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  1. #1
    Clearly Irrational blue9steel's Avatar
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    New Garage Gym Planning

    We've moved to a new house that has a larger garage and I'm going to be able set aside a good portion of it for a home gym. My wife has a few things she wants but mostly the planning and purchasing is all up to me. I've been lifting consistently this time for about 4-5 years now so I've got a pretty fair idea of what I want.

    Back in the early 2000s I had a home gym in a large spare bedroom that was mostly Bodysolid and New York Barbell equipment, but I can afford better nowadays. Budget isn't cost no object but as long as I feel it's money well spent I can mostly get whatever I want. Overall I want to get good quality equipment that is sturdy, expandable and well made. I'm going to be placing a pretty large order so I'm looking at ways to save on shipping, consolidating on a single vendor for a lot of it may be the way to go there. Rogue offers free shipping over $5k and has most of what I need.

    The main constraint is space, after doing a number of measurements it looks like I can carve out a space that is 20x12, losing a little bit of that on one end (off the 20') for space around a side door.

    Craigslist in my area is pretty terrible for any sort of serious equipment. You can get all the cheap junk you want but there is very little in the way of anything heavy duty. This project is time sensitive and needs to be completed prior to the end of September when my next school term starts up. (I work full time and go to night school) Given those issues I'm not going to be buying much used equipment with the exception of the recumbent bike, of which there are an abundance locally. I'll check periodically prior to placing the order in case a miracle happens but I'm not expecting much.

    Things my wife asked for:
    Recumbent bike, TRX straps, Plates w/grip holes, Cable system

    Flooring($390): (10)4x6 3/4" Rubber Stall Mats, definitely going new on these, we have some extra at the barn where we board but I don't want the residual smell at the house.

    Dumbbells($950): Originally I was going to buy a full 5-100 Hex set with rack, but the pricing on that is just ridiculous, not to mention it uses a lot of room. I think I'm going to go with the Ironmasters w/120 expansion instead, it's 3x cheaper and uses less space to boot.

    Recumbent Bike($500): They have a bunch of these on Craigslist so I'll be buying used. I'll just find a really nice one that is priced to move and get that something like half off or more. My wife uses it a lot and I like it for leg day warmups so I will as well.

    TRX Tactical Straps($200): I don't use these currently, but if we have them I might play around with it a bit, my wife likes them though so they're in. I'll get some shackles so they can be attached to the crossmember on the rack.

    Cable System($1200): I looked at a bunch of different options including something rack attached and a homemade pulley system. After all that research though I think my best option is a Powertec PL-M w/weight stack. Covers both high and mid row which I do use, plus it can likely be made to work for a ton of other uses with a bit of ingenuity. I like the fact that I can have a weight stack and plate loaded, really opens up some options both at the heavy end and for micro-loading. My wife really likes cables so it's a must. I was hoping to find something used locally but haven't spotted any nice ones on Craigslist.

    Power Rack($2430): Currently I'm strongly considering the 90" Rogue RM-6. Given my garage height limit of about 91" (to the door opener rails, beams are about 100") I don't think I'll be using a platform or bolting the rack. Given that I'd order a 43" crossmember to put in the rear bottom, between that and the plate storage it should be solid as a rock. I looked at the Powertec, Bodysolid, Legend, Sorinex, EliteFTS and Rep Fitness racks, some were too tall and the others didn't seem quite as versatile and expandable. (Custom orders to cut something short likely don't make sense with my time frame)

    Rack Accessories($1165):
    XM43-Bottom Crossmember - For lateral stability when not bolted
    Flip Down Safeties - I like them
    Adjustable Monolift - I don't need, but I'd like to use for bench to see if that helps my shoulder take a bit less stress. As a side benefit I can use it on squats as well though walkouts aren't a problem now.
    Multi Grip Crossmember - I like to mix up my grips on pullups
    Matador (dip attachment) - I do dips as a regular part of my program
    Landmine - T-Bar rows are a staple and I may use it for other things if I don't have to fight with other gym members to use it.
    Monster Shackles x2 - For the TRX Straps
    Rear storage shelf - For the Bumpers and a bit of extra lateral rigidity
    Extra storage pins x4 - I like each plate size to have it's own pin on both sides of the rack

    Benches($1230): If I was going to buy just one bench I think it would be the Rep Fitness AB-5000. I think I have room for two though so I'm looking at the Rogue AB-3 & Monster Utility Shorty with the Thompson fat pad.

