Weights!

The Food Forum's Evil Twin. Trying to lose weight or get in shape? Tips, encouragement, status reports, and so forth go here.
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celandine
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Weights!

Postby celandine » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:37 am UTC

Well, it's cold now. And dark. Running the usual six miles before class seems pretty unappealing these days. So, I'm switching over to the warm, well-lit gym -- and, hey, it might be fun to start doing strength training for essentially the first time in my life.

But I think I need some advice from more experienced folks.

About me: I'm a girl. I normally do quite a bit of distance running, but I have no upper-body strength. It would be nice to do pushups without reverting to my usual lousy form; it would be really nice to get good enough to do a chin-up, but I don't know if that's possible.

I'm not overweight (5'6, 129 lbs), but I get a little squishier when I don't run. So the past couple of years, when it gets to be December, the weather is nasty, I don't go on the road as much, and I gain weight. Would like to avoid that this year. (Yes, there are treadmills; it's much harder to be disciplined when you're a hamster on a wheel, though. I've been spoiled by the birds and trees in the state park.) Is it possible to do more lifting and less running in such a way that I don't get fatter?

I'd like to know -- how many reps should I be doing on machines? (Today I did chest fly, assisted chin-up, and overhead press, and absurd numbers of sit-ups. Everything hurts gloriously.) Should I be setting it at a weight where I can just do ten, or a weight where I can just do twenty? Or more, or less? And over time, should I be increasing weight or increasing reps? Linearly or what?

I've also heard that free weights are better, but I've never actually been down there (it's a separate room, with burly guys) and I don't, honestly, know how to do it. Anyone want to point me to an introduction? (Keep in mind that I'm starting off wimpy. I can't, for example, get more than 30 pounds over my head.)

Please, anyone, feel free to give me your two cents of advice. I'm a reasonably disciplined person and I can follow a schedule; I just don't know what sort of schedule it should be.

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Re: Weights!

Postby psyck0 » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:47 am UTC

Read Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe; it was designed for first-time weight lifters. Simple program, easy to follow, very effective. Get the second edition if you can, I hear it's miles better than the first. I'm actually just starting my girlfriend on it. Here's a good online overview of it, although the book is better (credit to someone else for showing me that site, but I don't remember who.)

If you're training for something in particular, let us know because our answers will vary greatly.

Generally, aim for 3 sets of 5-8. Try to increase the weight every time you do the exercise (just by a bit) and do the same number of reps. If you ever fail any rep, it doesn't count towards the set. If you can't complete the set, drop 10-20 lbs on the exercise and build back up. And yes, free weights are miles better. Apart from anything else, they work your stability muscles and really improve balance.

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Re: Weights!

Postby celandine » Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:19 am UTC

Well, I looked at the overview, and I think I'll give it a try. My boyfriend is also somewhat serious about this weightlifting stuff, so I might go with him one day.

No, I'm not really training for something specific; I'm not a competitive athlete. (And, I'm afraid, I don't have more than an hour a day to devote to the gym.) Just want to get stronger and look good. Lose a little fat. The usual.

Sets of 5-8? Really? That few reps can actually do something? I guess I was just misguided.

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Re: Weights!

Postby jbn » Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:56 pm UTC

I've seen plenty of body-builders do few reps, quickly and then resting up for the nest set, when I've been to the gym. So yes, I imagine it does have results.

I've only really used machines when I've been at the gym. I felt it gave okay results and you can be pretty sure you're not doing the exercise awfully wrong because the machine works as a guide.

Not entirely in line with the topic but still relevant to your motivation, if you want to stay fit and have fun while doing it I recommend martial arts. But it's very much dependent on whether you turn out to enjoy that sort of thing. Most places where I live offer a free trial class before you sign up. So if you haven't, give it a shot. If you wonder which martial art to try, drop in on the martial arts thread and we'll sort you out.

Good luck with the weights.
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Re: Weights!

Postby psyck0 » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:06 pm UTC

Sets of low reps with high weights build far more strength than sets of high reps with low weights. High rep/low weight ends up mostly toning your muscles, similar to cardio, while low reps/high weight actually works them (note that you're really using high weights! The last rep should be difficult.)

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Re: Weights!

