Taking the plunge!

Lifting weights whether for bodybuilding, toning, or just for general fitness.

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Taking the plunge!

Postby xJimx » Fri Jan 09, 2004 9:32 am

Hi Guys

I've decided to join a gym with free weights. It opens at 7am so I should be able to fit it around work and home commitments. I'm going along for an induction on Sunday so I'd be grateful if any of you could suggest what exercises I should ask the instructor to show me.

What would be a good regime for me to start with? Should I split my workouts into push, pull and legs? Also, is keeping an exercise journal a good idea?

Sorry to keep bombarding this board with questions, it's so good to have advice from all my lovely fellow vegans!
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Re: Taking the plunge!

Postby Malcolms Billy » Fri Jan 09, 2004 9:41 am

[quote="xJimx"]
Also, is keeping an exercise journal a good idea?

Sorry to keep bombarding this board with questions, it's so good to have advice from all my lovely fellow vegans!


Hi Jim,

Great that you're joining a gym with free weights - it's sooo much better than machines. I've moved from almost all machines to at least 3/4 free weights, and am enjoying my workouts much more.
Don't apologise for "bombarding the board with questions", that's what keeps it going! :) I'm not going to advise you on exercises you should ask for - I'll leave that up to the likes of JP & Co, who are much better at that.
:) I've found that keeping a journal is very useful to me, as I can see if and how much I've progressed and how long I've been doing a programme for.

See ya,
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Postby JP » Fri Jan 09, 2004 12:04 pm

wicked mate! Wise and brave move. Hope you'll find it rewarding and motivating.

Billy is spot on: start a training journal, good old paper book or at the training journals section, or both :)

The exercises to ask is more complicated question that you would imagine. I'm afraid most gym instructors are not very good... And also they are too used to instruct people with low motivation and no real push into achieving something which i think you are trying to do. As a result the programs they often write up are absolutely terrible.

But, once in a while you might get lucky and get an instructor who might even do oplympic lifting and all related things!

What i would do in your situation would be to tell the instructor that you would like to train with free weights as much as possible (in my book it means: machines 0 exercises, free weights: all - but i'm a fanatic, lol!). If they contest that i'd just say that with free weights you will strenghten your balancing muscles and core muscles and therefore create a strong balanced body which is important for injury prevention.

Machines are dangerous because they create an illusion that you are strong because you can do so-and-so much in chest press or leg extension machine. When you are faced with real life situations like picking up a box, or pushing an overweight drunken person off you, you'll find that you are weak and may injure yourself.

anyways, rant over :lol: the exerices i'd ask them to teach me would be:

- squat
- deadlift
- stiff legged deadlift
- dips for chest
- bent-over rows

i think those are the hardest of the basic movements to master which would cover quite a bit of a good, solid and sound program.

Please let us know how you get on on sunday mate!
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Postby xJimx » Fri Jan 09, 2004 1:04 pm

Cheers for all the advice and encouragement guys, it is much appreciated!

I'll keep you posted.
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Postby Pete » Sun Jan 11, 2004 8:19 pm

Hi Jim,
got the post too late to get my selection in (well Joni just about covered all my favs :) , so all I want to know is how'd it go mate :D :?:
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Postby xJimx » Mon Jan 12, 2004 8:58 am

I arrived at the gym to be told that I wasn't booked in for an induction, despite having confirmed with them 24 hours earlier; bloody useless. So anyway, I'm going back Tuesday night.

Still feeling very motivated though; I bought a little notepad to act as training journal yesterday!
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Postby xJimx » Wed Jan 14, 2004 8:59 am

Just finished my first free weights session this morning! It felt good, although I reckon I'll be sore tomorrow! It's surprising how heavy the weights are when you haven't got a machine to stabilise everything for you.

I'm thinking of breaking down my workout into the following sessions, can you guys tell me what you think:

session 1
Squats
Deadlifts
Leg raises (on machine)

session 2
Triceps extensions
Shoulder raises (front, side and above head)
Chest press with dumbells
Pec press with dumbells
Dips (using machine at present as I can only dip around 55kg, which is 30 less than I weigh)

session 3
Bicep hammer curls
Chins (again, using machine to balance some body weight)
Bent over row

Have I split things up OK? I could also do with some ideas for more pulling exercises in session 3 e.g. something that would replace lat pulldown.

Cheers guys.
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Postby JP » Wed Jan 14, 2004 9:36 am

[quote="xJimx"]It's surprising how heavy the weights are when you haven't got a machine to stabilise everything for you.

very true mate. Also the opposite is true, when you do free weights only stuff for a while and try the machines you'll find that they area very, very easy!