    Plates($2200): I use fractional plates regularly so I'd like plates that have a reasonable level of accuracy where possible. The Rogue revolvers seems to meet my Wife's request for grip holes while being a 1% tolerance for the 25s, 35s & 45s. I need 6 sets of 45s total given what I can deadlift now as I think I'll actually hit five plates in a year or two. (3x3x448 this morning) For the smaller plates I'm looking at getting calibrated steel. I will need three sets of steel 25s for the t-bar rows. I do some olympic lifting so I'll be getting some bumpers in the main sizes. Roughly 980lbs of plates minimum.

    Bars($870): I have an old Texas Power Bar, though I it's a bit beat up and rusty so I'll likely sell that and replace. I have a fat bar that is still in good condition so I'll keep that. Currently looking at a Rogue Cerakote Olympic WL Bar and probably a matching power bar.

    GHD($695): I'm looking at the Rogue Abram GHD 2.0 since it's built like a tank. I don't want things moving around at all on that sort of exercise.

    General Extras($745):
    Bar Holder - For organization
    18" Plyo Box - Mostly going to be used as a step stool when doing pullups but there are potential applications with the lat pulldown as well. The one thing I probably won't use it for is box jumps, which I don't do currently.
    Safety Squat Bar - I'm looking at the EliteFTS one since it seems to consistently get the best reviews even though Rogue has one. I have a forward head and rolled shoulders from decades of computer work so I have to use a bar pad or end up with a squat bump. I'm hoping this is a better solution for that, if not I'll try a Duffalo bar instead. Tempted to get both, but I haven't decided yet.
    Space heater - It doesn't get crazy cold here but it can get down to 10F in the winter sometimes and I don't like wearing gloves while working out if I don't have to. Sweats are fine though. I already have a portable A/C unit and evaporative fan which should handle the summer temps.
    Lights - Currently two bulbs in the garage, needs a bit more.
    Decorations - Probably some flags and posters
    PVC Pipe - For warmups

    Stuff I have:
    Sled
    Tricep bar
    Various cable handles
    Bands
    Probably some other things I forgot to list leftover from my old gym

    I'm still cleaning out and organizing the garage after our move so I won't be placing my orders for a few weeks yet. It seemed like a good time to post my thoughts and see if anyone had any feedback. Even though I don't feel like I went crazy with things to buy that's likely going to total up to around $12.5k or so, quality just isn't cheap.
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  2. #2
    Registered User solarfuel's Avatar
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    Congrats on the new house. Your setup looks great, but I would definitely try to find some used stuff. I recently did my 1500 sq ft gym and spent about double your budget, but filled it with mostly CNO machines going used.

    If you ultimately stay with new, its tough to beat Rogue as it holds its value @70-80% of retail, which is crazy cause most gym equipment can be had for .10-.20 cents on the dollar if you hunt.

    I would get ivanko omezh plates over the rogue though.
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  3. #3
    Clearly Irrational blue9steel's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by solarfuel View Post
    Congrats on the new house. Your setup looks great, but I would definitely try to find some used stuff. I recently did my 1500 sq ft gym and spent about double your budget, but filled it with mostly CNO machines going used.

    If you ultimately stay with new, its tough to beat Rogue as it holds its value @70-80% of retail, which is crazy cause most gym equipment can be had for .10-.20 cents on the dollar if you hunt.

    I would get ivanko omezh plates over the rogue though.
    I looked at the Ivanko plates but recent reviews suggest their quality has slipped considerably. I don't really care about the 6 holes vs. 7 holes.

