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  1. #1
    Registered User OldInOhio's Avatar
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    Home Gym for Disabled

    Hi, this is my first post. Two years ago I suffered an abscess on my brain, was paralyzed on the left side of my body for six weeks, and had to learn to walk, put on my clothes etc. all over again. I have permanent neurological damage and constant vertigo, so I use a walker to avoid falling. In my physical therapy I used a Total Gym and a multi-station machine with weight stacks. I've been reading the threads on here for the last week or so and realize that neither of those two are popular with bodybuilders, but they work well for people who are rehabbing or disabled.

    I've been doing physical therapy bodyweight exercises since I got back home, and have really advanced beyond them and am ready to move on to more serious conditioning, so I have ordered a Total Gym. Since I'm hoping to increase my strength beyond its capabilities, I only ordered the $230 version.

    Once I get beyond that I will need to evaluate whether or not I can handle free weights. I'm more worried about my balance than my strength. I would prefer to go with the rack/fid bench/oly barbell/dumbbell basics so that I can work on my stabilizers, which I think could help my balance, but I don't want to fall while I'm lifting any plates or doing any standing exercises.

    If my balance hasn't improved enough with the Total Gym I'll have to go with a multi-station home gym. A lot of people on here have a negative opinion of leg extensions and curls, and I've always though I got more out of leg presses, so I've been looking at ones with that attachment. The two that I'm interested in are the Powerline P1X and P2X. I don't see how to post a link or I would, sorry about that. I would also buy the 50lb upgrade to bring the stack up to 210lbs, which is honestly as much as I will ever need, I'm not naturally strong at all. Does anyone have an opinion on those two gyms, or perhaps any better suggestions? I realize the free weights would be preferred, but as I mentioned, don't know if that will be possible given my condition.

    Thank you in advance. This is a great website.

    Kevin
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  2. #2
    York Man AttyGuy's Avatar
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    Kevin, I have used a Total Gym when doing physical therapy a while back. You are right; has its place,for rehab and therapy it's just not necessarily good for strength training. If it works for you, that's all that matters.

    If you must get a multi gym, and given your current condition, you must, think about buying a used one. Seriously. These pieces of equipment are expensive and they depreciate rapidly. You can probably find something similar to what you want, if not the actual model, for $100-300. Save your money for now.

    Vertigo sucks. I had it bad once for three days and could not leave my bed. Had to have an empty milk jug next to the bed to relieve myself. I couldn't eat -- I was nauseous -- but could drink water and juice. Good luck on your road to better health!
    You need a rack, bench and 300-lb. Oly set. Now, what was your question?

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    Registered User rlundregan's Avatar
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    I don't have anything to offer on the pieces that you mentioned, but I certainly understand your concern about balance. What about something like a TRX suspension trainer? You could do some interesting squat variations with an item like that. it would likely be cheaper, and you can find ways to weight it by doing pistol squats while holding a dumbbell, wearing a weighted vest or backpack, etc.

    A suspension trainer would also be good for a lot of upper body exercises, and you could still use a bench and a pair of dumbbells for seated overhead presses and the like, unless I am really missing some key aspect of your balance issue (and I certainly may be).

    It might be worthwhile to talk with your physical/occupational therapist about helping you put together a workout plan that would be tailored to your needs.
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    Get strong and don't quit. And save your money until you know what works and what you can use most effectively. Then, go crazy with the gear!
    You need a rack, bench and 300-lb. Oly set. Now, what was your question?

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    Registered User OldInOhio's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. I have been looking at Craigslist and there's no doubt that's the way to go when I do purchase. I'm going to wait until I've put some time in with the Total Gym and see if that helps with my balance before deciding what home gym to get. I'd rather go with free weights if possible.

    And I looked up that TRX suspension trainer. There's no way I could support myself enough to use it at present, I just don't have the strength or balance. I literally always have to be holding onto something to prevent myself from falling, and I'm even wobbly when sitting. Thanks for the suggestion, though. I appreciate the replies.
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    Registered User deadwoodgregg's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    OP, you should seriously consider getting an adjustable pulley selectorized cable column with a variety of cable attachments. This would provide you with the greatest number of exercises that you an do safely at weights that you can handle. Your quality of life will greatly be affected by the effort that you put forth in the gym from now on. Stick with it and good luck.