Postby Swivelguy » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:12 pm UTC

+1 for Starting Strength. I'm doing it right now, and it's been amazing. I've gone from thinking I could never squat 135 lbs to eagerly anticipating today's workout - my first try at 200 lbs.

One thing that you may not like about strength training is that it won't immediately be good for fat burning. To build muscle, you have to eat a caloric excess and avoid long or intense calorie-burning activity (ie. cardio). This allows your body to gain weight, and it is typical to gain some fat in addition to muscle. However, you will learn that it is easier to lose 10 pounds of bodyfat than it is to gain 1 pound of muscle. So if you do Starting Strength all winter, and end up with 10 more pounds of muscle and 10 more pounds of fat than you started with, it will be very easy to adjust your diet, shed that fat, and probably hang on to almost all of the muscle. I'm sure a lot of guys would agree that having some muscle is more important to a girl's physique than being very low-fat.

5-8 reps builds strength, 10-15 reps builds size, >15 reps builds mental fortitude and pain tolerance. As for your question, "how many reps should I be doing on machines?" the answer is a resounding ZERO. Use barbells. For your overhead press, you might have to either find a lighter bar or use dumbbells to start (an olympic barbell weighs 44 pounds by itself), but I'll bet that with proper form you'll find you can get 45 lbs overhead sooner rather than later.

To learn how to do the exercises, in addition to reading SS, watch videos on http://stronglifts.com/ . Stronglifts has great instructions on the lifts, but the 5x5 program on that site isn't as good as the 3x5 Starting Strength, though (NxM means N sets of M reps). If you have a question, find one of the "burly guys" who's squatting below parallel (this reflects less than 5% of people who think they're squatting in most gyms) and ask. Any guy in a gym will appreciate you being one of the very few girls who want to lift properly and will gladly help.
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celandine
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Re: Weights!

Postby celandine » Thu Nov 20, 2008 3:25 pm UTC

Thank you! This has been very helpful. (And more kibitzing is always welcome.) I'm going to make tomorrow my first real day. Today is incredibly busy, so I just ran in the morning, and situps and pushups.

I'll let you all know how it goes!

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Re: Weights!

Postby Kachi » Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:29 pm UTC

If you do build muscle mass, your basal metabolic rate will go up, which should help you prevent weight gain (marginally), but I wouldn't worry too much about being a bit squishy. I think ~10% body fat is considered healthy for women. It's much lower for men.

Your problem with that is going to be getting substantial upper body hypertrophy, assuming that's something you even want.

What I recommend you do is take up something that's upper body cardio-- then you can offset the loss of aerobic activity from running and simultaneously improve upper body muscular endurance. Boxing and rowing are the traditional options here-- the problem you may face with this is that it's likely to take a while before your muscular endurance is sufficient enough that you can actually get an adequate aerobic workout. Hypothetically you could get just a good a workout rowing or boxing for the same amount of time it takes you to run 6 miles, but your arms are going to be giving out a lot faster than your legs, particularly with your conditioning history.

So if it sounds at all appealing, take up one or both of those, but still do a couple/few miles. Personally running 6 miles sounds horrendously tedious to me, but I've never quite managed the runner's high.

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Re: Weights!

Postby celandine » Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:17 pm UTC

So, this was my first day!
Here's what I did:
3x5 of everything, squats at 35 lbs, bench press at 35 lbs, overhead press at 35 lbs, deadlift at 55 lbs.
Then I did abs (200 of various sit-up-like things that I learned way back in cross country) and then I did all the lifts again, except that I couldn't finish the third set of overhead press.

Yes, I know the weights are embarrassingly low -- apparently I should have been able to start with everything at least at 45 pounds on the first day. But I was honestly at my limit, you know, shaking badly by the last rep, and I was careful not to cheat on form. I guess I'll just add more weight next time. Deadlift was quite a bit easier than the others -- I probably should have used more weight.

Weirdly, I'm not tired, at least not winded. I don't know if that means I wasn't doing enough, or if it's just the way this works. The good news is, now I can get more than thirty pounds over my head.

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Re: Weights!

Postby jbn » Sat Nov 22, 2008 11:43 am UTC

If you haven't been working your upper body much earlier there's no reason why you would be able to lift this or that much. Your capacity will increase quite naturally as you keep at it.