    I've spent quite a bit of time over the last two months looked at the used market around here and it's pretty thin. I'm in the only metro area nearby, next closest one is Seattle which is roughly a four hour drive from here. I'm going to continue watching in case I get lucky on something like the lat pulldown but so far I haven't seen much worthwhile other than the recumbent bike.
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    Unless you're filthy rich, check Facebook Marketplace before you abandon the used market. FBM has cannibalized Craigslist. On the plus side, you can catch some sweet deals on CL because the buyer pool is much, much smaller than it used to be.
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    Equipment choices are a personal thing, but you have some very good pieces on your list.
    My only comment, seriously consider using rolled rubber flooring, I replaced my stall mats last year with just over 600 square feet of Regupol and it's made a real difference, I only wish I'd installed it at the outset.
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  6. #6
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    Originally Posted by gym62richard View Post
    Equipment choices are a personal thing, but you have some very good pieces on your list.
    My only comment, seriously consider using rolled rubber flooring, I replaced my stall mats last year with just over 600 square feet of Regupol and it's made a real difference, I only wish I'd installed it at the outset.
    Yep, this 10X.

    You're going to drop 12.5k on equipment and cheap out on the extra $400 rolled rubber will cost......you'll regret it.


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    Originally Posted by chadsalt View Post
    Yep, this 10X.

    You're going to drop 12.5k on equipment and cheap out on the extra $400 rolled rubber will cost......you'll regret it.


    Plus it can save you 1/4-3/8 of an inch on your clearance which sounds like it is at a premium.
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    Unless you want to color coordinate, I would go stainless steel over cerakote for your bar(s). From what I've read cerakote doesn't wear well and isn't worth the premium. Stainless is worth it for the feel and the wear.
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    Clearly Irrational blue9steel's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gym62richard View Post
    Equipment choices are a personal thing, but you have some very good pieces on your list.
    My only comment, seriously consider using rolled rubber flooring, I replaced my stall mats last year with just over 600 square feet of Regupol and it's made a real difference, I only wish I'd installed it at the outset.
    I've heard that in a couple of places now. What is it you liked about it so much more than the stall mats?

    FYI, this is a rental so I won't be glueing anything to the concrete. Strangely we moved from a duplex we owned to a house we're renting so that I can be closer to work. I was commuting 2-2.5 hours a day (total) and now that's down to more like 45 minutes or so.
    Last edited by blue9steel; 07-17-2019 at 09:36 AM.
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    Clearly Irrational blue9steel's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by radrd View Post
    Unless you want to color coordinate, I would go stainless steel over cerakote for your bar(s). From what I've read cerakote doesn't wear well and isn't worth the premium. Stainless is worth it for the feel and the wear.
    I hadn't heard that. I don't want raw steel due to the rust issues but stainless would be fine if it's more durable than the cerakote.
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    It suggest that you take your time, establish exactly what you are looking for, and hunt for some good deals. There is alot of great information in this forum, and especially the CNO threads. Whether good or bad there is not much that has not been discussed there.

    Not sure where you are in Washington, but a 5 minute search yielded some worthy stuff:

    https://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/s...931717072.html

    https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/s...935501791.html

    https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/s...920047582.html
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    Clearly Irrational blue9steel's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Duplicitous View Post
    Unless you're filthy rich, check Facebook Marketplace before you abandon the used market. FBM has cannibalized Craigslist. On the plus side, you can catch some sweet deals on CL because the buyer pool is much, much smaller than it used to be.
    I hadn't seriously considered that for this kind of purchase, though my wife uses it a lot. Looked right now and I do see stuff listed there, I'll start watching that as well. Definitely not a new equipment snob.
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    Clearly Irrational blue9steel's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by solarfuel View Post
    It suggest that you take your time, establish exactly what you are looking for, and hunt for some good deals. There is alot of great information in this forum, and especially the CNO threads. Whether good or bad there is not much that has not been discussed there.

    Not sure where you are in Washington, but a 5 minute search yielded some worthy stuff:

    https://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/s...931717072.html

    https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/s...935501791.html

    https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/s...920047582.html
    I'm in Beaverton, Oregon. Seattle is about 3.5-4.0 hours from here one way. It would have to be a screaming deal for me to even consider that.
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    Clearly Irrational blue9steel's Avatar
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    Initially I had ruled out a lifting platform due to the height constraints but now I'm wondering if I should just build a single panel one and put it directly in front of the squat rack. I'll try and post some pictures of the garage and diagrams later in the week.
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    I'd think twice about the Ironmasters, I have a set and I have pretty much abandoned them for Powerblocks because changing out the weight was annoying with the Ironmasters. If I had the space I'd definitely have individual dumbbells but that isn't happening anytime soon and if I could only have one set of adjustables it would certainly be Powerblocks. The only reason I have kept my Ironmasters is for stuff over 90 lbs since that's as high as my Powerblocks go.
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    ^already changing your mind, lol...

