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  1. #1
    Registered User Parias1126's Avatar
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    Help with final decision for home gym

    I'm trying to make a final decision on what to go with for my home gym purchase. You guys gave already been such a great help! I have been researching the Super Bench since it was mentioned to me here. I have a small space in a 10X10 room that I can utilize. My one concern about the Super Bench is the height. I'm female and 5'5". My husband is 6'. I worry that I won't be flat in my feet on this bench when it's in a flat position. I read one post where someone had stated that the bench was fine for his wife who was 5'7" so it got my curious. I got out a tape measure and measured from the bottom of my knee to the bottom of my foot and I got 19"! Then my husband measured and he was only 18". We were surprised to say the least. So possibly this bench would be ok? What's your opinion?

    I'm also debating between the Powerblock dumbbells and the IM dumbbells. Anyone have experience with both? I've only seen the Powerblocks at a local retailer and really love them.

    There is also this which seems like a great deal? Or is it? I seem to have forgotten I can't post links! Ah! It's a Nautilus Smith System in Charlotte, NC. Would love if someone could look it up. It's the only one! It's only $350.

    Which would you go with? The IM stuff I wouldn't be able to try out which is my only concern with regard to the height thing. It also tajes up less space. The smith seems like a great deal, but not sure I want all that space taken up if I can get the same workout as time goes on and I am able to add attachments to the IM set up.

    I also found an IM on CL. Unsure though since it looks like an older set? And the bench doesn't look like the IM bench in the photo? Again, I can't post the link, but this is the IM 950 in Moorseville, NC for $750.
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  2. #2
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    didnt read your post

    but i WOULD NOT recommend a home gym, after a while you will want to back to regular gyms and you will become demotivated working ou at home. I set up a home gym and later realised the gym environment is a very good tool to utilize for motivation and just having that 'place' to focus or release frustrations that might be kept in your home environment.
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    Registered User SugarFree1's Avatar
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    Powerblocks are great for saving space and there nicely priced. With that said though if you have the money and space to spare its much nicer and easier in your workouts to have seperate dumbbells just to grab and use rather then sitting there changing the selector pins back and forth between sets.
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    Registered User Paulie_G's Avatar
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    I've owned Powerblocks, and currently own the Ironmasters. Both of them are quality products. Ironmaster feels much more like pro stlye dumbells, but take a bit longer to switch out weight. Powerblocks take a bit more getting used to, but are super quick to change out. The one thing I like better about the Ironmasters are how "beefy" they are. If I ever have to set the dumbbells down hard, I know they will be ok. I'm not as confident about this with the Powerblocks.

    I would stay away from the smith machine, especially if you are looking at it as a primary means of weight training. Buy a rack, bench, barbell and weight plates instead.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Parias1126's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by brendan0076 View Post
    didnt read your post

    but i WOULD NOT recommend a home gym, after a while you will want to back to regular gyms and you will become demotivated working ou at home. I set up a home gym and later realised the gym environment is a very good tool to utilize for motivation and just having that 'place' to focus or release frustrations that might be kept in your home environment.
    I happen to enjoy working out at home and lost my first 60 pounds at home with workout videos, an elliptical, and walking in the fresh air outside. I joined the gym because I wanted to start lifting and my children went to school. I miss working out at home. I'm sick of waiting for a bench or machine to be available because people are socializing around it in between sets as they take turns.....sometimes groups of three!

    I would love to be at home, blare my own music and have my privacy. I don't have to worry about anything other then getting my workout done. This morning, the only treadmill that was available at my gym was next to two moms that were socializing the entire time. I had my iPod on the highest volume which is pretty loud and could still hear them telling their silly stories, laughing obnoxiously, etc.

    I don't care for the gym. I have my own extra space at home that is all mine and want to use it for something I enjoy.
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  6. #6
    Registered User emp1acur's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by brendan0076 View Post
    didnt read your post

    but i WOULD NOT recommend a home gym, after a while you will want to back to regular gyms and you will become demotivated working ou at home. I set up a home gym and later realised the gym environment is a very good tool to utilize for motivation and just having that 'place' to focus or release frustrations that might be kept in your home environment.
    This is a personal decision. This forum is full of people with home gyms that would not have it any other way. This wasn't the OPs concern at this point. Probably would have helped if you read OPs post.

