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Equipment Outfitting a serious gym. Vendors & suppliers. Devices & equipment

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Old 08-22-2012, 12:31 PM   #1
Judy Eagles
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Location: Dawson Creek  BC Canada
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Bow Flex, Universal, or Free Weights

Hi folks. I am looking for some opinions. A student of mine (17yrs old) wants to start working out. He doesn't want to go to the gym, wants to be able to work out at home. He has asked what I would recommend: bowflex, universal gym or weights and a bench.

I don't know much about bowflex.....any ideas or suggestions I could pass on to the young lad. I have always been a big fan of the weights and bench, but sometimes you can become limited depending on the system you set up.

Thanks in advance for the advice.
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:39 PM   #2
Peter Keller
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Re: Bow Flex, Universal, or Free Weights

A kettlebell, a pullup bar, a speed rope, and some running shoes, point his web browser to WFS and he'll be on his way.
CEO, FringeSport WFS
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:42 PM   #3
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Re: Bow Flex, Universal, or Free Weights

Your post sounds like he's not interested in CF, but have you asked him why he doesn't want to go to a gym? Unless he can afford a decent array of equipment, getting the same results at home will be difficult, especially as a beginner. That being said, if he has his heart set out on lifting at home, I'd go with free weights. Otherwise, I'd agree with peter and get him some cheap home equipment and brainwash him into doing CF. Before you know it, he'll be addicted and he'll join a box.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:25 PM   #4
Robert Fabsik
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Re: Bow Flex, Universal, or Free Weights

Unless he buys a commercial grade universal, a lot of the other ones on the market are crap or don't have adequate weights for people who truly progress with strength. Also a universal is limiting the variety of movements.

Bowflex would probably be a better choice than a universal, but the one's I've tested have problems with weight increments--you have to go up in pretty big jumps in tension, whereas with weights you can go up at a more reasonable interval. Also, the bowflex has a strange strength curve on some movements and lower tension at the beginning of most movements which is the opposite of most free weight movements.

I feel that free weights will give him the most flexibility and can start as a base to a growing home gym. Whereas after a couple of years with the other pieces, he'd be wondering why he didn't start with the free weights.
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:31 PM   #5
Matt Davies
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Re: Bow Flex, Universal, or Free Weights

budget? Assuming because you mention bowflex and universal gym there is some money available.

How much? He could probably get a pretty good start to an actually useful home gym with the money he would spend on a bowflex or universal gym.

Things he can make himself for little cost:
PVC parallettes, PVC dip station, medicine balls, plumbing pipe pull up rig, plyo boxes, squat stands, tractor tire (scrounge one up),

Things he can buy for little cost:
skipping rope, climbing rope (contact a marine supply store, ask them to eye-splice it), gymnastic rings

Craigslist for a treadmill (running in a Dawson Creek winter might be more comfy indoors), bench, basic olympic bar and plates (ideally get some bumper plates but they aren't cheap)

Lots of "nice to have's" out there but with the stuff listed he could do most WOD's on with minimal substitutions. I'm probably missing things that can be built for cheap but this list should be a start. Bowflex or uni gym would be a waste of money, they're a recipe for exercise boredom and abandonment.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:49 AM   #6
Steve Jaeger
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Re: Bow Flex, Universal, or Free Weights

I think you will find a lot of the same advice here. No to the Bowflex or Universal gym. If he's interested in a Bowflex - he's probably got some funds available. For less than the cost of a new bowflex - you could seriously outfit your garage or basement.

For under $300 you can pickup 160lbs of bumpers including shipping. Pair them with a 'starter' bar on craigslist and your well on your way for probably $400 total cost.

Next - build your own or buy a ceiling mounted pullup bar - cost $50-$160.

Add a set of Gymnastics Rings and a Cable Jump Rope - $100 out the door.

So, with about $550-$650 you would be well equipped to perform about 70% of the WODs from the main page. Add more bumpers/steel as he gets stronger.

You can add Kettlebells, Med Ball, Plyo Box, Rower, Climbing Rope later if at all. There are plenty of substitutions for exercises here: [WFS]
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:22 PM   #7
Vilan Natanzon
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Re: Bow Flex, Universal, or Free Weights

Free weights will be cheapest and if not back squatting over 150 lbs, most compact.
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Old 08-26-2012, 03:21 PM   #8
Michael A. Jones
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Re: Bow Flex, Universal, or Free Weights

I would suggest scouring Craigslist for some inexpensive free weights, kettlebells and intro him to this site for help with homemade equipment. If he's still in school, I can imagine that he's on a budget. The Bowflex and universal systems would put a hurting on his wallet and take up too much area.....BB, some DBs and homemade med ball, jump rope, firehouse from local FD for battling rope and such should get the ball rolling.

Male/48/6'1"/205 lbs

Last edited by Michael A. Jones : 08-26-2012 at 03:22 PM. Reason: additional info
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:56 AM   #9
Andrew N. Casey
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Re: Bow Flex, Universal, or Free Weights

instead of free weights with a bench, make it free weights with a squat rack. can be obtained very cheap. with a squat rack, a barbell and some weights, and running he can accomplish much.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:06 PM   #10
Ben Orga
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Re: Bow Flex, Universal, or Free Weights

Nordic track or a Total Gym.
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