[quote]
session 1
Squats
Deadlifts
Leg raises (on machine)

session 2
Triceps extensions
Shoulder raises (front, side and above head)
Chest press with dumbells
Pec press with dumbells
Dips (using machine at present as I can only dip around 55kg, which is 30 less than I weigh)

session 3
Bicep hammer curls
Chins (again, using machine to balance some body weight)
Bent over row


the split is fine in my opinion, the exercise selection maybe not exactly my taste but that's up to you and what you like doing. One important thing though is the order of the exercises. Always move from most compound (the biggest, most taxing, the most important, the most muscle mass recruiting) towards more isolating movements.

so for instance session 2 would be pretty much exactly other way around, probably best to start with dips (try to get to use your own bodyweight asap on these, there are techniques which can help to reach that quickly), then bench presses, shoulder presses (by the way, you don't really need to do the isolation raises, shoulder pressing covers them all, but it's your call) and then tricep work, if you have any ammo left :)

Same thing with session 3, other way around starting with barbell rows or chins and bicep curls or forearm work last. Otherwise your bicep work will hinder the weight you can move in rows and chins.

How does that sound?

Did you get the introduction session from the personal trainer?
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Postby xJimx » Wed Jan 14, 2004 2:14 pm

Cheers for the input JP mate. I'll get the new routine written up in my journal and get cracking. I spent about an hour with the trainer in the gym this morning; it's a council-run place so you don't pay for any of the advice, plus he seemed to know his stuff.
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Postby xJimx » Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:43 pm

Oops, also meant to ask you if it's necessary to both chest/bench presses and pec-type presses? Do they work different muscles or I should I just stick to one or the other? And, when doing chins, is it better to have palms facing me or away from me?
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Postby JP » Wed Jan 14, 2004 5:57 pm

[quote="xJimx"]Oops, also meant to ask you if it's necessary to both chest/bench presses and pec-type presses? Do they work different muscles or I should I just stick to one or the other?


ok, i'm not an expert, so others please chip in as well, but essentially no, they do not work different muscles. Flex and other muscle comics feed this stuff like "they work inner pecs" or "hit the muscle from all angles" etc. But as a beginner or intermediate lifter such advice is a bad one.

Firstly the shape of your muscle is determined genetically, so you cannot alter it by using differentr angles and so on. Secondly isolation movements like pec deck or dumbell flyes are not really necessary after bench pressing and/or dipping, which are much better pec mass builders.

Having said that, nothing wrong with flyes, they are an effective exercise, it's just that there are so many effective exercises and as a natural trainer you just can't do them all :)

[quote]
And, when doing chins, is it better to have palms facing me or away from me?


depends on your goals but palms away with a bit wider than shoulder width grip is my recommendation so your biceps wouldn't be doing all the work. The palms facing you would bring the biceps more into play.

Hey mate, if you are doing these with a machine, stop! :) There are ways to get you to do them quickly with your bodyweight. The machines as well as lat pulldowns don't help that much in getting you to pull your bodyweight up.
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Postby Pete » Wed Jan 14, 2004 8:19 pm

Joni said
[quote]...but essentially no, they do not work different muscles. Flex and other muscle comics feed this stuff like "they work inner pecs" or "hit the muscle from all angles" etc. But as a beginner or intermediate lifter such advice is a bad one...

Although Joni's right you can't work the inner or outer pec (pec is short for the muscle of the chest), you can work the muscle to stress different regions. Like doing an Incline press will stress the upper region of your pec much more, while a Dip will focus more on the lower portion of your pec, for a beginner either incline press, flat bench press or dip(decline press could be used in place of dip) could be used as all work very well. Just choose one you like & work hard at it for a while. Most people find dipping good for growth (if you work at getting to bodyweight quickly, then moving on to weight around your waist, you will be moving a big weight very quickly), some prefer bench pressing as it's common to be asked how much you bench.
I'd go with what Joni said about the order of the exercises.
Keep us up to date with how you're getting now & again too :!:
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Postby funfetus » Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:24 am

Note that the upper region of the pectoral is actually a different muscle from the lower region. So when you work different regions, while you can't change the shape of the muscle, you can change the size of different muscles in the same muscle group in relation to each other.
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Postby xJimx » Thu Jan 15, 2004 9:14 am

[quote]Hey mate, if you are doing these with a machine, stop! There are ways to get you to do them quickly with your bodyweight. The machines as well as lat pulldowns don't help that much in getting you to pull your bodyweight up.


I can manage chins with palms facing towards me without the machine, but with the dips and other chins I'm struggling to do over 60kg at present. What ways can I improve quickly? Is it better to do a very small (and I mean very small) number of reps on bodyweight rather than, for instance, doing 5 sets of 5 reps at 20-30kg below bodyweight?
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Postby Renecarol25 » Thu Jan 15, 2004 4:38 pm

You just have to work your way up. I was doing 4 sets of 3 to start with on my pullups. Now I'm mostly getting 5 on my sets. Sometimes a set of 5, a set of 4, a set of 5, a set of 4 like that. I find if I rest a little bit longer I can get that 5th one. Yeah I say do more sets of less. If you can only do 2 then do six sets of 2. Rest in between. I would try to get in 12 total when you are begining. And if your pullups are harder.. do 'em first. That's what I do.
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