    OP - haven't seen other posts of yours, but is a rack and OLY set in the plans?
    Last edited by emp1acur; 02-19-2013 at 07:15 AM.
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    Registered User maltralson's Avatar
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    I had the powerblocks sport 9.0's with out any upgrades, and when I priced out the cost to add the upgrades to 130's and buy a stand for them, compared to the cost of Ironmasters and then the 120 lb upgrade I decided to sell off the powerblocks and get the ironmasters, way more durable, come with the stand, and feel very solid.

    Powerblock Pros: Fast weight change, comfortable grip, seem durable, reasonable initial cost Cons: Weight pins get caught on stuff, they rattle, and cant drop them, upgrades and stand are expensive, plastic parts

    Ironmaster Pros: Very solid, can be dropped, all metal, nice company to deal with Cons: Paint chips easily, slower weight changes, the stand isn't super sturdy when it isnt loaded up with plates, high initial cost

    And as for the bench I have a bench I bought used that is 20" off the ground and I can't put my feet flat on the ground and can't stand it for that fact, so if i were you I would go try out benches that are of similar heights to the Ironmaster bench to see if you can plant your feet or are comfortable with not being able to plant your feet.
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    Oh, I hate when this happen. I meant to post an hour ago, but clicked on the "Go Advanced" and left without checking it got submitted... xD

    Originally Posted by brendan0076 View Post
    didnt read your post

    but i WOULD NOT recommend a home gym, after a while you will want to back to regular gyms and you will become demotivated working ou at home. I set up a home gym and later realised the gym environment is a very good tool to utilize for motivation and just having that 'place' to focus or release frustrations that might be kept in your home environment.
    This will varied from one person to another, as it is a very subjective issue. You can't say that she and her husband will eventually want to go back to a public gym and no longer appreciate what they have at home. There are many people on and outside this site who has their own home gym and have been happy with it for many years, to the point that they would invest a large space of their home and money to buy many commercial equipments (there have been a few projects where they expanded their home or build entirely new building in their backyard for one). This section alone should be evident of that.

    If anything, I personally find a public gym to be a rather inconvenience especially on a tight schedule. Spending 10-15 minutes driving to and from the gym, having to abide by rules that would limit some of the lifts I do because "it's not safe", having to wait on certain equipments that is being occupied especially during crowded times where people who are trying to get in shape for the New Years and spend most of their time talking between sets, etc. There have been occasions that I could not finished my workout session within my schedule because of all of that s*** when I should have been using that time focusing on my lifts.

    Working out for so long, it is now part of my lifestyle I can't do without whether it's at home or at a gym, but I much rather choose an option that is more convenient for me. If you need to stay motivated, write a training log to monitor your progress (this $1 notebook what help me a lot when I was younger and still do), train with friends and family members, set up a speaker system, put different workout variation to your routine occasionally, etc. Hell, the satisfaction of knowing I am working out on the equipment that I had bought is motivation in itself.

    Anyways, while it is unfortunate that a home gym wasn't for you, I don't think it's a good idea to immediately dismissed the option of having one especially if you aren't going to read the post. If possible, buying their equipment used is often recommended. This way they can actually experience it and decide from there. If it turn out that it isn't for them as well, they could easily sell it for about the same price they had bought it. Sometime even making a profit out of it. There's no harm or foul. On the other hand, the dismissal of it will force them to live with any potential inconvenience with a monthly fee.
    Last edited by qwan456; 02-19-2013 at 07:48 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Originally Posted by emp1acur View Post
    This is a personal decision. This forum is full of people with home gyms that would not have it any other way. This wasn't the OPs concern at this point. Probably would have helped if you read OPs post.

