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  1. #1
    The Professor akohekohe's Avatar
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    Home Strength Training Machine

    I'm looking at getting a machine I can use at home for strength training. I like the machines better than freeweights. Any suggestions on a machine? I could go up to $5,000 but would consider going higher for that "must have" machine.

    P.S. I 'm 60, weigh 140 lbs, am 5'10" and ride about 150 miles a week, if that makes any difference for your recommendation.
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  2. #2
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    To each his own, but $5000.00 would pay the membership in an extremely good health club for a loooong time.

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    Forget about the machine!

    Buy some Kenestheseology books and learn how your skeletal muscle system works


    Then, start collecting dumbells.

    add to your collection as progress or targeted muscle groups require.

    You'll spend less than $500 and have better results.

  4. #4
    Junior Member sea coil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akohekohe View Post
    I'm looking at getting a machine I can use at home for strength training. I like the machines better than freeweights. Any suggestions on a machine? I could go up to $5,000 but would consider going higher for that "must have" machine.

    P.S. I 'm 60, weigh 140 lbs, am 5'10" and ride about 150 miles a week, if that makes any difference for your recommendation.
    This is not intended to talk you out of getting a "machine", or to sound like a lecture, just to give you two perspectives. I think many people dismiss freeweights too quickly.

    You say that you like machines better than freeweights. Does that mean that you've had at least a few workouts on at least a few different machines? Does that mean that you have tried a few dozen freeweight workouts under the guidance of someone who knows what he's doing?

    Machines are expensive. All-in-one multi-exercise machines are expensive and more often than not, junk. There are good "machines" out there, but they usually are specific to one or two exercises, and aimed at commercial gyms. Good machines allow natural movement throughout the exercise, bad machines force you to move the machine's way, which is often unnatural. Google "Smith machine." Basically, a good machine duplicates the natural movement and path of the corresponding freeweight exercise. The more exercises that are crammed onto a "machine", the more compromises you end up with.

    Many people are afraid that they will get hurt with freeweights. Machine or freeweight, proper form is crucial to lifting safely. You can get hurt just as easily on a machine, and machines encourage sloppy form and cheating.

    You can spend a few grand on a machine. You can get a 300 pound olympic set (bar and plates), some dumbells, a decent bench with integral squat stand, and a lat machine for rows and chinning movements for less than $1,000.

    The downside to freeweights is a little less convenience, a steeper (but not real steep) learning curve, and the need for a spotter on certain exercises.

    Just my two cents.
    Last edited by sea coil; 05-09-15 at 06:03 AM. Reason: forgot something

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    After four decades of machines, commercial gyms and home gym equipment, about four years ago I sold everything and now exclusively strength train with 'progressive' calisthenics and kettlebells. Machines have a tendency to isolate muscle groups and are better suited for tone than overall strength building. Whole-body barbell exercises like Jefferson squats, deadlifts, and power cleans are excellent strength training exercises and are safe to perform without a spotter. Free weights do have a tendency to take up alot of room though. My current exercise kit cost me about $500 and consists of kettlebells from 40-80 pounds and various pieces of furniture where I do many different bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight exercises imo are the king of real-world strength training...not many gym goers regardless of size and strength can do even one one-arm pullup or pushup or snatch an 80 pound kettlebell overhead. Check out books like 'Convict Conditioning' and 'Enter the Kettlebell'.

    Keith

  6. #6
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    From what I've read, most "experts" recommend free weights over machines.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale SuperSix EVO carbon

  7. #7
    Senior Member spdracr39's Avatar
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    If your going to spend that much go to the gym and see which machines you like then pick one that has those features. My $300.00 machine does 80-90 % of what some $5000.00 machines do.

  8. #8
    Member Needles's Avatar
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    I use a "Total Gym" for resistance training. It seems to be the most versatile of the various exercise machines. I also do kettle bells for some things. I also recommend kickboxing--- do 3-4 bag workouts a week and you'll definitely feel it. A good one combines arms, legs, abs, and cardio in between working the combos. I don't try to keep up with the kids; I just do what I can do.

  9. #9
    The Professor akohekohe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Needles View Post
    I use a "Total Gym" for resistance training.
    Thanks for actually answering my post and recommending a machine. They list 3 models on their website, the XLS, the FIT, and the Total Gym Home elite model costing $800, $1407, and $3,795. Do you think either the FIT or Total gym are actually worth the extra price?
    The more you drive the less intelligent you are. - Tracy Walter as Miller in Repo Man.

  10. #10
    Member Needles's Avatar
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    Mine is several years old, but I believe it's about the same as the XLS. Looks like a good deal, too, since the $800 is really about $1100 off. It looks like it comes with the accessories mine came with. When I got it, it was $15/month for the rest of your life. At least it seemed that way at the time. It gives you a wide variety of exercises, and uses your own weight on the ramp for the weight. You can raise or lower the ramp to get more or less resistance. Since it uses cables instead of rigid arms, you have to use your muscles to stabilize as well as lift, so it mimics free weights better than the other machines. Plus, it folds up. It's plenty beefy enough for my 200+ lb butt! The other two look to be just heavier duty versions of that one. (Except the "economy" model for $499, which looks a little wimpy to me.)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by akohekohe View Post
    Thanks for actually answering my post and recommending a machine. They list 3 models on their website, the XLS, the FIT, and the Total Gym Home elite model costing $800, $1407, and $3,795. Do you think either the FIT or Total gym are actually worth the extra price?
    From a fellow resident of paradise, I've been using a total gym (used to be their low end commercial model- Model 11000) for around 10 years. It's a great machine for many exercises, very convenient.

    I recently got a set of PowerBlock dumbbells. They are awesome. Mine are 75lbs per side and are adjustable from 15lbs to 75lbs in 2.5 lb increments. Best thing about them is they take up no more room than any single pair of dumbbells.

    Between the 2, plus some body weight exercises I have all I need.

  12. #12
    USMC Veteran qcpmsame's Avatar
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    Not trying to be a smart ass or impolite, but you should check the local CL, or the classified section of the paper for used units. So many people buy these home gym items and then fail to use them beyond a few weeks, or days. Then they decide to sell them off, seen many in weekend garage and yard sales around here. Even saw some fairly new units left at the curb to be taken for free recently. Just a thought to save a little coin.

    We have one of the original Nordic Skis, that gets used regularly, the quality was worth the bit of extra cost for it, still works beautifully.

    Bill
    Last edited by qcpmsame; 05-13-15 at 06:51 AM. Reason: spelling
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

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  13. #13
    Senior Member brianmcg123's Avatar
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    If I was you I would look into getting a used Soloflex (can be had in great condition $200 or less) and combined with some bowflex selectech dumbells. You will be able to get a great workout with that combination. I've owned a Soloflex for years and I think its the most versatile of the home gyms.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member locolobo13's Avatar
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    Just a couple of suggestions. First, do it yourself; Research the types of exercises you are interested in. Specifically, equipment like total gym where you are using bands and bodyweight vs machines using cables to lift weight stacks. Go to sport stores where they sell this type of equipment. Ask for demos, test drive a couple. You won't get to do a full workout but you should be able to determine which you prefer. I'm cheap but I could find something I really liked for less than half of your max price.

    Second idea, hire a physical trainer for about 6 mos. You should be able to find one for less than $100/mo depending. Don't just pick the first one. Find one that will work with you. Be up front and tell them you also want help in picking strength training equipment for home.

    BTW: I'm in the free weight camp. But not a fanatic. I believe if you want to be a strength athlete you need free weights. In your case my assumption is you want to improve your strength. So I say get what you want. Enjoy!

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