Advice needed: my workouts

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trebor
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Advice needed: my workouts

Postby trebor » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:42 am UTC

Hey, just looking for any improvments that you kind people of the fora could make to my regular workout. I mostly devised this myself from my own knowledge and advice from coaches, but now I've finshed competition rowing I'm looking to change my aims from improving my rowing ability to upkeeping my general health and building some muscle (specifically upper body strengh, shoulders/arms....for aesthetic reasons :wink: )

My weights program usually involves:
Bench press, 3 sets of 6 reps (60kg)
pull ups, 3 sets of 8 reps (body weight, 75kg)
Bicep curls, 3 sets of 7 reps (15kg) *I seem to have hit a wall on this one, been stuck on this weight with neglible improvment for ages*
tricep pull downs, 3 sets of 7 reps. (45kg) *with the rope thingy-mi-jig...that you turn your wrist inwards using. make sense?*
Lat pull down, 3 sets of reps (75kg)
Squats, 3 sets of 10 reps (95kg) *doing less of this now as i'm developing a bad back and hence poor technique, should I do it anyway with less weight till it rights itself?*
shoulder press, 3 sets of 7reps (35 pounds)
3 sets of max push ups (usually around 30something push ups)

I do this around 3-4 times a week depending on ability to get to the gym, however I may do different weights when training with other people depending on how our programs mix.

My aerobic exercises usually involves some form of running, on wednesdays I do fartleck sessions of varying duration with a group of people. Otherwise I run for about 14km twice a week at a casual pace of an hour (casual for me, at least). I am however intrested in doing cycling for fitness, what are peoples thoughts on that? better than running or not? I find it less stressing on my knees.

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Dave_Wise
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Re: Advice needed: my workouts

Postby Dave_Wise » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:51 pm UTC

With regards the weight training, don't get dragooned into going too heavy too quickly. 3x10 is fine for your sort of level. What sort of bad back are we talking about? Because if there's significant pain, you should rest it before you do any sort of serious weightlifting, really. I'd encourage you to junk the curls and pushdowns. I'd be inclined to mix it up a bit as well, maybe even some olympic lifts. Doing cleans makes weightlifting fun again.
Cycling's pretty cool. Not really better or worse than running, but it's a lower impact exercise and gets you to places faster. I tend to think people should do lots of different types of cardio. The more the merrier.
Do you do any gymnastic sort of exercises? This sort of thing is pretty cool: http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/229/ I tend to ignore all the hyperbole about 'building an olympic body' and what elite gymnasts can lift, though. My suspicion is that gymnasts lift weights more than they care to admit, especially the good ones, and that nothing short of being reborn and training from primary school age will give you an olympic level of fitness.

Care for a glass of crossfit kool-aid? http://www.crossfit.com go on... you know you want to...
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psyck0
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Re: Advice needed: my workouts

Postby psyck0 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:08 pm UTC

Skip the tricep pull-downs, or do 2 sets of 12 to save some time. They are unnecessary.

Skip the lat pull-down, it's the same as pull-ups and you're already doing plenty of those.

Squat and bench 3 sets of 5. Every compound exercise gets sets of 5.

Do overhead press with a barbell, not with dumbells, also for sets of 5- it's a compound exercise.

Add in some deadlifts for 1 or 2 sets of 5.

Drop the push-ups, you're already benching and unless you need to be able to do large numbers of pushups, they're useless when you're benching.

Overall, you have the right idea. Split the workout up some- bench, squat, curls, pullups one day, press, squat, pull-downs, deadlift another day, not necessarily in that order. Squat every time you go, never two days back-to-back. Make sure you're squatting properly. Learn proper squat technique without any weight first, then add the weight. Take a deep breath, pushing your stomach out, then contract your abs and back (keeping your back tight with the arch in the lower lumbar region), knees somewhere a bit past shoulder width (varies depending on proportions), toes pointing out 30 degrees, then sit down and back until you go past parallel (parallel is defined as the crease of your hip, where your thigh meets your hip at the top and the skin folds, being parallel with the top of your knee). Push your knees out, making sure they stay over your toes and don't cave in. Almost no one ever pushes out too far, and most people don't push out enough. Coming up, focus on driving your hips up, your heels into the ground, and keeping your back tight. Don't think about your chest, think about driving your hips and your chest will take care of itself. MAKE SURE YOU BLOODY HIT PARALLEL. I watched 6 guys squat today and not a one of them hit parallel. In case you haven't realized, the squat is damn important.

If you have $30 to spare, buy Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore. It has a fantastic, very simple program that is much like I suggested, but more importantly it has the best descriptions of the basic lifts (squat, deadlift, bench, press, power clean) that you can find anywhere. It is worth well over twice what it costs and everyone who is starting to weight-train should read it so that they get the bloody form right.