    My advice would be to pick up a couple items that you are pretty sure you will use consistently, use them for a while and see how it goes.

    I bought a squat rack at the local Dicks sporting goods. Nothing fancy. Used it for a couple months and found that when racking after squats the entire rack would start to tip forward unless I racked it gently. Found another rack on CL, and it worked better for a couple months. Then I found my current rack, which is perfect. Heavy as all hell, 3" square tube, etc. Problem is, when I started shopping for the first rack, I didn't really have an understanding of what I was looking for, and never would have thought I would be happy with the beast I use now.
    You've had a home gym before, so maybe that wont' be an issue for you, but every thing I have bought/sold over the last couple years has made it clear that my priorities have evolved over time.

    And glad to hear you won't be driving to Seattle for CL finds... I don't need any more competition for good deals up here, lol.
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    My advice is from personal experience only, use at your own risk, lol
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    Originally Posted by blue9steel View Post
    I've heard that in a couple of places now. What is it you liked about it so much more than the stall mats?

    FYI, this is a rental so I won't be glueing anything to the concrete. Strangely we moved from a duplex we owned to a house we're renting so that I can be closer to work. I was commuting 2-2.5 hours a day (total) and now that's down to more like 45 minutes or so.
    From my perspective the two primary things are (1) functionally, it fits together better, no worry about some mats being a little higher or not snug with others. (2) Smell, I had stall mats that still had a slight smell after a couple years. (3) Pure aesthetics, I find when my gym is clean and organized I'm more excited/motivated to lift and spend more time in there. That's just a personal preference.

    The price between the two, if I recall is about $1.5-2/sq foot for stall mats and my rolled rubber was $2.25/sq ft delivered on a pallet to my garage gym. The difference in price is nominal, install is easy.
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    Originally Posted by ncsuLuke View Post
    I'd think twice about the Ironmasters, I have a set and I have pretty much abandoned them for Powerblocks because changing out the weight was annoying with the Ironmasters. If I had the space I'd definitely have individual dumbbells but that isn't happening anytime soon and if I could only have one set of adjustables it would certainly be Powerblocks. The only reason I have kept my Ironmasters is for stuff over 90 lbs since that's as high as my Powerblocks go.
    Agree 100% with this. Got some IMs really cheap ($100 for the 75s with the stand), tried them for a while then sold then for a profit. Preferred PBs to 90 and would just get indiviudal sets of Pro style or make them above 90.
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    Originally Posted by blue9steel View Post
    I've heard that in a couple of places now. What is it you liked about it so much more than the stall mats?

    FYI, this is a rental so I won't be glueing anything to the concrete. Strangely we moved from a duplex we owned to a house we're renting so that I can be closer to work. I was commuting 2-2.5 hours a day (total) and now that's down to more like 45 minutes or so.
    IMO a much cleaner look, way less joins, in my set up the rolled rubber does not appear to be so affected by temperature variations, so no opening of seams in colder weather. and the associated crap that used to accumulate in the gap, so easier to keep clean.

    Some simple double sided flooring tape was all I used, especially on the ends of the rolls, but I suspect it may have been overkill, once it settled it wasn't going anywhere.


