need nearly as much equipment as I have - I own about 2000lbs of weight plus many other bits and pieces. So even though I’ll explain the ways I find low cost training tools, don’t get the impression that you need to buy everything (or anything for that matter) I discuss – get whatever is most appropriate for your goals, abilities and interests.

Also, keep in mind I’m in the fitness business so in addition to my own training needs, I need to maintain a variety of equipment to use with my clients. Start only with what you need – you can always get more along the way.

Home gyms are as unique as their owners so I can’t possibly tell you what you NEED in a simple e-book, but I will certainly show you how to save money (and maybe even have a little fun in the process!) on the equipment you WANT.

Wishing you the very best of health and fitness!

Author's Bio: 

Joe Stankowski is a noted fitness expert, co-author of "The Power of Champions" and a training adviser to Men's Fitness magazine.

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