Glad to hear you had a good session. I usually just feel soft and comfy in my muscles after a strength session, perhaps a bit drained, not winded.
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Re: Weights!

Postby Swivelguy » Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:02 pm UTC

Sorry to be harsh about this, but Starting Strength is designed to be done as written. That means, don't do both bench and press in the same day, don't add 200 sit-ups (this accomplishes probably nothing, by the way), and definitely don't go and do it ALL over again afterward. Rippetoe has turned hundreds of skinny people into muscular beasts. He knows what works best.

You are using very light weights - and that's fine, you're a small person. Those weights won't stay light for long, if you do SS properly, and you'll be glad you're only doing 3x5 of 3 exercises (plus warmup sets) and then getting to go home. Eventually, every repetition will [and should] be a battle.

You may not feel winded after a strength workout. It isn't designed to work your power-generation systems, it's designed to work your muscles under maximum load ("overload") for a small volume. By increasing the volume past what's prescribed, you compromise your recovery. You don't get stronger from lifting heavy weights - you get stronger from recovering from lifting heavy weights.
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Re: Weights!

Postby celandine » Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:26 pm UTC

You're not being harsh, you're right, and I appreciate it. I'll stick to the program. I now have the actual SS book, on loan from the bf. He went with me the other day to give me some pointers -- turned out I was doing the deadlift completely wrong, since I couldn't see myself. I'm still rounding my back, but it's getting less wrong. And, weights went up somewhat! Squats 45 lbs, deadlift 95 lbs, bench press 40 lbs, press still 35 lbs, sorry. (Press is the hard one for me. I've never been able to get a 50-pound suitcase into the overhead compartment on a plane. Damn it, this year I'm going to do it! 40 lbs on Monday, no excuses.)

But from now on I'm not doing the same thing two days in a row; in retrospect, that was stupid. I also had better not go with him for a while -- it's pretty humiliating to have someone who knows me see how weak I am, and I don't think I work as well when I'm distracted by embarrassment.

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Re: Weights!

Postby asad137 » Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:34 pm UTC

celandine wrote:But from now on I'm not doing the same thing two days in a row; in retrospect, that was stupid. I also had better not go with him for a while -- it's pretty humiliating to have someone who knows me see how weak I am, and I don't think I work as well when I'm distracted by embarrassment.


It's probably better to have him continue to go with you to make sure you're getting the form correct. It's worth the embarassment to avoid injuring yourself.

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Re: Weights!

Postby Swivelguy » Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:36 pm UTC

If you've got small plates available, I'd just do 2 - 2.5 lb jumps on overhead press. Given how little you're able to do now, 5 lb jumps will probably just result in an early stall.

Press is comparatively my worst lift too, so I feel your pain. I'm at 82.5 lbs now, after 2.5 months of SS. For comparison, I'm squatting 200 lbs.
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Re: Weights!

Postby psyck0 » Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:56 pm UTC

Eugh, press is brutal. I just barely managed to do 90 last time after already failing it and having to drop down once. 95 is going to be a bitch (I don't have access to 1lb plates :( )

Your squat and deadlift will probably be able to go up relatively quickly. I doubt that you're anywhere near your max for those yet, and it's only your lack of familiarity with the exercises limiting you right now.

Also, you CAN add in a bit of isolation work, like sit-ups, at the END of your workout. You can also do a bit of cardio if you like (I do mine on 2 of my off-days.) Just don't overdo it.

celandine wrote: I also had better not go with him for a while -- it's pretty humiliating to have someone who knows me see how weak I am, and I don't think I work as well when I'm distracted by embarrassment.


Bollocks. I'm teaching my girlfriend the program right now. I'm far more impressed that she's actually doing it (and learning the technique really fast.) How much she's lifting is meaningless, because it's only going to go up.

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Re: Weights!

Postby shocklocks » Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:06 am UTC

The weights you're using shouldnt be taxing you that much atm. If it's only your second workout you should be more worried about getting your form right then the weight you're lifting. Don't worry too much about maxing yourself out, just find the the weight at which you can comfortably do the press in perfect form, it shouldn't be at your max yet. Hold back so you reach that in 2-4weeks time. Over the next few weeks if you follow the programme correctly(esspecially the warm ups) you'll see your form start to dramatically increase, any problems you had stretching back far enough/aches from just performing the movements will start to go away and your body will begin to adapt to strenghening what it needs to. By this time you should be finding the press a tad more manageable and you'll be less likely to stall on it early on.

