When it comes to planning and selecting exercise equipment, with the possible exception of the jump rope you really can't get much more basic than the gear you need for weight lifting. After all, the first body builders probably just used very big rocks!
Of course, there is the story of Milo, an ancient Greek who began lifting a calf and picked it up every day as it grew. Supposedly, with this "progressive resistance" he was eventually able to lift the full grown bull!
Well, maybe that's "bull", and who wants one of those things in the weight room? Who's going to clean up after it? Of course, the shovel is sort of strength building equipment.
Seriously, one of the neat things about weight lifting is not only that it is a great way to get in excellent physical shape while building strength and self confidence, but that it does not actually require much in the way of fancy, or expensive, equipment.
It is true that you can go full tilt and join a gym and have access to all the weight lifting gear you can imagine, both free weights and machines. You can even hire a personal trainer to help you with your weight training program. But, it is also true that you can "easily" (joke) accomplish many of the benefits of weight lifting with a basic set of barbells, dumbbells (from Walmart, a pawn shop, yard sale, or a buddy who quit working out), and a good home workout regimen. Dumbbells used to be those old familiar one-piece, bone-shaped hand weights but are now also available in adjustable forms and are relatively inexpensive. Barbells are usually used for the more advanced workouts and for working larger muscle groups. This is the long bar with weight being adjusted by adding or subtracting weighted plates.
For basic weight lifting training some pros recommend a 5-50lb hex dumbbell set. "Hex" refers to the shape of the weights (like the ones I use) - they are hexagonal rather then round, so they will not roll when you put them down. Your walls and your toes will probably thank you.in the long run. Hex dumbbell sets can be purchased for under 500.00 complete with racks. Many choose to purchase each new dumbbell as they progress.
As far as a barbell set
goes it depends on how much weight you want to have available to you in terms of the plates. The nice thing about barbells is of course you
can always purchase additional weight plates as you lift and increase you abilities. It is perfectly easy to purchas a decent starter barbell
set for under $100.00.
Garage sales, pawn shops, and thrift shops are also great places to find barbells and plates. Unfortunately for them, but fortunate for you, people do not always stick with their commitment to lift weights.
There are other items you may want ot acquire. If you are serious about building your biceps, for example, a curling bar is a good idea. This is basically a
curved barbell (you can use the same plates as on your straight bar) that makes the action of doing curls somewhat easier while conentrating the
effort more effectively on the biceps. You also may want to pick up a
weight bench. This too can often be found used. A simple weight bench is
essential for doing many weight lifting exercises for the back and
chest. More expensive, and complicated benches, are designed for use for other exercises such as ab crunches, and triceps dips.
Other accessories you may want to consider are a good pair of weight lifting gloves to protect your hands while lifting.
Unless you have a back problem you are probably already are aware that weight belts
for additional support are usually not necessary in most cases for basic weight lifting workouts. In fact, some trainers believe they do more harm then good
because they allow a lifter to lift more then they really are physically capable of, and cause certain muscles in the forearms and
lower back to receive less of a work out and less of a benefit from your weight lift routine.
Don't forget that the basic physics of weight lifting is to apply force against muscle contraction to overcome the
force of gravity - that same feat can be accomplished by lifting your body weight - and if you are really on a tight budget or pressed for
space a simple chin-up bar can be installed in any doorway to get in some lifting and strength training.
In fact, if you are a little strapped for cash, you can accomplish a lot with very little weight lifting equipment by starting out with bodyweight exercises and gradually adding equiipment.