Home Gyms instead of free weights

Hi I wondered if anyone had any recommendations for Home Gyms that would be ok for doing low rep high weights. I can’t stand going to a gym and don’t want to use free weights as I think the potential for hurting myself with them is too great. Thanks

I have a power rack, Olympic bar and weights.
Can do heavy lifting safely. Rack has a multi position chin up bar attached.

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On the contrary, using free weights / dumbbells encourages the right technique plus enlists a bunch of stabilizer muscles that improve the overall effect you are getting.
As you improve your technique, you can safely increase the weight.


I think the OP meant doing things like a bench press with no one around to help if you get stuck.

Power rack at home. I even use it at the gym when benching at high % of 1 rep max.

A power rack should come with pins or straps to safely lift on your own. I have this setup in my garage and it works great. You can see my setup here Let's see your paincave!

I didn’t have space for the power frame so went with a rack with suitable supports for the lifts I had planned to do.

Google Photos

Yeah, I guess if you’re expecting to lift to failure, a safety rack would help for bench, squats, or other exercises where the weight is above you.

I couldn’t tell from the OP if that was the intent, or was asking more about general injury avoidance.

I’d go with a power rack as mentioned. I started with a smith bar setup and wish I had gone with a power rack as i found myself using Olympic bars much more than the smith rack.

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Another vote for a home power rack with safety bars



Basically it’s general injury avoidance as I’ve never done any sort of weights in my life (I’m in my early 60’s), so I really want to ease myself into it gradually. As I said I really don’t like gyms and the I don’t think going to them is really time efficient when I could do it at home. Hence my idea about one of these home/multi gym contraptions. Re: your other post about technique with free weights, I appreciate that but feel that initially one of these machines would help me get into it. If I just bought a load of free weights and a rack they would probably just stay on the floor unused.

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The best piece of exercise equipment is the one you’ll use :+1:t3:


Freeweights doesn’t just mean dumbbells. Barbell and plates would also be considered freeweights. Anything that isn’t connected to a machine via pulley. As @DaveWh points out, since the weights are unattached, you need to balance the weight with your whole body, recruiting a lot more stabilizing muscles. If your goal is injury avoidance, then this is something you really want. General strength building of the whole body. The problem with the “home/multi gym contraptions” is that they generally go for muscle isolation work. This can lead to muscle imbalances (strengthening some muscles, but the smaller supporting muscles remain weak) which isn’t desirable. Another problem is the way these muscles are developed. For example a seated leg extension is designed to strengthen the quadricep, but do you ever need your quadriceps when you’re sitting down pushing your legs up? Ideally what you’re looking for is compound muscle movements that mirror the real world. Take a look at the squat, which works nearly every muscle in your body and perfectly mirrors the movement of picking a heavy box up off the floor. Yes, you need to be conscious of technique so that you don’t hurt yourself, but it’s not that hard and very learnable (and there are tons of books and youtube videos available).

Before you commit to a bulky piece of equipment that you’re not sure you’ll use, I would recommend doing some reading first. Here are a couple of books to get started:

This book shows you the technique and proper biomechanics of the major lifts (which to be honest are all you actually need for general body conditioning). So, this book is the “how” of barbell training.

This book gives you an introduction to strength training for someone “off the couch”. Diet, motivation, mindset, structure and workout programming to get you started.

You can buy all the equipment in the world, but honestly all you really need is power rack, a barbell and a set of plates. It will not only be better for you, it’s likely a lot cheaper and take up less space than buying the contraption you’re mentioning.

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I understand the frustration with the gym, I plan my weight lifting more around the convenient gym hours as opposed to when it makes the most sense due to that. In your case however I would recommend finding a barbell gym with an experienced coach and do that for ~2-3 months. Once you get started and gain some confidence you’ll learn how to do it safely. Also if you’re a total beginner than I doubt the loads would be high enough to really cause much damage. Usually isolation machines only give the illusion of safely but can create really dangerous imbalances.

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Yep. I have a 40lb kettlebell, 40lb dumbbell, and a set of rock rings. That does it for me.

I tried the squat rack but disliked the idea of the weight being above me in case I slipped, etc. I have gone for a a deadlift hex bar. This allows me to pick up and then very much the same exercise as a squat. I also use a weight jacket which helps with keeping the weight centred.

For more stabiliser work I do single leg squats with bar bells and the weight jacket.

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I have always had issues with squats and deadlifts, and just tried deadlifting with the hex bar and problem solved.

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Thanks for all the advice everyone. I’ve decided to put on hold a multi gym whilst I try and find a local trainer /coach who understands that not all people who want to do weights wants to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’ll then decide on what to do after trying that route. I had a lower back problems for 30+years after a series of car accidents in my rallying days and they only cleared up when I retired and took up cycling. I’m scared stiff of them reoccurring if I do weights incorrectly.

Always Free Weights for me. You end using more muscles with Free Weights as you need to control the weight yourself instead of having a machine do it for you!

While I can see exceptions, say Squats for example… If I can still lift the weight over my head for a squat… well having no upper body strength being a cyclist… I’m calling that an Upper Body Workout too! :wink: