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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:01 am 
I'm a 24 yr old guy weighing about 230 lbs. I started working out about 3 - 4 weeks ago, doing a split routine 3 days a week (upper, lower AXBXAXX). The other 3 days of the week I do cardio, 30 mins - 1 hour (running, jump rope, want to take up swimming). I went in knowing that for the first month I would focus mostly on machines, just to build up some core strength. Well now I'm ready for a more serious workout. I'm trying to put together a routine, and there are just so many options, I'm not sure where to start. What I've been doing for now looked something like this:

(All exercises are 5 sets of progressive overload (12 - 50%, 10 - 60%, etc...))
Day A - Upper

Chest - Vertical Chest Press Machine
Triceps - Pushdown
Shoulders - Shoulder Press Machine
Biceps - Biceps Curl Machine
Traps - Shrugs

Day B - Low
Back - Assisted Pull ups (supplemented with lat pulldowns, I can only pull off 3 sets max of pull ups w/progressive overload)
Quads - Leg Extensions Machine
Hamstrings - Seated Leg Curl Machine
Calves - Standing Calf Raise Machine
Lower Back - Back Extension Machine

I stay away from squats/leg press because they can stress my knees. Since doing this routine, my knees feel a LOT better. Nothing is wrong with them, they're just weak (or the muscles supporting them that is). I can easily do 120 - 130 lbs of leg extensions.

What I'm looking to do is something like this:

Day A
--------

Chest - Bench Press
Triceps - Assisted Dips
Shoulders - Lat Raises (Machine perhaps, I've seen on this site that lateral delt is usually more important than anterior delt)
Biceps - Standing Barbell Curl
Traps - Shrugs

Day B
--------

Same as above


How does the sets/reps thing work? More is less? Less is more? I don't really have any strength "goals" or anything like that. I guess weight loss is most important for now (I'm about 30 lbs overweight). I've slimmed down, although my weight has remained the same (must be the "magic" beginners effect of losing fat and building muscle. I know it doesn't last forever). Any tips/suggestions would be most appreciated.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 12:19 pm 
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well hopefully it is not aba every week. You do aba bab right? Squats and leg press are not hard on the knees. Leg extensions might actually be harder on the knees. If you do the excercise right you will be fine. Back goes with upper. If you do biceps on Monday, your back workout on Wednesday will go nowhere. Keep in mind with compound lifts, some muscles get work with other things and don't need much isolation.

day a
flat or decline bench db or bb 3 (do 1 3 5 of progression)
incline bench db or bb 3 (1 3 5 again)
bent over rows bb or db all 5 sets of progression
front pull downs 2 (3 and 5 of prg)
shrug 1 set at heaviest, then drop to lightest with no rest.
shoulder press 2 (3 and 5 of prg)
Lateral raises 3 (1 3 and 5 of prg)
tris do 1 set of skull crushers at the heaviest, then with no rest do as many reps of close grip bench press as you can with the same weight
curls 3 (1 3 5 of prg)
hammer curls or reverse grip bb 3 (1 3 5)
optional set of writ extension and flexation

day b (this is better)
squats all 5 of prg
straight leg deadlifts all 5 of prg
wide stance squat 2 (use set 4 of prg)
decline situps do on decline with weight plate where you can do about 12, then put the plate down and continue without for as many as possible
standing calf all 5 of prg

day b if you're gonna wuss out
leg extensions
leg curls
adduction abduction 2 of each
a coouple sets each on the extension and ab machines
calf raises


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 12:22 pm 
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Hi. Set/rep thing first. Well, I did a general fitness progam a year or so ago , just to try it out, that used that same premise, although it was periodized, and geared towards your goals, fat loss, fitness, then strength. Periodized meaning that in week one it used your progression of 12,10,10,8,8 from 45% TO 70% weights in the first week, and gradually shifted over the course of 12 weeks to 8,5,5,3,3 with 70-95% weights. Your starting progressions sound fine. Others might not like it, I did. For general fitness you'll find shorter rest breaks will really help out too, because at the start your not approaching maximal weights. By shorter rest breaks , try 45-60 sec down in the first couple of lighter percentage sets, and 90 or so secs in the heavier sets. The progressions are basically a matter of personal preference, and if you can deal with it and like it, then go for it. If not, try another method, but it sounds fine to me.
Exercises setup. Sounds OK to start out. Some might say do traps with back, but frankly, I see no reason not to do it on your push day, it complements the overhead pressing movement, and you aren't rowing on back day, so fine. I really think though, that you should incorporate squat. Start with an empty bar, and learn to do it properly. Most people that have problems with knees on this are usually not doing it properly. There are plenty of places to get descriptions and pictures on the net, so I won't explain. They really are needed. Other than that, give it a good shot, and let us know how you do
Tim


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:39 pm 
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I agree with the posts so far.