As for worrying about showing weakness, thats complete rubbish. Everyone starts at the beginning, sadly for most people thats usually the end. They'll make some sad excuse about why they can't continue or whine about it being too hard. If anything your bf is probably proud of you for having the courage to push yourself. Mental toughness/determination are much more appealing atributes believe me.

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Re: Weights!

Postby celandine » Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:40 pm UTC

Thanks for your encouragement, everyone. And there's no way I'm quitting. I want my little Excel progress chart to fill up.

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Re: Weights!

Postby celandine » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:30 pm UTC

Life is good! Squat 50, bench 45, deadlift still 95 while I figure out form, and press 40.

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Re: Weights!

Postby ddxxdd » Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:43 am UTC

Celadine, some more things about high-reps vs low-reps.

Heavy weights with low reps will really work your muscles and make them stronger, but lower weights with higher reps do two things:
1. They help tone your muscles properly so that you don't look like this: Image

2. When you aren't growing stronger, and your maximum weight is staying the same week after week, then more reps will help you break that plateau.

Best of luck to you.
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Re: Weights!

Postby Victoria Maddison » Thu Nov 27, 2008 10:00 am UTC

ddxxdd wrote:... but lower weights with higher reps ... help tone your muscles properly so that you don't look like [some giant freak]

Grr. Don't perpetuate that nonsense. There's no truth to that statement and it only serves to discourage women from serious strength training. Also, the word 'tone' doesn't mean what you think it means.

ddxxdd wrote:When you aren't growing stronger, and your maximum weight is staying the same week after week, then more reps will help you break that plateau.

That wouldn't work. If an athlete is eating enough and getting their 8 hours of sleep per night but still can't set a new PR for several weeks, and they've tried backing off 10% to no avail, then they've hit a legitimate plateau. Once the ability to induce training stress has outpaced the ability to recover from it then a more advanced training program becomes necessary. Switching to higher rep sets is not a solution.

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Re: Weights!

Postby ddxxdd » Thu Nov 27, 2008 5:06 pm UTC

Victoria Maddison wrote:
ddxxdd wrote:... but lower weights with higher reps ... help tone your muscles properly so that you don't look like [some giant freak]

Grr. Don't perpetuate that nonsense. There's no truth to that statement and it only serves to discourage women from serious strength training.


Are you serious?? Have you ever seen the bodies of people who never run, never do cardio work, and never do more than 5 reps on the bench press?? Working only fast-twitch muscles and never slow-twitch muscles is how you turn your body from something sexy to something weird.

Victoria Maddison wrote:
ddxxdd wrote:When you aren't growing stronger, and your maximum weight is staying the same week after week, then more reps will help you break that plateau.

That wouldn't work. If an athlete is eating enough and getting their 8 hours of sleep per night but still can't set a new PR for several weeks, and they've tried backing off 10% to no avail, then they've hit a legitimate plateau. Once the ability to induce training stress has outpaced the ability to recover from it then a more advanced training program becomes necessary. Switching to higher rep sets is not a solution.


Really? Are you sure about that? Cause my sources state that the reason you hit a plateau is because you've worked all your fast-twitch muscles, and they've adjusted to your load size, and without the inclusion of the slow-twitch muscles, they have no reason to become stronger.

It has nothing to do with recovering from training stress. What I'm talking about is maxing out 180lbs on the bench press on week 4, 180lbs on week 5, 180 lbs on week 6, etc. even if you only bench press once a week and rest up the other 6 days. Yes, a more advanced workout is required to break that plateau. And that workout would involve doing more reps of 170 lbs or 160 lbs until you're ready to do 190 lbs.
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Re: Weights!

Postby psyck0 » Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:10 pm UTC

ddxxdd wrote:Are you serious?? Have you ever seen the bodies of people who never run, never do cardio work, and never do more than 5 reps on the bench press?? Working only fast-twitch muscles and never slow-twitch muscles is how you turn your body from something sexy to something weird.


