Training for Results on a Home Gym (How to Choose the Right One)

powertec multisystem

powertec multisystem

More and more frequently you hear people spewing out buzz words related to training.  You know the words I’m talking about: core, functional, blah blah blah.  Of course these are important ideas to address; however, more often than not way too much time is spent on movement theory and less and less time is spent on moving weights and getting results.  While proper alignment and conditioning of the body as a whole is of the utmost importance, moving serious weight is how you change your physique and put on lean powerful muscle.  It doesn’t matter if you can stand on one foot on a BOSU ball, hold a resistance tube in one hand, balance a medicine ball on the other foot, all while texting your girl friend with your free hand.  What does that really accomplish?

It only gets you one step closer to getting picked up my Barnum and Bailey as you keep your significant other in the loop.  If your goal is to be a circus clown while communicating with your little lady electronically keep up the good work.  If you are into getting stronger, more powerful, and putting on muscle you MUST set down the phone and MOVE WEIGHT.  Using a home gym that allows you to do traditional lifts is a great way to accomplish this.  The question then becomes, “which gym?”

There are literally tons of different lines of equipment out there.  So, how do you pick equipment for your home?  First and foremost you must be sure to invest in equipment that you will use.  There are a few main things to consider when trying determining if you will use your choice for the months and years to come.

1. Quality of Movement – the equipment must have a ROM (Range of Motion) that is natural for your body while the strength curve matches up well with the biomechanics of the human physique.  Buying the cheapest piece out there is often a way to get a rickety piece of “equipment” (I use the term generously because many of the pieces I see are hardly worthy of being called “equipment.)  If your choice is rickety and shaky you will quickly become discouraged in its ability to handle the weight necessary to get you to your desired results.  On the other end of the spectrum, some home gyms are around $10,000.  Let’s be honest…for $10,000 you should be able to buy a home gym, a motorcycle, a new designer suit, and all the $5 Hot and Ready Pizzas you can eat in a year!

2. Quality of Machinery – the equipment must be made of top quality materials and components so that every time you are ready to train it is there and ready to go just like you.  Nothing is more frustrating than sitting on your gym to do a press and a pulley pops off or the selectorized weight track is rubbing on the rails and it sticks with each rep.  (Actually more frustrating would be when you’re at the Gym and have to wait on cell phone guy as he greases up the equipment just hanging out chatting on the lat pull down like it is his private Lazy Boy).  The point here is choose a piece for your home that operates smoothly and can handle the weight you can do today and the weight you will be able to do in 1, 2 and 3 years from now.  You will get stronger so be sure to make sure your gym can handle it.

3. Quality versus Cost– while there are many options available, it is often a challenge to find a brand that manages to supply high quality movement and machinery while keeping the overall cost in check.  Although I don’t believe in skimping when it comes to investing in your body, there comes a point that it can be overkill.  You and only you can determine what it the right amount to invest into your physique when choosing a home gym.

When first checking out the Powertec line I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The only thing I knew about Powertec previously was that Jay Cutler was in their advertisements in Muscle and Fitness Magazine years back and the equipment was yellow.

Workbench Multisystem

Workbench Multisystem

Workbench Levergym

Workbench Levergym


As I was shooting the 2011 Catalogue, I had a chance to really try out the machines and was pleasantly surprised.  This is equipment that can handle serious weight and feels solid.  The Powertec line can handle any weight I can.

Powertec has done a great job at addressing the main concerns when it comes to purchasing home equipment.

  1. Quality of Movement– each piece of equipment goes through a full range of motion on numerous exercises.  The movement is smooth and stable.  You get the “gym quality” feel you should look for in a home unit.
  2. Quality of Machinery– the Powertec design crew goes to great lengths to check and recheck each piece to be sure that what they put out with their name on it will be an accurate representation of the Powertec name.
  3. Quality versus Cost– I have been workout out since 1993 and have been on nearly every brand of equipment out there at all price levels.  From personal experience (buying a competitors products years ago) I can tell you that Investing, within reason, in a solid piece of equipment like those put out by Powertec is the way to go.  A $100 piece of equipment will not last or get used and a $10000 is just plain over priced for a home unit.  Powertec has hit the sweet spot.  Great Quality at a Very Reasonable Price.

Depending on your price range and available space Powertec has a unit that is the ideal home gym for you.  They offer complete gyms that allow multiple users at one time such as the Workbench Multi System.  If you are dealing with a smaller space but still desire awesome capability the Workbench Levergym is a great choice.  Other designs and individual pieces are available but these are two of my personal favorites for the complete Home Gym option.  Pick the home gym that’s best for you and get started creating the physique you deserve!

