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 Post subject: Help me isolate
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 12:16 am 
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Hello this is my first post here!
I have been working out and lifting
again for about 6 months (I recently graduated college,
before I lifted a good deal in high school). I am
really trying to focus on certain muscle groups, and not
just go through the motions and pray for gains in the
areas that I want. For example: when doing weighted inclined
pushups how does the grip, or placement of your hands
affect the areas that are worked. That is with
triangle hands/marine style pushups should obviously
work different areas of the pectoral versus a wide
spread hand format. I am thinking that with the close
hand approach you ought to work the area of your
pectorals where they meet, or form the curve upwards
towards your head (assuming a weighted incline, with hands touching). Is this correct?
Same thing with lat pull downs, close hand seperation versus wide?

Another case scenario is only doing a partial rep for
bicep curls; that is at the top of the rep only
letting it half way down to work the upper part of the
bicep? At least that is where I feel the burn when I
only do partial reps?

I haven't completely understood the dynamics of this
yet and I was hoping for a little walkthrough on this
topic.

Anyone care to comment?

For reference, I am in pretty good shape as it is, 5'6" ~ 125-130lbs, with a small frame. I am trim overall, but not "super CUT" like I used to be (although I am picking up running again on a biweekly basis). I am trying to get myself back a more useable strength level, and having a better look in a T shirt as well. In the past I used to plateau out after a year, at which point in time I had to take 2 months off to get more strength increases. I just couldn't put on weight, and the strength levels remained the same. I am trying to prevent that this time around by eating better and using protein supplements to make sure I feed the muscles better.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:00 am 
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If you're looking for strength, the exercises you're talking about will not get you there. Pushups and bicep curls and running are useless for strength. Those are for pumping up the muscles before you go to the pub. They're for people that want to look like they exercise.

You need to focus on the big muscles: legs and back. You need to squat, press and pull. Everything else is extra. Without these you will not gain weight and you will not get strong.

Stu


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 Post subject: Re: Help me isolate
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:34 am 
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stealthdude wrote:
I am trying to get myself back a more useable strength level..I just couldn't put on weight, and the strength levels remained the same.


If you were just doing push-ups and partial bicep curls in your workouts, you shouldn't be surprised.

Stu is right - forget about the isolation stuff, and do a real weight workout. And don't forget to eat.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me isolate
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:10 am 
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You did ask some valid questions which I ignored first time through.

stealthdude wrote:
For example: when doing weighted inclined
pushups how does the grip, or placement of your hands
affect the areas that are worked. That is with
triangle hands/marine style pushups should obviously
work different areas of the pectoral versus a wide
spread hand format. I am thinking that with the close
hand approach you ought to work the area of your
pectorals where they meet, or form the curve upwards
towards your head (assuming a weighted incline, with hands touching). Is this correct?


The muscles worked by pushups are triceps, pectorals and anterior deltoids. Moving your hands together as in the triangle pushups works your triceps harder. Moving them forward works your delts more. Back and wide works your pecs more.

stealthdude wrote:
Another case scenario is only doing a partial rep for
bicep curls; that is at the top of the rep only
letting it half way down to work the upper part of the
bicep? At least that is where I feel the burn when I
only do partial reps?


Top half reps are supposed to work the "peak". That's BS. You can't change the shape of a muscle. It's better and more efficient to just work the whole ROM, perhaps some limited ROM at the sticking points. Feeling the burn does not mean that an exercise is making you stronger or bigger. That's a myth.

stealthdude wrote:
I am trim overall, but not "super CUT" like I used to be (although I am picking up running again on a biweekly basis).


The way to get cut is through diet, not running. Running has benifits but fat loss is not one of them.

stealthdude wrote:
In the past I used to plateau out after a year, at which point in time I had to take 2 months off to get more strength increases.


2 months is too long a break. Take 1 week every 3-12 weeks depending on your recovery needs.

Stu


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 11:40 am 
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Stu,
Thanks for the excellent post. I am new to this, so I am sure some of they myths, or what I would like to beleive has yet to be sorted out from truth.

My legs are in good shape as I have been a consistent runner for many years (so I like the tone there, but I do question the strength levels). However, I do not have the squat in my routine currently. I have been trying to work out from home as I haven't found a gym that I like yet from a recent move. It is difficult for small guys to walk into a gym, and not get ridiculed.
As a result I was trying to do alot of bodyweight with additional weight exercises, just to help me get the muscles toned a bit more. Before I make that move

I do need to work on my back, I know farming from my younger days was never good on it, and I always used to pick up way more than I should have, the wrong way.


Quote:
you need to focus on the big muscles: legs and back. You need to squat, press and pull. Everything else is extra. Without these you will not gain weight and you will not get strong.