It's a good thing no one here is advocating doing that forever, then, isn't it? That would take AGES to build up to a noticeable effect.

ddxxdd wrote:Really? Are you sure about that? Cause my sources state that the reason you hit a plateau is because you've worked all your fast-twitch muscles, and they've adjusted to your load size, and without the inclusion of the slow-twitch muscles, they have no reason to become stronger.

It has nothing to do with recovering from training stress. What I'm talking about is maxing out 180lbs on the bench press on week 4, 180lbs on week 5, 180 lbs on week 6, etc. even if you only bench press once a week and rest up the other 6 days. Yes, a more advanced workout is required to break that plateau. And that workout would involve doing more reps of 170 lbs or 160 lbs until you're ready to do 190 lbs.


It's a good thing the OP hasn't even close to maxed out, then, isn't it?

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Re: Weights!

Postby ddxxdd » Thu Nov 27, 2008 7:02 pm UTC

psyck0 wrote:
ddxxdd wrote:Are you serious?? Have you ever seen the bodies of people who never run, never do cardio work, and never do more than 5 reps on the bench press?? Working only fast-twitch muscles and never slow-twitch muscles is how you turn your body from something sexy to something weird.


It's a good thing no one here is advocating doing that forever, then, isn't it? That would take AGES to build up to a noticeable effect.


I'd guess it'd take only a few months before your muscles get relatively tight and muscular.

psyck0 wrote:
ddxxdd wrote:Really? Are you sure about that? Cause my sources state that the reason you hit a plateau is because you've worked all your fast-twitch muscles, and they've adjusted to your load size, and without the inclusion of the slow-twitch muscles, they have no reason to become stronger.

It has nothing to do with recovering from training stress. What I'm talking about is maxing out 180lbs on the bench press on week 4, 180lbs on week 5, 180 lbs on week 6, etc. even if you only bench press once a week and rest up the other 6 days. Yes, a more advanced workout is required to break that plateau. And that workout would involve doing more reps of 170 lbs or 160 lbs until you're ready to do 190 lbs.


It's a good thing the OP hasn't even close to maxed out, then, isn't it?


Celandine could max out in the first 2 weeks...
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Re: Weights!

Postby Token » Thu Nov 27, 2008 7:23 pm UTC

ddxxdd wrote:Are you serious?? Have you ever seen the bodies of people who never run, never do cardio work, and never do more than 5 reps on the bench press?? Working only fast-twitch muscles and never slow-twitch muscles is how you turn your body from something sexy to something weird.

It's weird because they have disproportionately large muscles and no fat, not because they have or don't have some mythical "toned" property.
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Re: Weights!

Postby Swivelguy » Thu Nov 27, 2008 7:51 pm UTC

ddxxdd wrote:I'd guess it'd take only a few months before your muscles get relatively tight and muscular.


This statement right here is where you lost all credibility.

Muscles get muscular? What? As for "tight," that could mean about 5 things. What exactly are you talking about.

For the record, higher-rep "toning" exercises are bullshit. The reason for this is that muscle definition (which is what people mean when they say tone) is a function of having some muscle (the more the merrier) and having very low bodyfat in the bodypart being discussed. Doing exercises with that part (the so-called toning exercises) does nothing for this because it doesn't build muscle, and bodyfat CANNOT be burned locally. The distribution of bodyfat throughout your body is a function of your total bodyfat percentage, your gender, age, and genetics. If you want muscular definition in any part of your body, you have to lose fat in general.

Fat loss training is what Celandine seems to do when it's warm outside. It looks like she's trying to get strong through the winter. The best way to do that will be with 5-8 rep sets of compound exercises done with progressively heavier weights. Anything else is not worth discussing.
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Re: Weights!

Postby Victoria Maddison » Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:46 pm UTC

ddxxdd wrote:Are you serious?? Have you ever seen the bodies of people who never run, never do cardio work ... ??

I see pure strength athletes all the time. They're happy, healthy and beautiful. Not to mention they have sane levels of body fat, which I personally find more attractive than the emaciated distance runner look. Just because someone is strong doesn't mean they're big.

ddxxdd wrote:Working only fast-twitch muscles and never slow-twitch muscles is how you turn your body from something sexy to something weird.