    OP - haven't seen other posts of yours, but is a rack and OLY set in the plans?
    Right now, to start with, I want to go with a bench and dumbbells. When my workout takes me further, which I know it will, I will invest in the other pieces. I'm trying to build slowly because that is what funds will allow for right now. Especially if I'm looking at IM stuff. It's pretty expensive. My biggest concern at this point is the height of the IM bench. I would love to start with the IM bench and later on add the cable tower or self spotting system. I may change my mind later and decide to go with a rack and OLY set instead of the IM extras, but for now I think I can get my entire workout in with just a bench and a good set of dumbbells. My biggest concern is buying the IM bench sight unseen and not being able to try it out first. If I'm prepping to do presses, I need to be able to support the dumbbells with my legs before rolling them back to do my presses. If my feet can't touch the ground, then I'm afraid I won't be able to support the weight of the dumbbells while I lay back. I just don't want to purchase a bench sight unseen and regret my purchase. I have read it sits 20" off the ground while laying flat. I am 19" from the back of my knee to the bottom of my foot. I'm just not sure that is tall enough. I'm also utilizing the bench to perfect my squat. I didn't even realize until recently that I wasn't going low enough when squatting so I have been using the bench when I squat to assure that I'm squatting low enough and getting the most out of my workout. If the bench is too high, then this won't work for me. The pain I feel in my legs right now tells me that the extra bench guidance this past week has really helped me.

    I do have a store locally, but they carry Body Solid and Inspire. I didn't care for the Inspire, but will go with Body Solid if I find that IM won't work out because of the height.
    Last edited by Parias1126; 02-19-2013 at 07:52 AM.
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  10. #10
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    If money is a major factor, I'd save money and not buy the power blocks. I have regular standard weights that screw on, sure it takes a little more time....but I'd rather have the money I spent put to better use....more weights, save for a power rack, horse stall mats

    check craigslist for everything you need, there's usually a good deal if you don't mind waiting till you find one. Everything in my home gym came from craigslist
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  11. #11
    Registered User emp1acur's Avatar
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    You are probably answering your own questions here - I don't blame you about not wanting to go IM sight unseen. Despite all the great reviews, it is quite well acknowledged that it is a high bench. I have not seen one in person either.

    There is a Body Solid (can't remember model - you've probably read about it) that gets great reviews as well. You'll have to decide

    As for the dumbbell first plan, I don't think its a bad way to do. You'll know when you need to go beyond that. I actually started out that way - bought a small selection of individual dumbbells, and told myself that if I work out consistently, then I'll look into going further. I had never gotten into weight training so I wanted that phase of proving to myself that I would stick with it. At the time I planned on buying a machine as my next thing, but then I found BB dot com and discovered the whole rack/bench/OLY set concept and the rest was history. After dumbbells for a couple of months, I took the plunge. However, I continue to use them and they'll always be valuable as a component of my setup.

    All that to say, sounds like you've got things under control. I love my home gym and next on the list for me is rubber flooring for it. Good luck! Will be interested to hear what you go with.

    Edit: Sorry, it was Body Craft bench that I was thinking of that is often compared against the IM, as in this review which you've probably seen

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...nmaster+versus
    Last edited by emp1acur; 02-19-2013 at 08:45 AM.
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  12. #12
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    OP, I've suffered similar difficulties concerning bench height. I recently brought in a flat utility bench from the garage to fit into my power rack, leaving the flat/incline bench out in the garage due to it being just a bit too high. Now, I've put down a couple of 35# olympic plates on the floor to make up the height difference to get a good, flat, foot for solid leg drive. That's worked, but I eventually got tired of doing that every time I put that bench inside of the rack. I'll cut it down to the right height and weld on some flat stock to the bottom of it to make it more user-friendly. I'm just guessing that you're not intending on cutting or welding anything for your home gym. You could always use something like planks or plates or floor mats to make up the difference in height for you and your husband. My wife avoids this difficulty simply by staying off of the bench except to sit on it to watch me train.

    As far as the dumbbells are concerned, if you're choosing between those two brands it's merely a matter of preference and availability for your price. Both are excellent choices. I use pro-style dumbbells that I've had for many years, but I've used both of your choices, and I prefer the IMs because they feel more like a "real" dumbbell. It's just a funny feeling to have my hand captured inside of a powerblock. One thing I didn't get from the original post is whether you've considered a simple set of spinlock dumbbell handles with plates. They're dirt cheap, and about as quick to change as the IMs.