You say press, is there a certain press that you would like to see me be doing that perhaps I am not? Same with pulls, like cable rows (which I actually like), or what do you have in mind?

Quote:
The muscles worked by pushups are triceps, pectorals and anterior deltoids. Moving your hands together as in the triangle pushups works your triceps harder. Moving them forward works your delts more. Back and wide works your pecs more.

Excellent descriptipon. I knew that the grip, or the placement had to have some form of effect on the affected areas. That is what I was looking for.

A new spin on this for posterities sake, and just me wanting to learn. Lets say wide spread, does that work the full range of motion of the pectorals? So lets also say wide spread but instead of pushed back, they are neutral, or even declined. Are we still working on the pectorals primarily because of wide spread, or does the incline change that? Lets go back to my original statement if we can. Declined press I always thought worked the lower section of the pectorals, while a inclined press would work the upper portion. Neutral is obviously a little of both.
Is this possible, or was this something built up in my head again? That is, I want to be sure I am getting a full range of motion across my chest, so is a wide and declined "grip" going to do it for me?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 12:27 pm 
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stealthdude wrote:
I have been trying to work out from home as I haven't found a gym that I like yet from a recent move. It is difficult for small guys to walk into a gym, and not get ridiculed.
As a result I was trying to do alot of bodyweight with additional weight exercises, just to help me get the muscles toned a bit more. Before I make that move


Frankly, you would be better served if you find and join a suitable gym ASAP. Working out at home means wasting time doing exercises that won't make you any bigger or stronger. Don't worry about getting picked on - focus on finding a gym that meets your needs.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:25 pm 
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I agree with Stephen, either get to a gym or buy a barbell and weights.

Good presses would be Bench Press, Overhead Press, incline Press, there are lots of variations. Pushups work to a point. The best pulls are Deadlift, Bent Barbell Rows, Power Cleans. Cable rows are good too. Again, there are lots of variations. The main thing is to get a good volume of each. At least 80% of your workout should be either a squat, press or pull.

I'm not going to comment further on pushups as I've given you what I know, however if you want to increase ROM on the pushup, use parallettes or do them between chairs. I also know this, a muscle is like a string. If you pull one end, the tension is applied to the other end too. You can't work part of a muscle.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:01 pm 
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Quote:
The way to get cut is through diet, not running. Running has benifits but fat loss is not one of them.


I am also perplexed by this statement as well. In the past when I first started running, I was losing alot of weight. I got super trim by just running. Can you explain to me a little bit your rationale here? I thought this was complete cardio, so how is that not burning fat?

I have barbells and weights at home as well. I realize that I have to work heavy in order to gain. On that note, for wanting to build size and strength how many reps would you work towards? Right now my aim is 6-7 reps total with a certain weight.

Quote:
. I also know this, a muscle is like a string. If you pull one end, the tension is applied to the other end too. You can't work part of a muscle.


Good description, and something I didn't know. The full range of motion then just helps further apply tension to a varying degree?

I will try to add all of the presses to my routine. Thank you!
Other suggestions?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:32 pm 
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This will also sound bizarre I know. I have been trying to get a grip on this problem as well. When I started working out again I noticed that I get a gag reflex when lifting heavier weight. When I am doing cardio (running, situps, etc...) I am fine, but only when I lift heavy do I notice it. I just feel the need that I am going to vomit, and I normally do not. However, it is starting to get the point where it is affecting my desire to really lift.
I may have read somewhere that this is a malnutrion issue? Maybe that is way off and misguided information? I am just trying to get myself back to the point where I can keep a workout going for 1.5 hours and not feel like I need to pray to the porcelain throne. Any thoughts on why this would be occuring?
Also in the past, this was never an issue. I could lift until failure and never have this issue arise.


Upon thinking about it, I have been doing a good deal of lat pulldowns, wide grip chins, and shrugs as well. I was trying to work my lats and traps. When you say I need to work on my back, is there a certain area that you would say needs it more so than others? I really would like to widen myself as well, thus trying to build up my lats. Is this a good idea? I will still trying and include the squats/presses/and pulls in the future, but curious on your thoughts on these workouts/target areas


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:58 pm 
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stealthdude wrote:
Quote:
The way to get cut is through diet, not running. Running has benifits but fat loss is not one of them.


I am also perplexed by this statement as well. In the past when I first started running, I was losing alot of weight. I got super trim by just running. Can you explain to me a little bit your rationale here? I thought this was complete cardio, so how is that not burning fat?


