While cardio may be queen for many people, strength training offers incredible benefits. When you lift weights regularly, you increase your lean body mass. This muscle mass is more metabolically active than fat mass, which results in increased calories burned, even at rest. Strength training has been shown to help protect bone mass and prevent osteoporosis. Considering that we only build bone until age 30, this exercise is extremely important and can make a big difference in your quality of life down the line. Resistance training can also help improve your balance (reducing risk of falls), boost your confidence, and make you feel better overall. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends strength training exercises be performed at least two days per week.
There are many reasons that people don’t like to go to the gym. Sometimes they don't want to sign a contract and commit to the monthly expense. Others feel intimidated when they are just beginning an exercise regimen, and some women feel uncomfortable in the often male-dominated weight room. Additionally, the commute time to the gym and arranging childcare just to work out can throw some people off. The great news is that you don't need a gym in order to get the benefits of strength training. That's why we've reviewed the best home weight lifting equipment so you can work out on your own time and in the comfort of your own home. Read on for our recommendations, and remember to always check with your physician prior to beginning a new exercise regimen.
Best Resistance Bands: Bodylastics Stackable Resistance Band Set
Resistance bands are stretchy bands that come in a number of different lengths, designs, and tensions. Some are flat, some are tubular. Some have handles and others don't. Some are looped or come with an anchor. They are easy to store and travel with since they take up barely any space and don't weigh much. Like dumbbells, they work your muscles so you increase lean body mass while promoting overall health. They are versatile, so you can use them for many different exercises and won't get bored.
Our favorite set of resistance bands is by Bodylastics. This kit comes with 12 pieces: 5 anti-snap bands with resistance measuring between 3 and 19 pounds, 2 handles, 2 ankle straps, 1 door anchor, 1 carrying bag, and 1 instructional guide. The handles, ankle straps, and door anchor make these bands very versatile without needing to purchase anything extra. These bands are very durable. The door anchor can be a bit difficult to set up, but this is typical of door anchors unfortunately, and the foam stopper in this set is gentle on the door so you won't face damage. Though the Bodylastics Stackable Resistance Band Set is very reasonably priced, it still comes with a 30-day 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the product.
PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells
For dumbbells, we decided that we like the adjustable type best. These often make the most sense to buy for several reasons. First, you may be stronger in one area than another – for example, people may have an easier time doing bicep curls and need a lighter weight for tricep extensions. If you don't buy adjustable dumbbells, you would either have to compromise on a weight or buy multiple pairs of non-adjustable dumbbells, which could end up costing more money and would definitely take up more of your storage space. Second, the longer you lift, the more you progress, and eventually the weight you start out with will be too easy for you. Again, this would result in you needing to purchase heavier weights more frequently than if you just bought adjustable dumbbells to start with.
If you are looking to lift heavier, consider the PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells. These dumbbells measure 12 inches by 6.25 inches by 6 inches. The idea of adjustable dumbbells was actually invented by PowerBlock, and originally called "selectorized dumbbells." The friends who designed it were bemoaning the expense and amount of space that traditional dumbbell sets take up in their homes, and decided to do something about it. These dumbbells have a weight range of 5-50 pounds per dumbbell, but you can get an expansion kit to increase the weight up to 70 or 90 pounds. This means that instead of needing to purchase a completely new set of dumbbells if you want to go up in weight, you can easily install the expansion kit.s. The grip may feel a little strange at first if you're not used to maintaining proper wrist position, but you quickly adjust and it feels comfortable. The Powerblock Elite Dumbbells feel very stable and durable.
Pull-Ups utilize a number of muscle groups, including back, arms, shoulders, scapular, and abdominal muscles. They may not be easy, but it's a great exercise to help you build overall strength and improve posture via strengthening your core and back. To do pull-ups at home, consider getting a pull-up bar that you can install in your doorway. We like the Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Doorway Pull Up Bar and Portable gym system for its versatility, comfortable grip, and price. It measures 15 inches by 38 inches by 14 inches and weighs 8 pounds. You have to assemble and install it upon delivery, and it comes with the necessary Allen wrenches that store within the product, so you never have to worry about losing them. In addition to doing pull-ups, you can also use this bar for dips, pushups, and sit-ups.
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
Another set of adjustable dumbbells that we really like is the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells. These don't go as heavy as the Powerblock set when you take the Powerblock Expansion packs into consideration, but they are more affordable. The Bowflex SelectTech 552 weights are easily adjustable with a twist of a dial. They measure 16 inches by 8 inches by 9 inches, so they are longer than traditional dumbbells but this is typical with adjustable weights. Each dumbbell adjusts from 5 pounds to 52.5 pounds. You need to put the weights in the accompanying tray in order to adjust the weight.
Yes4All Vinyl Coated Kettlebells
Kettlebells will give you the strength workout you desire with the addition of aerobic activity that accompanies swinging the weight around (using controlled momentum, of course). You can't add weights to the kettlebell (such as with an adjustable weight set), so you're stuck with buying more than one if you want to increase weight. With this ballistic workout tool, you will build endurance while burning fat and working multiple muscle groups.
We like the Yes4All Vinyl Coated Kettlebells. Each measures 7.87 inches high and the handle is 7.28 inches across, with a weight of up to 50 pounds. At $27, it is much more affordable than other kettlebells that we also considered. This kettlebell is made out of cast iron, and the vinyl coating helps to protect your floor – very important since you're using this to work out at home instead of at the gym. The handle is slightly textured to improve your grip while exercising – you wouldn't want to accidentally lose hold of this kettlebell and end up with it smashing through a window. It felt comfortable in testers' hands.
It's more than likely that you can benefit from strength training. There are a number of reasons why people prefer to avoid the gym, so that's why we've reviewed the top pieces of strength training equipment for your home. We prefer adjustable dumbbells to the non-adjustable variety, so we've given you with two recommendations for those. They may start out more expensive than a pair of non-adjustable dumbbells, but they could save you money and storage space in the long run. The Bodylastics Stackable Resistance Band set is versatile and durable, and they are great for people for all fitness levels. Kettlebells provide a fun, dynamic workout and we think you'll be pleased with the Yes4All Vinyl Coated Kettlebells for use in your home. Finally, while we recognize that not everyone enjoys performing pull-ups, you have to admit they are a great exercise, so we've included our recommendation for the Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Doorway Pullup Bar. Don't forget to consult with your doctor prior to starting a new exercise regimen.