What Strength Training Equipment Do You Need?


What's the best strength training equipment? You've made the decision to get started on building that midlife muscle, that's fantastic!

The good news is that you don't need to buy any big bulky weight training machines (although you might find it interesting to try these out at your local gym).

For exercising at home you need only the simplest pieces of strength training equipment, and there are plenty of floor exercises like crunches, press ups and lunges that you can do without any equipment at all.

But if you like the idea of setting up a mini-gym in a corner of your home - and it's a great thing to do - then these are the items of strength training equipment you could consider.

Strength training equipment selection

Free weights

These you really do need. Weight training is a brilliant way to build muscle, and you'll be better able to chart your progress if you use a proper set, so that you know exactly how much weight you're lifting.

'Free' simply means that these weights aren't fixed to any equipment, and you don't need pulleys or cables to use them. It also means that they're very portable, so you can use them at home in any room of the house or outside, and can take them with you if you travel.

There are different kinds of free weights:
  • Dumbbells Any kind of weight which you can lift using one hand.
  • Barbells A metal bar with weights on each end, either fixed or changeable, which you lift with both hands.
  • Ankle and Wrist Weights Neat little weights contained in bands which you strap to wrist or ankle.

You can buy weights in sets which are graduated by weight. When you start a new exercise program, always start with a light weight and work up gradually.

Resistance bands or tubes

Simple stretchy bands that come in different levels of resistance. Use them as you exercise to make your muscles work harder. They're inexpensive, simple to use and take up hardly any space. The perfect piece of strength training equipment!

Exercise balls

Also called balance ball, body ball, fitness ball, gym ball, stability ball and swiss ball, these are great for exercising your stomach, that danger area for women during menopause! If you've been wondering how to lose stomach fat, using an exercise ball will help you achieve a firmer, flatter midriff.

Also good for back exercises and sit-ups, these balls work your core muscles to strengthen and tone them. This piece of equipment is quite bulky, but if you don't have anywhere to store your exercise ball you can deflate it between sessions. Inexpensive and fun to use, an exercise ball is a great addition to your home gym.

Weight exercising machines

Do try these when you visit the gym - ask a fitness instructor to show you how they work. These machines are very useful because you can't overdo it, as you can with free weights, and they give you a quick, simple workout. But they are expensive and bulky for home use, so make sure you are committed to using one if you decide to purchase one.

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Menopause exercise

For free weights that really are 'free', use cans of beans, or stuff a pair of old socks full of loose change - a great use for all those pennies.


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