Leg extensions are possibly the WORST exercise in terms of knee strain. Squats do not even come close in terms of the stress placed on the knee joint.

I would star by building up strength in your legs by doing bodyweight lunges and squats. After that progress to a barbell or holding a few dumbbells. Deadlifts are also a great thing to add to the routine when you arent squatting or even both at the same time provided you adjust and have one as a primary exercise for a given time (4-6 weeks or so).

The importance of the deadlift is also in working the hamstrings at the hip as you are currently only working the hamstrings at the knee.

I dont really see any big problems with the workout save for the lack of a lower body compound exercise, ie Squat or Deadlift.

Pullups can be done anywhere in my opinion although you might want to add some rows to the upper body day as they are goign to work muscles the pulldowns do not work.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:25 pm 
sonnygll wrote:
well hopefully it is not aba every week. You do aba bab right?


Yeah

Quote:
Squats and leg press are not hard on the knees. Leg extensions might actually be harder on the knees. If you do the excercise right you will be fine.


It seems everyone is saying to do squats. I'll start doing just my own body weight, and starting with a weightless bar next week (if it feels ok). Actually, squats don't really mess up my knees, when I do them right, more or less. Leg press does however. In any case, my knees are weak, and I want to be careful.

Quote:
Back goes with upper. If you do biceps on Monday, your back workout on Wednesday will go nowhere. Keep in mind with compound lifts, some muscles get work with other things and don't need much isolation.


I didn't know that. I like doing pullups for back, my biceps get killed also.

Quote:
day a
flat or decline bench db or bb 3 (do 1 3 5 of progression)
incline bench db or bb 3 (1 3 5 again)
bent over rows bb or db all 5 sets of progression
front pull downs 2 (3 and 5 of prg)
shrug 1 set at heaviest, then drop to lightest with no rest.
shoulder press 2 (3 and 5 of prg)
Lateral raises 3 (1 3 and 5 of prg)
tris do 1 set of skull crushers at the heaviest, then with no rest do as many reps of close grip bench press as you can with the same weight
curls 3 (1 3 5 of prg)
hammer curls or reverse grip bb 3 (1 3 5)
optional set of writ extension and flexation


Holy $h!7. First of all, I'm not sure what you mean when you say 1 3 5 of progression. I"m not even sure how to periodize my workout, or if I should do a different workout alltogether. This workout looks like it would take me 2 hours to do or something, and at my current level of fitness (or more accurately, lack of fitness), I don't know if all of that is necessary. I'm still 25 pounds or so overweight.

Quote:
day b (this is better)
squats all 5 of prg
straight leg deadlifts all 5 of prg
wide stance squat 2 (use set 4 of prg)
decline situps do on decline with weight plate where you can do about 12, then put the plate down and continue without for as many as possible
standing calf all 5 of prg


This leems a little more doable. Once again, explain what you mean about progression. That way I do it is like this, for example let's say I'm doing biceps:

12 - 20 lbs
10 - 30 lbs
8 - 40 lbs
6 - 50 lbs
12 - 40 lbs

Not exactly a linear progression, it jumps back a bit. Surprisingly, I can usually get the last set out of the progression, it comes more often than not at 12 reps...

Quote:
day b if you're gonna wuss out
leg extensions
leg curls
adduction abduction 2 of each
a coouple sets each on the extension and ab machines
calf raises


Still sounds easy compared to day a. Maybe we can balance the days out a little bit? Day a seems like a gym session made in hell...


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:46 pm 
Just one more thing. Like for example, my knees hurt right now if I do a squat just with body weight. On a scale of 0 to 10, 0 being no pain and 10 being excrutiating pain, it's like a 2. I guess my knees do get a pretty serious workout over the week, because when I'm not working on my 'b' day, I do cardio, which is in the form of either: elliptical trainer, jump rope, or karate. All 3 of those seem to put a lot of stress on the knees. I might even take tomorrow off just to let them rest a bit. It's like they have this almost burning sensation. Your comments/suggestions please.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:16 am 
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The progression, is YOUR progression. Remeber you said you do 5 sets of every thing 12 - 50% 10 - 60% and then I don't know where you go from there. Is it 8 70% netx? Then 6 at 80% and 4 at 90%? Or maybe 5 at 85%? So I am talking about the 5 sets of the progression you were talking about. You have to do different ammounts of things so I would say do 1 3 and 5. So maybe that is 12 at 50% which is easy, 8 at 70% which is kind of easy and then 5 at 85% which may be hard. So you don't need much rest on most sets. Now if I was talking that many sets at 80-85% 6-8 reps, yea that would take forever and kill you in the proccess. I thought you wanted to continue with the pyramid thing. If you would rather you can do way less sets at a higher intensity. Or do push/pull instead or split it in 3. It is easily adjusted.

