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Old 06-08-2011, 01:30 PM   #1
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Weight Machine

After I've experienced the consequences of straining my back, I'm considering moving from free weights to a weight machine.

This one:



Is on craigslist for $100. The guy doesn't know the model or brand. Anyone recognize it so that I can do some research on it?

Thanks.
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Old 06-08-2011, 01:49 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
After I've experienced the consequences of straining my back, I'm considering moving from free weights to a weight machine.

This one:



Is on craigslist for $100. The guy doesn't know the model or brand. Anyone recognize it so that I can do some research on it?

Thanks.
I lifted weights much of my life (started age 15) until I quit after a wreck 5 years ago. I eventually had a heavy duty cage and bench in my garage.

I think you may find that many of these home machines are essentially junk. Perhaps worth $100, but not very good for a real workout.

If you have a concrete floor so that you can just drop the weight should you get in trouble, you can do very well with a set of olympic weights (or even old fashioned shorties) and perhaps a few dumbells.

IMO best and safest and most to the point exercises are front squat, deadlift, clean and jerk, or clean and military press, curls and bent over rows. Perhaps add Pavel crunches.

All of these allow you to just jettison the weight if it gets tricky. Another great thing to add since you live in the country is get some heavy chain or a kettlebell and just go out and heave it about. Be careful if you or a neighbor has a dog that likes to fetch.

I used to push my old VW diesel up the slope of my driveway. I had my wife drive to pull on the brake if I fell or couldn't continue.

Good form in any of these things can be seen at Youtube. (Except perhaps VW pushing)

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Old 06-08-2011, 01:54 PM   #3
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If you have a concrete floor so that you can just drop the weight should you get in trouble, you can do very well with a set of olympic weights (or even old fashioned shorties) and perhaps a few dumbells.
In theory, yes, but that hasn't worked for me in the past. I once strained my back lifting two 45 pound dumbbells when I got a little off balance. My body compensated quickly all on it's own, without any time for conscious thought, and I pulled a muscle.

Also, there are times when I'm limited by how much weight I'm willing to pick off the floor rather than by the exercise itself.

Finally, when doing, say, a bench press with the dumbbells, I need to reserve some energy for finishing up.

Quote:
I think you may find that many of these home machines are essentially junk. Perhaps worth $100, but not very good for a real workout.
What are the problems they have? Poor ergonomics? They break easily?

Thanks.
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Old 06-08-2011, 02:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
In theory, yes, but that hasn't worked for me in the past. I once strained my back lifting two 45 pound dumbbells when I got a little off balance. My body compensated quickly all on it's own, without any time for conscious thought, and I pulled a muscle.

Also, there are times when I'm limited by how much weight I'm willing to pick off the floor rather than by the exercise itself.

Finally, when doing, say, a bench press with the dumbbells, I need to reserve some energy for finishing up.



What are the problems they have? Poor ergonomics? They break easily?
Both. Plus they do not always allow all exercises. Big weight exercises like squats and deadlifts can be just too much for them. RE bench press with dumbbells- that is one I would not do without a strong spotter. Too easy to hurt your shoulders trying to get the damn things down to the floor. Regarding just lifting the weight like for overhead presses and front squats, almost always you can build a sturdy wall supported rack to put the weight. Also, for mil presses, the clean is a good part of the exercise. These are exhausting, but that is the idea.

IMO best not to try to go to failure with freeweight exercises. One good injury and you are done for a long while. Going to failure is just another obsession that people promote to sell books.

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Old 06-08-2011, 02:58 PM   #5
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Most of the home machines do not have much adjustability and could very well force you into to some positions that could lead to injury. While machines have their place, personally I did not achieve substantial gains until I embraced free weights. As to pressing DBs, yep, you need to be very careful not injure a shoulder or drop one on yourself. Good technique in hoisting these into position is very important and I would suggest not pushing yourself to go too heavy too soon with them.
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Old 06-08-2011, 03:37 PM   #6
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I found many more options when searching for "home gyms" instead of "weight machines."

No rush in deciding.
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Old 06-08-2011, 03:55 PM   #7
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Can't tell you what the machine in your picture is. Take a look at Bowflex. I have one and have never had an injury from it or compounded by it. Takes less space than a conventional weight machine.
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Old 06-08-2011, 04:07 PM   #8
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Those weight machines will usually age nicely on Craigslist. If you wait long enough you can get it for $25 or someone will give it free if you'll just haul it away for them.
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Old 06-08-2011, 04:50 PM   #9
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Can you go to a gym and try using weight machines on a regular basis, before buying a home gym like this?