-Ian Lauer CSCS, Team Powertec

Breaking Plateaus with the Versatile Workbench Power Rack – Committed to Stronger LIves

Powertec Workbench Power Rack

Powertec Workbench Power Rack

You have probably heard of the phrase “hitting a plateau” in conversations discussing various forms of training. We are Committed to Stronger Lives. The essence of what is happening when the body plateaus is pretty simple.  Once your body achieves the necessary physical adaptations to deal with the workload you challenge with it, it stops growing.  You see…your body is smart.We are Committed to Stronger LIves. It doesn’t want to work any harder or consume any more fuel than necessary.  If you pack on tons of “unnecessary” muscle, the result is more body to fuel.  Your body will not allow this unless it deems the additional muscle necessary.  What you have to do is “trick” or push your body into needing more muscle.  When the stresses placed on the muscular system are greater than that of what it can handle it makes the gain of muscle “necessary.”  If it is necessary your body will adapt and grow so long as the right fuel is available.Committed to Stronger Lives.

The question you should be asking yourself is, “What do I have to do to make muscle gain necessary?”  The answer to that question is to move serious weight with consistency.  Rubber resistance bands and bodyweight exercises are great; but, they will not help you pack on serious muscle and bust through the dreaded plateaus. The tried and true method for challenging the body to gain lean mass is via Old School Resistance Training.  One of the best types of programs is one built around a piece of equipment that allows you to perform all the basics and at the same time lets you really stack the weight on.Committed to Stronger LIves.

If you want to make this happen consider a Barbell Weight Set used in a Power Rack and a Utility Bench.

When you couple a Power Rack with a Utility Bench with your Barbell Set you quickly find you have the necessary equipment to smash all the major muscles of the body.  You have the ability to pack on the weight necessary to thoroughly challenge your musculature to the point where it has to grow.  With a Power Rack and Utility Bench you have tons of exercises at your disposal.

Team POWERTEC Rob Riches and Natalie MInh at IHRSA 2011 Q&A Part 2


Q1) When in a muscle gaining phase, how much fat is healthy to put on before it becomes unhealthy?


Q2) Is it best to cycle your bodybuilding routines?



About Rob Riches

Rob Riches is a Fitness Model, 2x WBFF World Fitness Champion and a personal trainer with certifications through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), YMCA & REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals).

Video Transcript

Rob: Yo! What’s up guys? Team Powertec back here at 30th Anniversary of the IHSA, having live in San Francisco. Natalie you have few more questions.

Natalie: Few more questions

Rob: On the Powertec Facebook page that I asked you to post earlier so give me ah the last few then.

Natalie: Okay, so thanks to those who posted the questions. Joshy asks, “Rob when in a muscle gain phase, how much body fat would you allow to put before you need to start shredding the fat off? Before it gets to a point of being unhealthy, say for example 6% fatty? Uhmm.. im just talking examples for men not women. Thank you very much for your answer”

Rob: Again, a great question. I think a lot of people tend to ask, but they don’t always ask it the right way because they think in order to on put lean muscle in order to get bigger they need more food. By doing that they accumulate a lot more fat then they get bigger, they start to change their mind set that they wanted to look more lean, and ripped, and shredded, so they wanna get all that body fat off. Then they’re just gonna go up and down, up and down and so on like that. And I can tell you from experience that, that is not necessarily the way to do.

The way to do it is to keep the calorie based consistent and only at 300-500 calories extra a day. So earlier I said make change might be ratio from 13-15 calories per pound body mass so you wanna work that out and add about 500 calories on to that. That’s gonna be your maximum muscle gaining of calorie attack. And then with that, you’re looking at muscle mass, I said earlier that the max nutrient ratio is somewhere between 35-50-15 protein, carbs, and fat, so that’s your calorie intake right there and if you got it on percentages, really you don’t want to be getting up much above 12% of body fat.

If you’re at 16, that’s okay but if you start seeing those numbers going up maybe you measured them on scales or you got some callipers and you see it each week you’re putting on body fat, it shouldn’t be the case. At best you put on some 3-4 pounds of lean muscle, you’re gonna put a lot of pound of body fat so the ratio is about at best 3-1. So bear that in mind that if your weight is going up, if a third of that weight happens to be body fat, then you just don’t land in your weight so just tone it down a bit or so. Maybe add an assist to cardio in weeks. I hope it helps your question.

Natalie: Absolutely. Next question. Raven asks “Is it best to cycle straight and body building workout separately over the year or mixed it together at the same time?”

Rob: Hang on, what is bodybuilding? Is that on strength?

Natalie: Um.. yeah. Body building versus cycle strength workouts.

Rob: The basic question is, cycling your workouts, switching up the start of training maybe every 6-8 weeks both my kinda two cents on that would be, If you see progressively good gains or if you’re able to increase your resistance about 5% every other workout then to me your body has got to adapt to that routine. So stick with it.

If after a couple of weeks you’re unable to A. take the weight up or recover quite as quickly or you feel as though you’re fatigued along after that workout then your body has most likely adapt on that sort of training and it’s time to switch it up so going actually feeling on how your body responds to your training and yeah I would say go from a heavy workout kind of a strong mass strength training and then you wanna cycle it down some more of a leaner version on what you might be working on a higher volume with shorter recovery periods and you know keep one thing the same at least so keeping nutrition the same change one aspect of the training and see how much responds you get to that.