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    You could save a lot of money on the benches by going with Rep AB5000 and FB5000. I won't pretend their overall quality is on par with Rogue, but it's worth considering nonetheless. You can put the Thompson Fat Pad on the Rep FB5000 if you want.
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    Originally Posted by ncsuLuke View Post
    I'd think twice about the Ironmasters, I have a set and I have pretty much abandoned them for Powerblocks because changing out the weight was annoying with the Ironmasters. If I had the space I'd definitely have individual dumbbells but that isn't happening anytime soon and if I could only have one set of adjustables it would certainly be Powerblocks. The only reason I have kept my Ironmasters is for stuff over 90 lbs since that's as high as my Powerblocks go.
    Strange, when I was doing my initial research on this one of the things I looked at was home gym pictures from the forum and it seemed like nearly everyone had either actual dumbbells or ironmasters. I also saw a number of reviews about them that were pretty positive. I could definitely see how powerblocks would be much faster on changeover, though I'm not real excited about how enclosed they are. I don't do much in the way of dumbbell dropsets these days so I'm not sure changeover time is that big a factor. I've seen some of each for sale locally though usually not at much of a discount. Fixed dumbbells would obviously be better, but I wasn't sure it was really worth dropping three grand for. (or more with pro style) Ironmasters seemed like a step up from spin locks.
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    Originally Posted by vristang View Post
    My advice would be to pick up a couple items that you are pretty sure you will use consistently, use them for a while and see how it goes.
    With my prior home gym experience and also time I've spent at commercial gyms I've got a pretty good idea of what I want in a rack. I previously had a BodySolid one, they don't make that model anymore but it looks like it was likely the predecessor to the GPR378.

    I had a TDS GHD before, and it actually wasn't bad. The Rogue one is overkill but pretty much all the decent ones are roughly the same price range and I like stuff that's overbuilt.

    The recumbent bike will mostly be something we test by sitting in it and doing some pedaling before purchase. Easy to re-sell if we don't like it.

    I'm not too worried about the lat pulldown, those aren't real complicated.

    One thing I'm not totally sure about right now is the Ironmaster dumbbells since I've never used them before.
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    Thanks for all the feedback on the flooring. I'm going to have to take another look at that. Stall mats seemed like an obvious choice since so many people have them and I'm pretty familiar with them already. I had looked at interlocking tiles but they seemed too expensive. For a long term home gym I think rolled flooring really sounds like the way to go. We're only planning to be here something like three years so I have to figure out if it makes sense here when they might be hard to move or cut to the wrong dimensions if we relocate again.
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    Originally Posted by blue9steel View Post
    Strange, when I was doing my initial research on this one of the things I looked at was home gym pictures from the forum and it seemed like nearly everyone had either actual dumbbells or ironmasters. I also saw a number of reviews about them that were pretty positive. I could definitely see how powerblocks would be much faster on changeover, though I'm not real excited about how enclosed they are. I don't do much in the way of dumbbell dropsets these days so I'm not sure changeover time is that big a factor. I've seen some of each for sale locally though usually not at much of a discount. Fixed dumbbells would obviously be better, but I wasn't sure it was really worth dropping three grand for. (or more with pro style) Ironmasters seemed like a step up from spin locks.
    The only right answer is both. Of course if you had both I'll bet money you'd find the IM to be the choice in heavier weights. I had both at one point, still have the IM.