    A good home gym, designed for your goals, is a pleasure to own. I trust you've discovered that. Good luck.
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    Originally Posted by KeithTheSnake View Post
    OP, I've suffered similar difficulties concerning bench height. I recently brought in a flat utility bench from the garage to fit into my power rack, leaving the flat/incline bench out in the garage due to it being just a bit too high. Now, I've put down a couple of 35# olympic plates on the floor to make up the height difference to get a good, flat, foot for solid leg drive. That's worked, but I eventually got tired of doing that every time I put that bench inside of the rack. I'll cut it down to the right height and weld on some flat stock to the bottom of it to make it more user-friendly. I'm just guessing that you're not intending on cutting or welding anything for your home gym. You could always use something like planks or plates or floor mats to make up the difference in height for you and your husband. My wife avoids this difficulty simply by staying off of the bench except to sit on it to watch me train.

    As far as the dumbbells are concerned, if you're choosing between those two brands it's merely a matter of preference and availability for your price. Both are excellent choices. I use pro-style dumbbells that I've had for many years, but I've used both of your choices, and I prefer the IMs because they feel more like a "real" dumbbell. It's just a funny feeling to have my hand captured inside of a powerblock. One thing I didn't get from the original post is whether you've considered a simple set of spinlock dumbbell handles with plates. They're dirt cheap, and about as quick to change as the IMs.

    A good home gym, designed for your goals, is a pleasure to own. I trust you've discovered that. Good luck.
    As far as the spinlock dumbbells, what would you recommend? Do you have a link to these online? Would Amazon carry these? I'm going to do a search right now on Amazon and check them out.

    I am trying to do this the cheapest way possible so thank you for the suggestion.

    I just don't want a cheaper bench after all the posts I have read here. If that was the case, I could run to Walmart right now. No thank you! LOL This chick is steering clear of anything that says Golds Gym or Marcy thanks to this awesome forum with such helpful individuals! Wondering if I should make a trip over to the my local fitness store today and check out the Body Solid bench one more time. For some reason, the guy there kept steering me away from the leg developer and told me not to buy it. He told me it was too hard on the knees and to just do squats instead. Is this information correct? What other attachments do you think I would need to get a complete full body workout? Can I add everything I need to a Body Solid bench over time if I go this route instead of IM? The IM stuff just seemed "easy" since you can just buy piece by piece as you have the funds.
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    One other thought - I personally wouldn't rule out ordering something online if you find what you want and it isn't at the local store. Most things I have now I had to order online, because my local store just doesn't carry enough selection. When I do lots of research on here and come up with what I want, inevitably its not at the local stores. So, I buy what I really want rather than go for something because it happens to be in my city.

    Having said that I don't know anything about those models of benches you have locally.
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    Originally Posted by Parias1126 View Post
    I'm trying to make a final decision on what to go with for my home gym purchase. You guys gave already been such a great help! I have been researching the Super Bench since it was mentioned to me here. I have a small space in a 10X10 room that I can utilize. My one concern about the Super Bench is the height. I'm female and 5'5". My husband is 6'. I worry that I won't be flat in my feet on this bench when it's in a flat position. I read one post where someone had stated that the bench was fine for his wife who was 5'7" so it got my curious. I got out a tape measure and measured from the bottom of my knee to the bottom of my foot and I got 19"! Then my husband measured and he was only 18". We were surprised to say the least. So possibly this bench would be ok? What's your opinion?
    Your 6' tall husband will be fine with the IM Super Bench.

    When my 5'7" tall wife uses our Super Bench for flat dumbbell bench press, she either puts her feet up on the bench or puts her toes on the floor.

    If you decide to go with the Super Bench, you'll need to use some sort of platform for your feet. The steps used for step aerobics would probably be perfect. They're stackable, so if one step isn't enough, you can stack two or even three. You'll need a step (or a stack of them) on each side of the bench. Thick phone books, concrete paving stones, and weight plates can also be used as platforms for your feet.
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    Originally Posted by Parias1126 View Post
    I also found an IM on CL. Unsure though since it looks like an older set? And the bench doesn't look like the IM bench in the photo? Again, I can't post the link, but this is the IM 950 in Moorseville, NC for $750.
    Here's a link to the listing: http://charlotte.craigslist.org/spo/3595914618.html

    The bench is not a Super Bench. I don't know what kind of bench it is.

