I too have a total gym, and have not used it for anything but pull ups since I do not have a doorway pull up bar.
To do curls for you and your husband there is going to be a lot of wait time to set it at a height that will get the resistance that you both will need. So I would suggest that you seriously look into buying some kind of resistance system, whether it be bands, dumbbells or adjustable dumbbell sets.
You can use a stability ball in place of a bench...$15-$40 depends on where you shop. The best ones to get are the ones with sand in them to hold them in place so they don't roll away from you when you get up off of it. Plus you can buy two so you can workout together on certain things.
You can get an EzBar from Wal-Mart.com for $22 and it comes with dumbbell bar set. Just need to get plates.
Try ebay, craigs list or yard sales. I have 3-40lbs of dumbbell sets and spent less than $200 on all of them. I also found a place that was selling out of plates at $0.50 a lb, so I picked up 140lbs for $70. So you can see it pays to look for deals.
Good luck to you both on your Fitness Journey!!
Tis better to look UP in the mirror to be inspired than to look DOWN at the scale and lose your desire!! - SEM
Squid's advice is spot on. Bands are great for the beginner, especially shoulders, an adjustable Kettlebell (***'s) works wonders, and a system like Power Blocks can't be beat an average out to be a bit less than buying individual dumbbells. Shop around for others who became disenchanted with exercise, and benefit from their discouragement.
On the other hand, if you are truly serious about your commitment to living a healthier lifestyle, perhaps a gym membership would best suit your needs. And don't forget, body-weight exercises. A good pullup bar, body-weight squats, varietal pushups and crunches, and you are on your way to revving up the old metabolism.
Hope this helps!
Congratulations on getting started.
I purchased the majority of my equipment (bench, bars, knee brace, and gloves) at Wal-Mart. I am not the biggest fan of the store, but sometimes you just can't beat their prices.
The majority of my weights actually came from a second had sports store. In San Diego we we have Play It Again Sports, but there is a good chance the Salvation Army or similar charitable store will have loose free weights at a considerable discount.
Thanks everyone!! This is all such great information!
I looked at walmart online to get an idea on pricing. We will go into the store and see what weights will work best for us. A gym membership would be ideal but we have a toddler and its not easy to get out as often as we would like and im afraid it would be too easy to make excuses. So working out at home is definetly the way to go for us. I never considered a stability ball so that is a fantastic suggestion! Thanks for all of this info.
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