Taking my gear "to the next level"



Hello all.

Well, I've finally outgrown the junky old cement-filled plastic shells I've used for weights for the last year or so (which I picked up along with a bench for next to nothing from a guy clearing out his garage). They've served me well, but now that I can lift everything that will fit on the bar, it's time for some real weights.

I already have the weight, picked up 255 @ $0.30 / lb. this afternoon. Also got a neat little tree for it.

I want a power cage. I'm planning on ordering a PowerTec Power Rack. (I barely weigh 150 so I don't think the 400 lb dip limit will get in my way...)

I'll need a bench to go along with the rack. I'm planning on ordering the Ironmaster Super Bench. I know it's taller than 17", but I can put plates under my feet...

I need a bar. I've read that the Texas Power Bar (by Troy?) is good for powerlifting. I thought about buying a cheap bar from Play It Again Sports, but even a cheap bar is a substantial portion of the cost of a quality bar...

I need a dip belt and haven't caught any particular advice. Any brands to look for?


Edit: also if there's ONE place I can order ALL (or most) of the stuff at a reasonable price, that would be cool.
My general thoughts - poor quality equipment will make you NOT want to work out at home. But hyper expensive, yuppie-approved squirrell climbers will rob you of bucks you could buy other stuff with.
A bench should have uprights outside of your HAND POSITION for wide bench.
Everything should be rated for what you will lift ten years from now. So what if you only squat 135 or whatever.
Homemade is good or bad because of who built it.
Play it again Sports at least has some real equipment. Yard sales rarely do.
A bench must at least incline. If you don't need incline, build a wooden bench. Padding comes from the dump. (old couches) For that matter, build a wooden adjustable bench if bucks are low.
My dip belt is my weight belt with a 20" piece of chain with a spring clip at one end clipped to the buckle. I use 100 lbs on it allatime.
A power rack will eliminate need for a bench with uprights and give you a spotter.
Go to P I A Sports with a veteran. He can spot the crap stuff for you so you don't get burned. Some good brands are Bodysolid, york Barbell, and Powertech. The guys will probably post some more.
Don't just jump on the first good looking things you see. Shop around. Check shipping prices against the stuff you'd be buying. Iron ships expensively. Look in the papers. Got a pickup?
Oh, almost forgot: you can work out your WHOLE BODY with just a barbell and weights. So focus on that first while you shop for other stuff. I go to a gym sometimes where I don't even get out of the power cage or touch a db or machine.
Good post quad. A second vote for dont buy crap, and buy for the future. I have had to rebuy many items that I should have bought right the 1st time.