    I think the $750 price tag is too high for that equipment.

    When I searched for "Ironmaster" on http://charlotte.craigslist.org, I came up with several other hits including one for a Super Bench.
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    Originally Posted by KBKB View Post
    Your 6' tall husband will be fine with the IM Super Bench.

    When my 5'7" tall wife uses our Super Bench for flat dumbbell bench press, she either puts her feet up on the bench or puts her toes on the floor.

    If you decide to go with the Super Bench, you'll need to use some sort of platform for your feet. The steps used for step aerobics would probably be perfect. They're stackable, so if one step isn't enough, you can stack two or even three. You'll need a step (or a stack of them) on each side of the bench. Thick phone books, concrete paving stones, and weight plates can also be used as platforms for your feet.
    Thank you so much for this post! You have answered my question and have been so helpful. I plan on buying the steps anyways for other exercises so that may just work out! I just love all the add on options for this particular bench without taking up a ton of room in my office.
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    Originally Posted by KBKB View Post
    When I searched for "Ironmaster", I came up with several other hits including one for a Super Bench.
    I saw the one for the bench and have avoided it because I don't want the dip or pull up bar. Now I'm realizing I will spend $320 just for the bench without anything included by ordering it online. Thank you for bringing this up. I had seen it and still wasn't completely sure what I was going to go with. It is an hour for me, but still may be well worth it. Looks like it has been kept indoors and is very clean too which is a super plus.
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    ROADTRIP!!!
    southbend.craigslist.org/spo/3617955967.h t m l


    norfolk.craigslist.org/spo/3627717003 . h t m l


    columbus.craigslist.org/spo/3619634087 . h t m l (older style) buy the new ones or wait on these as they are outdated.

    I have both power blocks and ironmasters, plus the bench. I am tall so I can't comment on height. Powerblocks are great for circuit training and drop sets, ironmasters are great for more traditional heavy lifting in my experience. I will look for powerblocks in your area too.
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    I see you are in Monroe, NC. If you were a bit closer to the TN border, I would sell you my Ironmaster Superbench on the cheap, as I only use it for shoulder presses. Since you are like 3 hours from me, it probably will not be worth your time. It looks like you are just an hour and 1/2 from Hickory. There are 2 major used commercial gym equipment stores in that area. One is 26-Fitness, and the other is Allfit, in Conover. THIS is where you should get your equipment from. Chances are, they will have some Bodymasters benches, or other lower to the ground benches, in the $200 range. You'll probably be able to get Pro style or hex dumbbells on the cheap there too.
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    So I spoke to the guy with the used IM bench on Craigslist. Supposedly, he bought this bench 4-5 years ago. It seems like a great deal, but my only concern is whether I will be able to buy the current attachments for the older bench. Has the newer updated bench had anything changed to it? Would I have to find older attachments to complete the gym in the future?
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    Originally Posted by Paulie_G View Post
    I see you are in Monroe, NC. If you were a bit closer to the TN border, I would sell you my Ironmaster Superbench on the cheap, as I only use it for shoulder presses. Since you are like 3 hours from me, it probably will not be worth your time. It looks like you are just an hour and 1/2 from Hickory. There are 2 major used commercial gym equipment stores in that area. One is 26-Fitness, and the other is Allfit, in Conover. THIS is where you should get your equipment from. Chances are, they will have some Bodymasters benches, or other lower to the ground benches, in the $200 range. You'll probably be able to get Pro style or hex dumbbells on the cheap there too.
    Thank you so much! I will check them out and see what I can find this weekend. I didn't realize I had any other fitness store within an hour from me.
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    Your in a pretty good location for second hand stuff, so don't be in a rush. You should definitely check out the used commercial gym equipment stores and if you can run across a Bodymasters bench in the $200 price range as Paulie suggest, you should grab it. I would be willing to pay twice as much for a Bodymasters bench as I would for an Ironmaster or Body Solid.
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    Originally Posted by Parias1126 View Post
    Thank you so much! I will check them out and see what I can find this weekend. I didn't realize I had any other fitness store within an hour from me.
    26-Fitness and Allfit will not be open on the weekends. 26-Fitness will be your best bet to find a commercial bench at a good price. Yes you can talk them down on price and I strongly recommend that you do so. Remember that you can spray paint a bench frame to make it look nice again. Try to find one with the seat covering in good condition. 26-Fitness is on 21st street or ave. next to Woodworkers Supply about 3/4 mile off of interstate 40 in Hickory, N.C......Allfit will be moving to north Charlotte later this year.
    Last edited by deadwoodgregg; 02-19-2013 at 12:40 PM.
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    Originally Posted by brendan0076 View Post
    didnt read your post