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  7. #7
    Registered User OldInOhio's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=deadwoodgregg;1091870143]OP, you should seriously consider getting an adjustable pulley selectorized cable column with a variety of cable attachments. This would provide you with the greatest number of exercises that you an do safely at weights that you can handle. Your quality of life will greatly be affected by the effort that you put forth in the gym from now on. Stick with it and good luck.




    My question about the cable column is does it allow for leg work? I've done searches on that here and on google and can't find an answer.
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    Registered User rlundregan's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=OldInOhio;1091893923]
    Originally Posted by deadwoodgregg View Post
    OP, you should seriously consider getting an adjustable pulley selectorized cable column with a variety of cable attachments. This would provide you with the greatest number of exercises that you an do safely at weights that you can handle. Your quality of life will greatly be affected by the effort that you put forth in the gym from now on. Stick with it and good luck.





    My question about the cable column is does it allow for leg work? I've done searches on that here and on google and can't find an answer.
    There are a few leg exercises that you can do with it if it is a model with a low pulley--kickbacks are the one that come to mind most readily. You can buy a cuff that goes on your ankle that attaches to the low pulley. This would be a great machine with a much smoother movement than one of those all-in-one gyms.
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  9. #9
    Registered User deadwoodgregg's Avatar
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    For legs, I would use a recumbant bike until you build enough strength in your knee to begin walking on a treadmill. This will also allow you to get some cardio exercise which I am sure that haven't done in two years. You may be able to graduate to an elliptical down the road. If you ever get comfortable enough to join a gym I would use "any" equipment that you are able to use safely. Free weights are not in your immediate future. You will probably be limited to machines, maybe for years. Do whatever you have to do to get back as much of what you once had as possible. Don't give up, you are still a young man. Hang around the equipment forum and learn about the different types of gear that you might be able to use for your recovery. Trust me, get the cable column first.
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  10. #10
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    sounds like something like this might be just right for you, if you're looking for strength gains and having balance issues



    http://www.powertecfitness.com/p-12-...m-wb-ms13.aspx

    it looks like you're in ohio. these come up every few months in the columbus craigslist for the $500 range
    also, consider returning the total gym. they come up in the columbus craigslist for the $100 range if you're nearby.
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  11. #11
    Registered User OldInOhio's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jackbravo View Post
    sounds like something like this might be just right for you, if you're looking for strength gains and having balance issues


    it looks like you're in ohio. these come up every few months in the columbus craigslist for the $500 range
    also, consider returning the total gym. they come up in the columbus craigslist for the $100 range if you're nearby.
    I love leverage gyms, I used to use the Hammer stuff at Fitworks before I got sick. The only problem is loading and unloading the plates, and the potential to fall in the process. I'm going to see if my balance improves with bodyweight exercises and the Total Gym before moving onto something else. That way I'll be buying the most appropriate equipment. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm close to Cincinnati, and we get a lot of like new exercise equipment down here on Craigslist, too.
    Last edited by OldInOhio; 06-22-2013 at 07:18 PM. Reason: Correcting mistake
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by OldInOhio View Post
    I love leverage gyms, I used to use the Hammer stuff at Fitworks before I got sick. The only problem is loading and unloading the plates, and the potential to fall in the process. I'm going to see if my balance improves with bodyweight exercises and the Total Gym before moving onto something else. That way I'll be buying the most appropriate equipment. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm close to Cincinnati, and we get a lot of like new exercise equipment down here on Craigslist, too.
    oh i see what you're saying. my bad. well, whenever you get to it, you should be able to find one of the selectorized multi-gyms on CL. i see them pop up here all the time, for as low as 50$.
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  13. #13
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    Strongly recommend a functional trainer like Inspire FT1, Hoist V6, Torque f7, body solid gdcc210, etc in your situation mate.

    You can do strength and therapy movements with them.