    Unless you're obcesed with immediate drop sets, IM is the way to go. Even then they're fast enough to do "drop" sets. I've done many a drop sets on BP and SQ by myself over the years. A minute stripping the barbell or dumbbell won't hurt anything.
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    Originally Posted by blue9steel View Post
    Thanks for all the feedback on the flooring. I'm going to have to take another look at that. Stall mats seemed like an obvious choice since so many people have them and I'm pretty familiar with them already. I had looked at interlocking tiles but they seemed too expensive. For a long term home gym I think rolled flooring really sounds like the way to go. We're only planning to be here something like three years so I have to figure out if it makes sense here when they might be hard to move or cut to the wrong dimensions if we relocate again.
    Depending on how your garage is shaped, if you can get away without notching the flooring it will be simple to just roll it back up and take it with you. Comes in 4' wide pieces as long as you specify. Double sided tape the seams and you're done.
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    Originally Posted by radrd View Post
    You could save a lot of money on the benches by going with Rep AB5000 and FB5000. I won't pretend their overall quality is on par with Rogue, but it's worth considering nonetheless. You can put the Thompson Fat Pad on the Rep FB5000 if you want.
    Very true. Rep is mostly just cheaper copies of the Rogue equipment in many cases. The Rep gear would be $757 vs. $1230 for the Rogue gear, though with shipping on the rep gear and not on the Rogue that would narrow somewhat as that stuff is fairly heavy. At a rough guess, savings would be maybe $250-$300. At one point I considered buying all rep gear instead as it would be a reasonable savings across the board. I think Rogue tends to be higher quality with more resale value but it's not a slam dunk decision. One of the things that made me lean the other way was that I didn't like the alternating hole sizes on the Rep rack, it's also too tall for my space. I did not particularly like my old BodySolid adjustable flat/incline bench, it was too narrow and too wobbly. Either of these options would likely solve that problem though.
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    Originally Posted by blue9steel View Post
    Strange, when I was doing my initial research on this one of the things I looked at was home gym pictures from the forum and it seemed like nearly everyone had either actual dumbbells or ironmasters. I also saw a number of reviews about them that were pretty positive. I could definitely see how powerblocks would be much faster on changeover, though I'm not real excited about how enclosed they are. I don't do much in the way of dumbbell dropsets these days so I'm not sure changeover time is that big a factor. I've seen some of each for sale locally though usually not at much of a discount. Fixed dumbbells would obviously be better, but I wasn't sure it was really worth dropping three grand for. (or more with pro style) Ironmasters seemed like a step up from spin locks.
    The DB thing is largely subjective. Space/cost not being a factor, I would personally get a good set of rubber hex with the ergo handles. Other guys prefer the pro style. Some like the vintage York roundheads. I picked up a set of iron hex on the cheap and used those until I came across a set of Powerblock Pro EXP (urethane, open handles unlike classic PB) on FB Marketplace. I ended up selling the iron hex. When I come across a set fixed DBs that suit my tastes, then the PB will go up for sale.
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    Originally Posted by chadsalt View Post
    The only right answer is both. Of course if you had both I'll bet money you'd find the IM to be the choice in heavier weights. I had both at one point, still have the IM.

    Unless you're obcesed with immediate drop sets, IM is the way to go. Even then they're fast enough to do "drop" sets. I've done many a drop sets on BP and SQ by myself over the years. A minute stripping the barbell or dumbbell won't hurt anything.
    One of the things I've considered is picking up a used 5-50 dumbbell set to complement the Iromasters, those are pretty common locally and I could just watch for a good deal and snap them up since I woudn't be in a hurry with the Ironmasters already on hand. If I'm extra patient I might even be able to get pro style for those. Not totally sure I have room for that rack, but I could probably find a way to cram it in.
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    Originally Posted by Duplicitous View Post
    The DB thing is largely subjective. Space/cost not being a factor, I would personally get a good set of rubber hex with the ergo handles. Other guys prefer the pro style. Some like the vintage York roundheads. I picked up a set of iron hex on the cheap and used those until I came across a set of Powerblock Pro EXP (urethane, open handles unlike classic PB) on FB Marketplace. I ended up selling the iron hex. When I come across a set fixed DBs that suit my tastes, then the PB will go up for sale.
    I had hex last time and they were fine though the set I had (from New York Barbells) I thought the knurling was a little too aggressive and they tended to rust a bit. The urethane ones at 24HR Fitness are fine but frankly aren't that much better than the cheap ones other than the handles being slight better and obviously it's nicer to the floor if you drop them. Way back in the mid 90s I had a super cheap set of standard plates with terrible handles but just about anything is better than that.
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    Originally Posted by blue9steel View Post
    I had hex last time and they were fine though the set I had (from New York Barbells) I thought the knurling was a little too aggressive and they tended to rust a bit. The urethane ones at 24HR Fitness are fine but frankly aren't that much better than the cheap ones other than the handles being slight better and obviously it's nicer to the floor if you drop them. Way back in the mid 90s I had a super cheap set of standard plates with terrible handles but just about anything is better than that.
    I have a set of Hampton 5-50lb urethane hex dumbbells and they are fantastic, though I'm not the type to throw them around. I also have a complementary set of 90 lb PowerBlocks. It's a great setup and I wouldn't go any other direction for my needs, since I have neither the space for 100 lb hex set nor the strength for heavier PB.
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