You can do pullups instead of pulldowns. As for squats, make sure you go close to parallel but don't do a full squat, and don't let your knees come out past your toes. Start light and work up to it. do a hack squat if you need more quad work and maybe a deadlift with all 25 plates, so it is low and gets your legs good. The deadlift will help the glutes too.

If the biceps is an example of your prograssion do 1 3 4 rather then 1 3 5.

Also, low/no impact on the cardio. jarring the cartiledge with the running and jumping can be a problem.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 8:02 am 
sonnygll wrote:
The progression, is YOUR progression. Remeber you said you do 5 sets of every thing 12 - 50% 10 - 60% and then I don't know where you go from there. Is it 8 70% netx? Then 6 at 80% and 4 at 90%? Or maybe 5 at 85%? So I am talking about the 5 sets of the progression you were talking about. You have to do different ammounts of things so I would say do 1 3 and 5. So maybe that is 12 at 50% which is easy, 8 at 70% which is kind of easy and then 5 at 85% which may be hard. So you don't need much rest on most sets. Now if I was talking that many sets at 80-85% 6-8 reps, yea that would take forever and kill you in the proccess. I thought you wanted to continue with the pyramid thing. If you would rather you can do way less sets at a higher intensity. Or do push/pull instead or split it in 3. It is easily adjusted.


Well, like I said, I do it a bit differently. I do 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 is the same weight as 3 with 12 reps. I think what you're saying is just a straight linear progression, ala: 12, 10, 8, 6 , 4 with all heavier weights.

It seems like a really good program, but I just have to ask, at the level of my fitness now, which is not so large, is it really necessary? Seems overkill.

Quote:
You can do pullups instead of pulldowns. As for squats, make sure you go close to parallel but don't do a full squat, and don't let your knees come out past your toes. Start light and work up to it. do a hack squat if you need more quad work and maybe a deadlift with all 25 plates, so it is low and gets your legs good. The deadlift will help the glutes too.

If the biceps is an example of your prograssion do 1 3 4 rather then 1 3 5. [/quote]

Right. So I should just go linear with the progression, always going lower reps + heavier weight. OK I get it. On Day A, you prescribe 28 sets total though. That seems like a lot to me. Day B only gets 16. Day A is 75% more sets. Seems like a huge imbalance to me. Also, how to find your ideal weight that you should be lifting for each exercise? I go pretty much by feeling now, but I've read about finding your 5RM and so on...

Quote:
Also, low/no impact on the cardio. jarring the cartiledge with the running and jumping can be a problem.


I guess that's true. Crap, I just love to jump rope. So easy and fast, and gets my heart rate right up. What are some low impact cardio things i can do? Elliptical? I take Karate twice a week, I guess that's all the knee-work I need right there (lot of stretching).


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:52 am 
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Really the first rep of mostof those doesn't count. 12 at 50 is warm up set. Say you 1RM is 100 on bench, it would be 12 sets of 50lbs. You really don't have to do that set. It is true there is more to do with upper body. We can change it to lower volume.

Use a spotter to find your 1RPM or even just see how many reps you can do of a certain weight. How about we try less sets, with a weight you can do at least 6 reps but not more then 8.

day a
flat or decline bench db or bb 2
incline bench db or bb 2
bent over rows bb or db 2
assisted pullups 2
shrug 1
shoulder press 1
Lateral raises 2
triceps do 1 of skull crushers or 1 set of close grip bench
curls 1
hammer curls or reverse grip bb 1
optional set of writ extension and flexation

day b
squats 3
straight leg deadlifts 3
wide stance squat 2
decline situps do on decline with weight plate where you can do about 12, then put the plate down and continue without for as many as possible
standing calf 3

alternatly you can do push/pull

day a
flat or decline bench db or bb 2
incline bench db or bb 2
front raises 1
skull crusher or close grip bench 1
squats 3
calf 3

day b
bent over rows bb or db 2
assisted pullups 2
shrug 1
Lateral raises 2
curls 1
hammer curls or reverse grip bb 1
optional set of writ extension and flexation
straight leg deadlifts 3
wide stance squat 2
decline situps do on decline with weight plate where you can do about 12, then put the plate down and continue without for as many as possible

or a sort of push/pull

day a
flat or decline bench db or bb 2
incline bench db or bb 2
shrug 1
shoulder press 1
Lateral raises 2
triceps do 1 of skull crushers or 1 set of close grip bench
squats 3
calf 3

day b
bent over rows bb or db 2
assisted pullups 2
curls 1
hammer curls or reverse grip bb 1
optional set of writ extension and flexation
straight leg deadlifts 3
wide stance squat 2
decline situps do on decline with weight plate where you can do about 12, then put the plate down and continue without for as many as possible

or you could split in 3 by putting most of the pull on 1 day and splitting the push between upper and lower plus a couple related things.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 12:52 pm 
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Holy crap - i am glad i am not starting weightlifting today - i would think this was all too confusing and quit now.

