Q. For about a year and a half I have been working out at a health club. I'm now exploring the possibility of only using my Bullworker [a small portable device] at home. What's your opinion of only using the Bullworker? Should I consider purchasing some of the home equipment currently on the market? If so, what would you recommend? E.W. Burke

A. Using the Bullworker at home is better than doing nothing at all. But if you use only the Bullworker, you'll be limited in the exercises you can perform and the muscle groups you can develop.

Before you buy any home equipment, you must decide what you're trying to accomplish with your strength program. Are you trying to develop overall strength? If so, it would be difficult to buy one piece of equipment to take care of all the major muscle groups in the body.

I divide the body into five major segments: the neck, hips and legs, midsection, upper body and arms. There are many major muscle groups that make up each one of these major body segments.

You must first decide how many of these muscle groups you want to develop (or ignore) and then buy enough equipment to develop the muscle groups you are concerned with. My recommendation is, don't ignore any of the muscle groups.

I'm not going to tell you what equipment to buy. Right now there isn't one single piece of equipment to take care of all the muscle groups, and it would be prohibitively expensive to buy enough pieces of equipment to properly train the entire body.

To help you decide, find a club that has enough equipment to develop each of the major muscle groups or decide which muscle groups you want to develop and buy the equipment that's affordable and meets your objective.