Dave recommended crossfit. It's fine for conditioning, but useless for weight training. As well, it tends to use olympic lifts for cardio, which I think is stupid. Olympic lifts should be never be done to exhaustion, the focus should always be on perfect form, ESPECIALLY for newcomers, so that they don't develop poor technique due to fatigue.

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trebor
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Re: Advice needed: my workouts

Postby trebor » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:21 am UTC

Dave_Wise wrote:What sort of bad back are we talking about? Because if there's significant pain, you should rest it before you do any sort of serious weightlifting


not a pain sort of bad back, more of a doesn't quite bend 'right'. When I bend over a large outwards arch appears in my Lumbar region....not painful just weird. When I do squats I can't keep it straight anymore, I used to be able to but now I can't. It's gotten a few confused comments from gym staff that can't work out what it is.

Dave_Wise wrote:With regards the weight training, don't get dragooned into going too heavy too quickly. 3x10

It's not too heavy, I've been doing it for a while and slowly worked my way up from pretty pathetic weights to this slightly more reasonable level.

to psycko, thanks for that advice, I'll give it a shot next time.

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Re: Advice needed: my workouts

Postby Dave_Wise » Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:15 pm UTC

How tall are you? That might suggest the nature of the problem. And how's your flexibility?
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trebor
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Re: Advice needed: my workouts

Postby trebor » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:43 am UTC

Dave_Wise wrote:How tall are you? That might suggest the nature of the problem. And how's your flexibility?


bang on 6 foot I think, if not a tad taller. As to the 2nd question....used to be horrible, but I did lots of stretching to at least just be able to touch my toes, now I can go palms flat on the floor.

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Re: Advice needed: my workouts

Postby Dave_Wise » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:09 pm UTC

OK.... so neither of those two... can you deadlift OK?
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psyck0
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Re: Advice needed: my workouts

Postby psyck0 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:25 pm UTC

See your doc, you might have scoliosis, which can be pretty serious.

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trebor
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Re: Advice needed: my workouts

Postby trebor » Sat May 15, 2010 8:57 am UTC

Just chucking in an update, changed around my workout routine a bit seems to be showing some improvments.

also I backed off on the total weight for a while and did higher reps, especially on the squat, now my back has seemed to strengthen itself up, so no more weird bending :)

eparrishjr
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Re: Advice needed: my workouts

Postby eparrishjr » Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:17 am UTC

Look, I think a lot of you are really overcomplicating the workout issue. I've been on the healthy path now for a month, after putting on too many pounds since marriage and kids (and I'm the husband!).

I've lost 13 lbs in 1 month, wasn't hungry unless I wasn't able to catch a meal or snack.

Just keep a few general things in mind when planning your workouts and you'll do fine.:
1) working large muscle groups is always best, instead of isolating certain muscles like biceps for example
2) whatever work out you decide to do, it should be difficult, but not overstrenous
3) the body is meant to work in sprints, periods of work, then rest. so structure your workouts accordingly
4) make sure you give your body ample time to rest in between workouts
5) always drink lots of water, about 8 oz per 25 lbs your overweight plus 8 8 oz glasses a day
6) lay off the saturated fats, fried foods, stuff with HFCSs (high fructose corn syrups), try to eat healthy, not neccessarily low fat, just healthy
7) eat often

DO these tips and the weight will pour off, its' worked for me.

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trebor
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Re: Advice needed: my workouts

Postby trebor » Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:59 am UTC

eparrishjr wrote:
DO these tips and the weight will pour off, its' worked for me.


Those are great tips and people would do well to follow them when trying to stay healthy in general, It's just I'm not trying to lose weight (If I did I may waste away)

mariefranc
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Re: Advice needed: my workouts

Postby mariefranc » Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:49 pm UTC

Perhaps someone has experience with Kieser Training, a swiss-german method.
This method uses Nautilus machines and they claim, you do better if you only make 1 set per muscle group - 1 set 6-10 repetitions with total exhaustion.
If you can do 11 repetitions you should increase weight to the next level. And they advise not to warm up and do all excercises extremely slowly.
Is there anyone with experience with this method? It seems to contradict a lot of other advice.
Any reply would be appreciated.

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the_stabbage
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Re: Advice needed: my workouts

Postby the_stabbage » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:45 am UTC

It's probably a good idea to do some kind of leg exercises. Try leg press machines, they shouldn't hurt your back.

Try strengthening your core, too. It might help your back. Planks, sit-ups, leg raises, etc.

But if you want more upper-body stuff, here's a tip: If you get stuck on one weight and can't go up, try doing a variation. You're stuck on curls, so try doing hammer curls, preacher curls, or close-grip pullups.

Victoria Maddison
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Re: Advice needed: my workouts

Postby Victoria Maddison » Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:55 pm UTC

mariefranc wrote:Any reply would be appreciated.

The target audience for Kieser training is the prevention/therapy sector. It's not intended for healthy people to achieve high levels of strength/fitness. I'd advise something more pragmatic if that's your goal.


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