I think $100 is probably a good price for this setup if you want something like this and if everything works. I have casually looked at new home gyms and they tend to cost quite a bit more than that.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:49 PM   #10
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Can you go to a gym and try using weight machines on a regular basis, before buying a home gym like this?
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Yes good idea. Perhaps some trial membership. The gyms are too far away to be practical longterm. I used to use machines in grad school.
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Old 06-08-2011, 08:55 PM   #11
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W2R, you hit the nail on the head. DW had a treadmill at our other house and sold it when we moved. Didn't have room for it. Now she wants to tear out the garder tub and remodel the whole bathroom. Told her no dice, we're put enough money into this house. We are going to sign up for the social membership at the golf club and she can use 50 different mach-ines. $2000 annual membership is better than tearing the house apart again. Besides, I need to start working out a little. Then go in the clubhouse and have a beer.
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:14 PM   #12
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W2R, you hit the nail on the head. DW had a treadmill at our other house and sold it when we moved. Didn't have room for it. Now she wants to tear out the garder tub and remodel the whole bathroom. Told her no dice, we're put enough money into this house. We are going to sign up for the social membership at the golf club and she can use 50 different mach-ines. $2000 annual membership is better than tearing the house apart again. Besides, I need to start working out a little. Then go in the clubhouse and have a beer.
That must be a really nice golf club! You'll enjoy playing golf too. My gym is just a gym (no golf), but is one of the more expensive ones here, at $500/year. I love going there, though. It's a great opportunity to try out a lot of high quality equipment and find out what I like.
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:21 AM   #13
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I have these resting on the floor in my den. My dog enjoys chewing on them.

Pure Fitness 2lb Dumbbell - Dick's Sporting Goods
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:11 AM   #14
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I do mild resistance training 3-4 times/week, I use both free weights and a "home gym." Mine is a cheapo Weider. I bought it 15 years ago when it was all I could afford...and it is still functioning without a problem.
I've had shoulder issues in the past so I don't use the maximum weights, which may be why it has lasted so long. As much as I'd like a new, upgraded, toy I can't bring myself to spending the $$ unnecessarily. So, depending on your goals, this machine could very well fit the bill.
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:40 AM   #15
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I bought a home gym/weight machine for $45 from a Craigslist ad. Works fine, though I might have to replace a cable or two someday. Seat on chest fly portion is adjustable, and thus reasonably ergonomic. It's not as effective as free weights, IMHO, but it's quick, easy, and safer than lifting heavy weights with no spotter. Can do chest fly, bench press, lat pulldown, curls, triceps, and leg extensions/hamstring curls. I mostly do the upper body stuff, and get legwork from dumbbell squats and biking.

I do have a rec center membership, for when it's 100+ in my garage... $130 yr.
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Old 06-09-2011, 12:18 PM   #16
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To show you the other options around here:

Schwinn 701, $350



Weider Pro 4300 $200



Weider Pro Power Stack $200

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Old 06-09-2011, 12:23 PM   #17
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AL, I would definitely thoroughly try out the machine before you buy. These things can become dust collectors real fast if you don't enjoy using it.
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:47 PM   #18
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I have these resting on the floor in my den. My dog enjoys chewing on them.
I've used those too, but I didn't care for the taste...
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Old 06-09-2011, 02:27 PM   #19
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They are part of the weight-watchers diet.
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Old 06-09-2011, 03:43 PM   #20
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A neighbor gave me a used Weider machine many years ago. The padding was thin and the pivot points were simple bolts passing through drilled holes. It creaked and groaned, but never broke. I wound up giving it to a nephew.

We've got a few exercise equipment dealers in town, so I checked out their lines. The $1000+ machines are simply a better grade than you see at Dicks or Sears. They've got more substantial padding, more adjustablitiy, more weight, and bronze bushings at the pivot points. I wound up buying an essentially unused $1200 machine for $700 (pre-Craigslist days).

You might find better-grade machine on Craigslist for $45 eventually, but in my experience the higher grade lines fetch a good deal more.

My cable gym and bench are Body Solid, my rower is a Concept 2, exercise bike is a Schwinn Airdyne, and elliptical is a Vision Fitness. They're all mid-grade, and I've got no complaints with any of them.

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