|Kettlebells for greater strength|
If you want to gain strength, I can't recommend anything more than a kettlebell.
What the heck are kettlebells?
What makes a kettlebell different than typical weights?
There are two basic exercises that will build both your strength and your stamina. The swing (or alternately the snatch), and the clean and press. You can find many videos of people doing these two basic moves on www.youtube.com. Even better would be to pick up a video and book from the man who made kettlebells popular in the USA, Pavel Tsatsouline. Enter the Kettlebell is his book and companion video, and are the best resources to get you started. The book and video (see below) give you a path to follow, and can keep you busy for many years. Other exercises can be performed with kettlebells, but the basic two moves are a great place to start.
Where can I purchase a kettlebell?
If you want to buy a kettlebell locally in the Seattle area, I've found one store that has them (up at Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood, WA)... Precor Home Fitness (425) 778-5800. You will save a little money on shipping and feed your need for instant gratification by a local purchase, but the products are not as nice as the K2 Fitness kettlebells. For me, I would rather spend the extra $20 or $30 (and the small wait time for it to be shipped) to have a much better product, as a kettlebell will last your lifetime.
Where can I purchase a book and video? For the book and video instruction, I would suggest picking up both the Enter the Kettlebell book and video. You can order them online directly from the publisher Dragon Door. There is no simpler instruction than these, and they break down each movement into parts, so that you get it right the first time. This is important because these weights are heavy, and you could seriously hurt yourself if you are not careful. Since the books are written by Pavel, and his schtick is being a strong russian "manly man," you need to either laugh or ignore that as you read the book and watch the video. In between the gimmick are true gems of knowledge that Pavel imparts to you so you can do things right.