    I think most of them have twin weight stacks upgradable to 210lbs which will leave lots of room for progression.
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    If you like the Total and outgrow the cheaper model the better ones allow for a greater incline for greater resistance and they are smoother. With your issues I think this is a great place to start. I hope you improve enough that free weights are an option, even if you don't though, great for thinking ahead and trying to get strong again.
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    I'd highly recommend joining a gym with top quality machines in your situation. You can get decent machines fo your home gym, but space and budget can be a limiting factor. Plus a lot of them are plate loaded. You can then use machines for shoulder press, bench press, leg press, leg extension, leg curl, lower back extension, seated rows, pulldowns, biceps/triceps machine. You can train your whole body that way quite easily
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    Originally Posted by Phoenix989 View Post

    I'd highly recommend joining a gym with top quality machines
    Good luck finding one of those.
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    Thanks for all the replies. My Total Gym arrives today so it will be awhile before I know what direction to move once (and if) I outgrow it. I should have mentioned in the first post that the neurological damage is stroke-like, and my left arm and leg are weaker than my right side, and also spasm continuously, although lightly. Also, I can't drive.

    Wildtim, I've thought about a more advanced model of the Total Gym that allows weight plates to be added. That could work, because the cable movements allow the more natural range of motion that free weights do. Plus, I'm going to focus on the basic exercises one would start on anyway: squats, chest press, pullups, etc. And working at the angle, with gravity holding me in place, really alleviates the problem with my balance.

    Phoenix989, I can't drive or I'd be into going to a gym with machines. One of the multi-station home gyms with a weight stack would serve that same purpose, although not as well, I realize.

    Hopefully I can go with free weights or a leverage gym, that's what I'm shooting for. I love Hammer Strength machines, and I'm sure the Powertech would be cool. Obviously a barbell and dumbbells would be even cooler.

    Thanks again for the replies.
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    I have been evaluating functional trainers and different gyms for a while. I am curious what your ultimate budget would be if/when you outgrow your Total Gym? Your budget will determine your options in the future I think.
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    Originally Posted by RandyMcdonald View Post
    I have been evaluating functional trainers and different gyms for a while. I am curious what your ultimate budget would be if/when you outgrow your Total Gym? Your budget will determine your options in the future I think.
    $1,000-$1,500. I'd rather spend less, but would need to go that high for any of the functional trainers with a bench that I've seen, although you never know what deals you might find on Craigslist. The only FT I've seen for less is the Best Fitness one, and it only has a single stack of 190lbs, and it's a 2:1 ratio which means it's only 95lbs of resistance, which I don't think would be enough.

    Depending on how well my balance improves, I might consider a leg press to be an important factor. I can do bodyweight squats in a doorway by lightly holding onto the frame, so I'm sure I could do machine squats. The only machines I know that one can squat with are the Soloflex/Bowflex and a leverage gym. I'm not interested in the resistance bands/rods and if my balance doesn't improve I won't be able to safely load plates onto a leverage gym. That would leave a home gym with a leg press as the safest way to move some weight with my legs. The Powerline P1X and P2X look interesting to me.

    Of course, I'm going to go as far with the Total Gym as I can and see if developing my core and stabilizers improves my balance before deciding which way to go, since a rack/bench/barbell/dumbbell would be better that a FT or leverage gym or weight stack gym.

    Thanks
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    Originally Posted by OldInOhio View Post
    I'm not interested in the resistance bands/rods...

    Of course, I'm going to go as far with the Total Gym...
    Think about how you might use resistance bands with your Total Gym to increase the amount of resistance that it provides.

    You should also reconsider the use of resistance bands (in general) as they can be a useful therapeutic tool.
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    Originally Posted by KBKB View Post
    Think about how you might use resistance bands with your Total Gym to increase the amount of resistance that it provides.

    You should also reconsider the use of resistance bands (in general) as they can be a useful therapeutic tool.
    That's a good idea about using the resistance bands with the Total Gym. I really just meant I'm not interested in a Soloflex or Bowflex. I don't mind resistance bands in general, I've been using them for the last two years as part of my physical and occupational therapy. One doesn't need to spend $1,000 or more for a machine to use them, however, when you can spend less than $100 for the Bodylastic bands and get the same benefit.
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    Originally Posted by OldInOhio View Post
    I don't mind resistance bands in general, I've been using them for the last two years as part of my physical and occupational therapy.
    If you haven't done so already, consider setting up some wall anchors for your resistance bands. The door anchors provided with some resistance bands work too, but I find that having fixed anchors makes it very quick to move from one exercise to another.

    This is what I'm using in my small gym:





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