That statement has no basis in reality.

ddxxdd wrote:my sources state that the reason you hit a plateau is because you've worked all your fast-twitch muscles, and they've adjusted to your load size, and without the inclusion of the slow-twitch muscles, they have no reason to become stronger.

That's incorrect. See Hans Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome theory (1936).

ddxxdd wrote:It has nothing to do with recovering from training stress. What I'm talking about is maxing out 180lbs on the bench press on week 4, 180lbs on week 5, 180 lbs on week 6, etc. even if you only bench press once a week and rest up the other 6 days. Yes, a more advanced workout is required to break that plateau. And that workout would involve doing more reps of 170 lbs or 160 lbs until you're ready to do 190 lbs.

Strength training has everything to do with inducing and recovering from training stress. As to your example scenario, benching only once a week indicates a poorly designed strength program that's basically guaranteed to get the athlete stuck. Also, 10 lb jumps on the bench press were never going to be sustainable, especially for a female, 1-5 lb jumps are more realistic. Intensity is necessary for strength adaptation, this is why we train in the 1-5 rep per set range with very heavy weights. You don't appear to understand the theory behind programming for strength training.

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Re: Weights!

Postby LibertyValance » Fri Nov 28, 2008 12:30 am UTC

I just have to weigh in on the side of the consensus, since I hate this particular piece of disinformation.

Let's be clear:

Weightlifting + steroids + huge amounts of food can make a woman look like a muscular man.
No amount or style of weightlifting can do that without some kind of external hormone involved. It is pure impossible. Have you (ddxxdd) been training for a significant amount of time? Building muscle is hard! There are very few people who can gain enough muscle to be strange or gross-looking without resorting to drugs, and they would have to be trying very hard, since human bodies just don't want to carry that much muscle. Nobody has ever gotten "too big" by accident, at least not where the big comes from muscle.

Many people shy away from lifting weights because of this irrational fear of waking up one morning looking like the Hulk, and it drives me crazy. Women who lift weights following proper programming (Starting Strength is proper programming) invariably get tighter and better looking. Their joints get stronger and healthier and, if they keep it up as they age, their bones remain strong, healthy and non-osteoperotic. Sometimes they even have fun! Please, please, please don't spread this nonsense.

To the OP:

Sorry about that. It's a peeve of mine. :?
Congratulations on your dedication and your early successes. Good luck! :D

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Re: Weights!

Postby celandine » Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:43 pm UTC

Ah, internet arguments.

I'm by no means an expert (ha!) but everything I've read from reputable sources says pretty much what Victoria Maddison and Liberty Valance say. I really doubt I could become a hulking monster by accident. There's a nice little blog called Stumptuous.com about women and lifting weights -- there are some pictures of the woman who writes it, and she's a small, attractive, normal-looking woman. And incredibly strong.

Anyhow, I do run on my off-days, and I don't eat any more than usual. (Except on delicious Thanksgiving, but that's another story.)

If I may get off-topic for a minute now, let me say this. I'm used to the kind of fitness advice designed for women, which is usually vague and anxiety-driven. "If you're very, very, good, you might -- maybe -- be beautiful someday." The language of SS and other strength training programs is such a refreshing change. It's more like "If you follow steps A, B, and C, you'll be able to do a lot more with your body." As a quantitative person, I like the measurable gains and goals. I like the physiological detail. I like developing a little physical courage. I like the sanity and common sense in the whole outlook.

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Re: Weights!

Postby Kachi » Mon Dec 01, 2008 4:13 am UTC

Women particularly do not have the hormones to develop huge muscles even with regular strength training.

To get the freakishly large disproportioned muscles, you pretty much have to abuse steroids. Bodybuilders do seriously lifting for hours every day to get their look, and they tend to not even look as "freakish" as they do on the stage when they're not bronzed and oiled up in strange poses.

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Re: Weights!

Postby ThatsGobbles » Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:05 pm UTC

Sorry to bump an almost month-old thread, but I thought the OP would appreciate http://www.exrx.net. Very informative with all type of exercise and training info.

celandine wrote:I've also heard that free weights are better, but I've never actually been down there (it's a separate room, with burly guys) and I don't, honestly, know how to do it. Anyone want to point me to an introduction? (Keep in mind that I'm starting off wimpy. I can't, for example, get more than 30 pounds over my head.)