So if you change too many things, ears starts going off, red flag starts to appear everywhere and your body is going to turn into a state of alert and basically locks down on your change especially if that is fat burner that we do. So basically you change one thing at a time and only change it when you’re noticing things starts too slow down and not seeing as much response basically.

Natalie: So the important thing really is to keep track your workouts , keep tracking your progress

Rob: Note it down

Natalie: Okay.. Very good

Rob: Oh so that’s just about wraps up the end of team Powertec here. 30th anniversary of our IHRSA here at San Francisco and were gonna be around the rest of the world. So make sure you keep tabs on both of our personal facebook and twitter pages as well as Powertec Facebook and Twitter and check out for all related details.

Natalie: Keep posting more questions. Looking forward to them

Rob: Alright.


Team POWERTEC Rob Riches and Natalie MInh at IHRSA 2011 Q&A Part 1

Q: How many times per week should I train abs and does it matter if I do it during the AM with my cardio or do it in the evening?


About Rob Riches

Rob Riches is a Fitness Model, 2x WBFF World Fitness Champion and a personal trainer with certifications through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), YMCA & REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals).

Video Transcript

Natalie: Hey Rob!

Rob: Hey Nat!

Natalie: Hey! How’s your workout?

Rob: It’s good. Its intense. It’s all about working out

Natalie: Good

Rob: Different levels

Natalie: Well, now signed for team powertec, got some people who had been chasing you down on the fan page.

Rob: That’s why I’ve been hiding here in the cage

Natalie: Hiding from women

Rob: Too many people have been chasing me. Alright, so what have you got for me?

Natalie: Alright.

Rob: Hit me with it!

Natalie: Hit me with your best shot!

Rob: See what I did there?

Natalie: Yeah, right!

Rob: That’s very funny.

Natalie: Alright, sorry.. Andrea have a question for you.

Rob: And you have, Andrea Turner?

Natalie: Well yes.

Rob: What’s up Andrea?

Natalie: She says, “How many time per week should I train abs? Also does it matter if I do them with my AM cadio? What I do on an empty stomach or do them on with my weight training? Thank you.”

Rob: Great question Andrea. I’ve got moves, unlike big muscle groups in the chest, arms, back, etc. You can actually train them every day, believe it or not, and that’s true to A) The proximity towards the heart and lungs which means they re-oxidise fast, rapidly meaning that they give blood back to them very quickly so they’re endurance muscle. Kinda like your calves which mean to really train them you have to use higher volumes. So, you kinda hit the nail in the head there with doing abs early in the morning cause you got a stomach is flat for not having any food throughout the night, so by doing cardio in the morning it increases metabolism. Your gut and your stomach is already tight so by then further going on and doing your abdominal routine you’re really focusing and target through your abdominal and core.

But if you’re doing them every day, I’d vary it. So on one day you got to focus more on the lower section and maybe use a little power and some resistance and next day you got to focus maybe more on the circuit and just do higher volume and a bit more of your respiratory training and let’s say maybe two or three days maximum of working them out and give yourself at least one day because even though the abs might be able to take it, you might not be. And the hardest thing is when you hit that plateau its then break through and continue.

So variation, sets, high volume, early morning after your cardio before you eat will be the best time to train abs and keep it short. 20 minutes of high intensity abs training is all you really need.


100% Protein Egg White Mini Muffins

Protein Egg White Mini Muffins

100% Protein Egg White Mini Muffins

Protein Egg White Mini Muffins




5 egg whites
TONS of cinnamon
2 packets of Splenda
Tiny drop of vanilla extract (and I mean not even a full teaspoon, just a drop).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a coffee mug, combine all ingrediants listed above. There is no measurement for the cinnamon except to say that your mixture should pretty much be completely brown in color once you have added a lot of cinnamon to the mixture. Added TONS of cinnamon will (1) provide lots of flavor and (2) carmelize the muffins. Stir WELL to combine all ingredients.

Once the mixture is well combined, spray a mini muffin pan with butter flavored Pam. Pour the egg mixture into 9 spaces of a mini muffin pan. Bake for 12-14 minutes depending on your oven (mine bake for 13 minutes).


You can also sprinkle the top of each muffin RIGHT when they come out of the oven with a cinnamon/splenda mix and they melt on the top of the carmelized cinnamon. YUMMMM!!

Recipes by Danitza Freigher



2011 Powertec Product Catalog

POWERTEC is proud to announce their 2011 Catalog, graced by Team Powertec athletes and WBFF Pros Rob Riches and Chady Dunmore. Our new site will launch this Spring, along with new exciting 2011 products! Sign up at to pre-order their new collector’s catalog which features Team Powertec’s favorite recipes, exclusive workout routines, and more.

Photographer: Natalie Minh