I am not going to get into a debate about full body compound movements and abreviated training now. But if you want to learn a much simpler and similarly effective way of training, google search dinosaur training and go to brooks kubiks, site.

ON squats - i can't let this one go. I have and always have squatted ass-cheeks to ankles. It's all about form. Get some one to show you proper form and get on with it. Done right - squats CAN'T hurt your knees. Done wrong - bicep curls CAN hurt your knees (sorry - sarcasm). The point is - learn to perform the lift correctly and enjoy its benefits. When i started out - squat bothered my knees. I learned the proper form for my build/proportions and now i credit the lift as being the single best movement on its own.

Good Training,
Bill L


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 3:50 pm 
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It's just some basic compound lifts with a little isolation sprinkled in. It isn't hard to make a routine like that. You just have to know muscles and lifts. Go to the muscle and exercise directory on this site and see what muscles are used in what lift and to what degree.

Now if you are talking about, all of the "this to this to this" stuff I couldn't disagree more. All that stuff is for is selling magazines. You have to have something new that is "the best ever!" every month or sales go down. You can't just put "do bench press, deadlifts, squats and rows" in every single issue. That wouldn't work. You see "best exercise for legs", open it up, "damn it, squats again." "They said that last month."
The weight might be right on 1 part of the movement but wrong on the other 2.
You want the right ammount of resistence applied in the right way to each muscle evenly.

Now it is true that while cutting fat like maniac is doing, he can't gain as much mass as if he was eating more, but that's ok. He just needs to gain as much as he can.

The reason is not only to raise his basal metabolic rate, but also the energy required to create the muscle. All of this plus the fat burning effect of general resistence training will help him loose weight more easily.

I agree on the full squats, it is a good exercise. You don't have to go down that far though. It really isn't for everyone. You have to be so careful with that. Not everyone has the flexability to do it either. I wouldn't tell someone to try that unless I knew a lot about them.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:26 pm 
What do you guys think of the above program? I think I can do it. No disrespect sonnygll, just wanted a 2nd opinion :)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 10:49 am 
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Well, Maniac, I'm a bit confused as to which schedule(s) you are referring to, but I think you are talking about the 3 2 schedule splits Sonnygill is referencing. I like the first one (upper lower) best, but the other two are OK. I just question why you will do regular squats in a abd wide stance in b. Unless you're doing the wide stance in b just for learning purposes with light weights, I'd ditch them. Just pick one, try it out. There is no magic bullet, you have to try things for yourself.
On another note, I hesitate to fine tune in when people ask to have their programs critiqued. There is more than enough info here and elsewhere on program setup. Be aware that when this is asked, you could ask 10 people, and get 10 very different opinions.
Good training.
Tim


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:53 am 
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Yep, ask 10 people and get 11 opinions. We can't agree on weather or not it's raining to be honest. :)

The wide stance squats are for inner thighs. They are technically a pull muscle although they are exercised with a push motion in this case. The weight is lighter because most of the pressue is put on them. The purpose is to get an even ballance in the shape and strength of the thigh. Straight legs work the muscle to certain extent, but not real well. You can substitue a widestance version of other things, like a low deadlift, a hack squat or a pile squat. I don't know if I would do a pile squat with your knees though. You could use the thigh machine or even cable.

Inner thighs are lower pull. so weather you do upper/lower or push/pull, it is on day b. There is a reason for everything. If you have a question about why something is the way it is I can explain.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 12:10 pm 
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Well, Maniac, I just reread your original post. Seems fat loss and general fitness is your main goal. My statement above on the suggestions still stand, and I think they are pretty good. However, I'm going to spin off on a tangent (I also reread what Bill L had to say), and I would advise something a bit different with more of a fat loss / fitness thing in mind.
Here is a VERY simple routine that has been around for decades that has been used for general strength/conditioning/fat loss and can be done in many different variations. It's based on the premise, that you make your best gains with the above goals in mind by using the most amount of muscle in the shortest amount of time, thereby taxing the metabolism to a great degree, while also making some gains in strength.
Day A
Done in circuit style, one right after the other.
Deadlift (either variation is fine, its lower body ham dominant)
Overhead press (DB BB, doesn't matter)
Chin or lat pull-usegrip of your choice or vary it

Do DL in reps of10-15, presses and chins/lat pulls 10-12
Start with 3 circuits, minimal rest for exercises, take a 1-2 minute break between rounds

Day B
Same set up as Day A
Squats
Dips or DB decline
Rows
Yes, it's simple, covers the whole body, and takes very little time. Just food for thought in the future.
Good training
Tim


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