    but i WOULD NOT recommend a home gym, after a while you will want to back to regular gyms and you will become demotivated working ou at home. I set up a home gym and later realised the gym environment is a very good tool to utilize for motivation and just having that 'place' to focus or release frustrations that might be kept in your home environment.

    Dude, you're definitely in the wrong forum.
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    Originally Posted by Parias1126 View Post
    So I spoke to the guy with the used IM bench on Craigslist. Supposedly, he bought this bench 4-5 years ago. It seems like a great deal, but my only concern is whether I will be able to buy the current attachments for the older bench. Has the newer updated bench had anything changed to it? Would I have to find older attachments to complete the gym in the future?
    If we're talking about this listing...

    http://charlotte.craigslist.org/spo/3609668465.html

    ...it looks the same as my bench aside from the fact that the base is painted white.

    I am fairly certain that new/current attachments will work with that (somewhat older) bench.
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    Originally Posted by Parias1126 View Post
    I saw the one for the bench and have avoided it because I don't want the dip or pull up bar.
    The dip attachment can be used for other movements besides dips. You can, for example, set the bench at an incline with the handles pointing in the direction of the padding. You then lean back against the bench, grab the handles and do inclined leg raises.

    A pull up bar is useful too for working the lats. If you can't do unassisted pull ups (yet), you can still do negatives or do band assisted pull ups. My daughter used heavy bands (and then lighter bands) to progress from doing assisted pull ups to unassisted pull ups. She can't do very many, but she was very proud of the fact that she was one of the few girls in her class that could do them.
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    Originally Posted by Parias1126 View Post
    As far as the spinlock dumbbells, what would you recommend? Do you have a link to these online? Would Amazon carry these? I'm going to do a search right now on Amazon and check them out.
    You can actually get these at Walmart. THe dumbbell handles accept Standard (1 inch hole) weight plates, and they have threaded ends with nuts on them. You screw the nut (aka spinlock) onto the end and tighten everything down once you have loaded the plates on. I think the handles go for about $5 each handle, plus whatever weight plates you buy. They should be pretty easy to score on CL (Craigslist) along with the plates. Here is a link to a set at Walmart just so you know what they look like. Just remove the space in the w's.

    http://w ww.walmart.com/ip/Gold-s-Gym-14-Dumbbell-Handle/11089965
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    This guy might be worth calling. If you are only looking for dumbbells, then skip the 25's, and buy the rest. Maybe you can talk him a little lower than $.50 per lb. Then buy handles from Walmart.

    http://charlotte.craigslist.org/spo/3621094183.html
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    Originally Posted by KBKB View Post
    The dip attachment can be used for other movements besides dips. You can, for example, set the bench at an incline with the handles pointing in the direction of the padding. You then lean back against the bench, grab the handles and do inclined leg raises.

    A pull up bar is useful too for working the lats. If you can't do unassisted pull ups (yet), you can still do negatives or do band assisted pull ups. My daughter used heavy bands (and then lighter bands) to progress from doing assisted pull ups to unassisted pull ups. She can't do very many, but she was very proud of the fact that she was one of the few girls in her class that could do them.
    Such a wonderful post! Looks like I have something to look forward to! Good for your daughter! That is amazing! I wish I could get my 20 year old daughter to exercise at all instead of just sit on the couch in front of the tv. She thinks exercise is chasing her toddler around. She told me yesterday that I needed to stop lifting heavy because my arms were starting to look like man arms. I take that as a compliment! Considering I'm still fat and there are noticeable muscles in my arms means all my hard work is paying off! I'm down 99 pounds and my daughter thinks its just silly. Your post and your daughter alone have motivated me to buy this attachment! Where do I pick up the band though?
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