The effectiveness of cardio for fat loss is a hotly debated topic in the fitness field these days. For some people, cardio alone does result in fat loss. You could be one of them. But these people might be in the minority:

Quote:
For more than 20 years as a weight loss and fitness professional, I have been working with clients one-on-one and have been leading, teaching, and training a team of the best and the brightest physical trainers in New York and Chicago. We've been in the field, identifying cutting edge research, testing it, and then bringing the best of the best information and instruction to our clients. After 20 years of experience, I am convinced that cardio kills. It kills your weight loss plan, your joints, your internal organs and immune system, your body composition, your time and, most of all, your motivation to stay committed to losing weight. But there is one thing that cardio doesn't kill: your appetite. The more cardio you do, the hungrier you get. You burn a few measly calories, then you eat twice as many afterward. The result? Weight gain, and lots of it.


It is recommended that you keep a training and nutrition diary if you really want to find out what exercise protocols and diets work for you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 5:04 pm 
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Quote:
I have barbells and weights at home as well. I realize that I have to work heavy in order to gain. On that note, for wanting to build size and strength how many reps would you work towards? Right now my aim is 6-7 reps total with a certain weight.


6-7 is a nice range for size and strength. Strength comes from neurological changes (learning) and through growth of muscle fibers (called myofibrils). This is gained mostly by heavy reps in the 1-3 range. Muscle size mostly comes from increased fluid between the fibers (called sarcoplasm). This does not contribute to strength but increases size of the muscle. This normally comes from training in the 10-12 rep range. Reps between these ranges get a bit of both.

Quote:
This will also sound bizarre I know. I have been trying to get a grip on this problem as well. When I started working out again I noticed that I get a gag reflex when lifting heavier weight.


You should have a good meal with slow carbs and protein about an hour before your workout. I assume you are holding your breath during heavy training. This can cause your blood pressure to spike during the exercise and cause you to feel faint after. Doing a large volume of intense work can make you nauseous. At Crossfit they like to have a little fun with that aspect of training.

Quote:
I am just trying to get myself back to the point where I can keep a workout going for 1.5 hours


Most recommend keeping your workout to about 1 hour. Your hormones start taking a beating and you can undo some of the good your getting from your workout. Split your workout into multiple sessions if you really need to but except for elite athletes hardly anyone needs that much.

Quote:
When you say I need to work on my back, is there a certain area that you would say needs it more so than others?


Pull ups and their variations are good but you need to work in the horizontal plane as well. Bent Rows and cable rows work in that dimension. Deadlifts and cleans work in the opposing vertical plane to pull ups. All are important and if you neglect one you risk imbalances. Presses are the same way. Most focus on bench presses and neglect overhead work. You don't have to hit everything every week or even every month but in the long run it should all balance out. Many people forget about the horizontal pulls that target the rhomboids. I'm not a bodybuilder, I'm interested in training for health and fitness but apparently wide grip pullups works your lats nicely. Here are some ideas:
http://www.exrx.net/Lists/ExList/BackWt ... chor125439

Stu


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:53 pm 
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Quote:
I assume you are holding your breath during heavy training. This can cause your blood pressure to spike during the exercise and cause you to feel faint after. Doing a large volume of intense work can make you nauseous. At Crossfit they like to have a little fun with that aspect of training.


Actually no, I try to inhale on the relaxation part of the rep, and exhale on the actual tension portion of the rep. I learned that from running, you have to keep the air moving.
I will try to eat before hand, I guess I had never thought about that fact. Does a protein shake count whatsoever towards that? In one of the other areas of the forum I was reading about when taking protein supplements was most effective. Some said before a workout, others said after. Care to comment?

I had been doing wide grip pullups for that very reason :). Great minds think alike apparently?
When you say "imbalances" you mean that the muscle will be great in one direction, but not really functional so much in the other direction? Since I do want functional strength and not just looks, this is a very good insight. Appreciate your continued suggestions


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 7:19 pm 
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Protein before and after.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 7:36 pm 
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Best suggestion I've got, and which I give to everyone who is new, is to look at the basic routines sticky. There is one for the Rippetoe Starting Strength program, and one for the Mahler basic weight training workout. Both emphasis compound exercises. Get good at either of the sets of exercises they use - squats, deadlifts, bench presses, standing shoulder presses, etc. and you'll get stronger, bigger, and look better. Way easier than isolation, too. Save that for way later. :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 7:58 pm 
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Quote:
Get good at either of the sets of exercises they use - squats, deadlifts, bench presses, standing shoulder presses, etc. and you'll get stronger, bigger, and look better. Way easier than isolation, too. Save that for way later


Thank you. Can you define way later? I have no idea where I stand currently, other than weights get heavier, and I am increasingly happy with how I look/feel. If I had to guess where my body fat % is currently it would be somewhere in the ~12-14% range? I have always been very trim, but I know from previous experience that I can go further and live with it day to day.

I will check out those guides you mentioned, I completely passed over the sticky.
Ironman,
Thanks for the heads up. Do think that is perhaps part of the problem and why I am not feeling good while lifting?


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