According to the site I just linked, free weights are indeed better, due to the lack of plane restriction. Take the bench press for example, on a bench machine, the bar is restricted to move up and down only, whereas with free weights, your auxiliary muscles must also keep the bar from falling out of the desired plane or motion.

Also, I recommend doing some compound exercises if you are not already doing so. Good ol' exercises like squats, bench presses, bent rows, deadlifts, etc. That site also instructional pages for each of those exercises.

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Re: Weights!

Postby celandine » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:08 am UTC

Update: squat 75, deadlift 135, bench press 55, press 50. And I'm 30 pounds shy of a chin-up; it used to be 50 or 60.

Thanks for the site, ThatsGobbles.

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Re: Weights!

Postby Akula » Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:08 am UTC

celandine wrote:Update: squat 75, deadlift 135, bench press 55, press 50. And I'm 30 pounds shy of a chin-up; it used to be 50 or 60.

Thanks for the site, ThatsGobbles.



Awesome. Sounds like you like doing it too eh? If so, keep doing it even when you get back to running more in the summer.

Weight training is awesome no matter what you're doing, especially the big compound exercises like you're doing. Contrary to popular belief, squats and deadlifts have actually really helped my back since I started doing them. Used to get sore all the time. Now I feel like a million bucks.
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celandine
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Re: Weights!

Postby celandine » Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:47 pm UTC

That's not you in the picture, is it? :)

Anyhow, yes, it is fun, I appreciate the support, and I may even be able to squat my weight by March or so. (I can do 90 now). Now if only exam grades improved linearly too...

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Re: Weights!

Postby psyck0 » Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:15 am UTC

Those thighs are... scary. Mine are bigger, but I don't have those tiny knees. Actually, I predict she gets knee problems later in life.

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Re: Weights!

Postby celandine » Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:20 am UTC

Wow -- just discovered mixed grip. It makes an enormous difference; now I don't feel like I'm going to drop the darn thing every time I deadlift.

Squat 105, deadlift 155, bench 75, press 55. Yeah, I know, nothing to write home about, but for me it's progress.

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Re: Weights!

Postby TheSkyMovesSideways » Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:35 am UTC

On mixed grip: I don't think you should use it unless you have to, because you're significantly lessening a component of the exercise. (Grip strength, specifically.) If you're doing several warm-up sets building up to one maximal set, I'd recommend using an even grip on the warm-up sets, so that you're still getting some grip strength benefit.
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Re: Weights!

Postby LibertyValance » Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:08 pm UTC

Celandine, your numbers are looking great! It's always good to see people sticking with weights and seeing improvements.

I agree with TheSky... about the mixed grip. I generally do an overhand grip up the weight at which I can't, then switch to the mixed grip. On the other hand, it's foolish to limit your whole body by your grip strength, so neither method is really wrong.

Again, congratulations on your progress.

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Re: Weights!

Postby celandine » Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:25 am UTC

Thanks, Liberty. I do use overhand for warmup sets; it's just that my grip is actually the limiting factor on how much I can lift, so it seems silly to stall if I don't have to.

And ... can squat 135 now!

I was actually wondering if any of you fine folks had some diet advice. Over the winter I've gained maybe 5-10 pounds (I don't have a scale, but my pants fit a little tighter than I'd like.) It's probably due to dumb eating habits. I tend to rely on the Lazy Vegetarian's Major Food Groups: salad, starch, and sugar, and too much of the last two. I'm going to start by giving up the dessert habit; but any advice would be appreciated. (I find I get a lot hungrier than most girls; these 1200 calorie diets people mention seem incredibly painful to me. I think I'm going to need some kind of happy medium.)

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Re: Weights!

Postby Gears » Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:07 pm UTC

You defintely need protein. If you're serious you can try muscle milk, basically whole milk without the unneccesary fats, but these can be very expensive. I use Isopure and it cost me about seventy bucks.

This thread has kind of been abandoned... Have you stuck with it?
General_Norris wrote:I notice a lack of counter-arguments and a lot of fisting.

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Re: Weights!

Postby celandine » Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:20 am UTC

Yeah, I just haven't been posting.
I'm a little creeped out by eating things that aren't food, but sooner or later I may cave and buy some kind of protein gunk.


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