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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:44 am 
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Hi guys,

I've been lurking for a little while now and trying to learn as much as I can, and I am wondering if some of you could critique my current workout routine. I've been doing cardio and some weight-training for a couple of years now, but have only recently gotten more serious about crafting a better routine for myself. I've realized that until VERY recently, I knew little about real fitness - I assumed that if I was exhausting myself through cardio and making my muscles sore by lifting weights that I would benefit. I'm about 5'8, 190lbs, and 30 years old.

Here is my routine as of about one month ago:

My cardio consists of running when the weather permits - a mix of interval sprints, short runs (5-7km), and longer runs (10+km) - and doing 40-60 minutes of interval work on cardio machines at the gym when it is too ugly outside to run.

Saturday:
Weights:
5x5 squats
5x5 bent over barbell rows
5x5 chest press
5x5 Cuban press
3x15 hanging leg raises

Sunday:
Cardio

Monday:
High-rep core and bodyweight work for 40 minutes to an hour

Tuesday:
45 minutes of yoga at lunch time and then cardio after work

Wednesday:
Weights:
5x5 Pull-ups (assisted at this point, but making progress towards unassisted)
5x5 Chest dips
5x5 Rear delt bent over rows
5x5 Romanian deadlifts
3x18 walking weighted dumbbell lunges

Thursday:
45 minutes of yoga at lunch time and then cardio after work

Friday:
Rest

I would like to start incorporating regular deadlifts and military presses into my routine as well at some point in the near future.

I suspect that I am probably doing too much and also not focusing my routine properly. My goal is to lose fat while gaining both strength and endurance - I don't want to bulk up too much, but I definitely want to increase my strength and all-around muscle endurance. Running is my favourite exercise for whatever that is worth and at some point I would love to try a marathon or something similar.

Thanks in advance for any criticism and/or advice you can give.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:07 am 
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I gotta admit...
Cuban press was a new one for me.

Goal: Lose fat and increasing muscle endurance and strength

For anyone who has been lifting for some time, this becomes a very difficult thing to do concurrently.

My advice is that your program, though good and complete (first glance), is not set up to maximize your work towards your goal.

I'm going to make one assumption - as a runner, you don't particularly want to get bigger.

With these things in mind, I'd suggest lowering your set numbers and increasing you reps. I'd suggest perhaps 3X12 at a low weight with very limited rest between sets. To get endurance, you gotta endure, right?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:48 am 
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hoosegow wrote:
I gotta admit...
Cuban press was a new one for me.

Goal: Lose fat and increasing muscle endurance and strength

For anyone who has been lifting for some time, this becomes a very difficult thing to do concurrently.

My advice is that your program, though good and complete (first glance), is not set up to maximize your work towards your goal.

I'm going to make one assumption - as a runner, you don't particularly want to get bigger.

With these things in mind, I'd suggest lowering your set numbers and increasing you reps. I'd suggest perhaps 3X12 at a low weight with very limited rest between sets. To get endurance, you gotta endure, right?


Hey hoosegow, thanks for the reply.

While running is the exercise I most enjoy, I am hoping to increase my all-around fitness, including strength, and if that means I gain some size in the process then I am fine with that. I'm short, stocky, and thick, so it's not like I'll ever have a typical runner's body regardless of what I do. That being said, I don't want to get too big - when I think of my ideal body-type, I picture myself as having a physique similar to that of a boxer rather than that of a body-builder.

I think part of my problem is that I do not have one specific goal which obviously makes planning a routine difficult. I would like to improve my cardiovascular capacity, gain strength, and lose fat, but those are pretty general goals. I have boxed a bit in the past and would like to take up some kind of sport in the near future, but right I'm just trying to be as healthy as possible.

I had been doing fewer sets with more reps (4x8/12) until the last two weeks or so, but I read an article that said this would lead to hypertrophy and increasing bulk rather than strength, so after doing some more reading I switched to 5x5. I am by no means an expert in this stuff though, so I very easily could have gotten things wrong there. I'll have to do some more research.

Thanks again for the advice and review, I appreciate it.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:59 pm 
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@StreetsAhead:

Do you fee that the month that you've been on your current routine has been productive?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:11 pm 
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Stephen Johnson wrote:
@StreetsAhead:

Do you fee that the month that you've been on your current routine has been productive?


Yes, I do. It's a massive improvement over what I was doing before. I've already noticed both an increase in muscle size and strength as well as a significant decrease in body fat. That being said, I also realize that I am very much a novice in terms of my fitness knowledge.

I have already made some adjustments. I used to try and do either a tabata or a 20-minute HIIT session after my weight training, but I found that was a bit too much as it often left me feeling drained the next day. I'm also planning to try and up the intensity and lower the time for my non-running cardio interval work (it's been too nice here lately to do my cardio indoors) and have also been wondering if added a 3rd weight training day per week would be a good idea (perhaps in place of the core/bodyweight workout).


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:22 am 
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Thanks for clarifying - so you want to increase muscle strength and your overall endurance (not muscle endurance). You are right about the hypertrophy, but like I said, I thought you were more wanting muscle endurance. 5X5 is good for strength.

I would switch out the Cuban press for either mitilary or seated shoulder press. The Cuban, I would use as an auxilliary lift. It looks good, it just the rotation limits would be way lower than the press limit and you would compromise your gains.

Also, switch the press (currently listed as cuban) with your rear delt rows. I believe (bro science alert), that it is generally accepted that it is good to couple antagonistic lifts together eg:
military press/Chins
Bench/rows

I'd also switch your ab work with your lunges. Kinda for the same reasons.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:13 am 
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hoosegow wrote:
Thanks for clarifying - so you want to increase muscle strength and your overall endurance (not muscle endurance). You are right about the hypertrophy, but like I said, I thought you were more wanting muscle endurance. 5X5 is good for strength.

I would switch out the Cuban press for either mitilary or seated shoulder press. The Cuban, I would use as an auxilliary lift. It looks good, it just the rotation limits would be way lower than the press limit and you would compromise your gains.

Also, switch the press (currently listed as cuban) with your rear delt rows. I believe (bro science alert), that it is generally accepted that it is good to couple antagonistic lifts together eg:
military press/Chins
Bench/rows

I'd also switch your ab work with your lunges. Kinda for the same reasons.


Ideally, I would like to increase all three. Would it make sense to alternative between 5x5 and 3x8 on a weekly basis or would that result in a situation where neither really improved as much as they could?

I'll make the adjustments you suggested as well, this is the first I've heard of 'antagonistic lifts', thanks for the tip.

The Cuban press is a weird exercise (for me at least). I only discovered it when I was looking to build my compound routine about a month ago and, being used to doing an overhead press, I expected to find it to be relatively easy. I was very wrong. I ended up having to reduce the weight I was lifting constantly until I found myself using 15lb. dumbells. Even though that's half of what I was overhead pressing before, I still find the press part of the exercise to be challanging, I assume because the rotation takes a fair amount of effort.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:39 am 
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what about mixing it in same routine,

warm up, and work up to worknig sets like...
3x5 or 5/3/2/2 or 3/3/2/2/1

then finish with 3x 10/15 at a much lower weight.
Maybe even a variation of the above movement.


thanks for introducing me to the Cuban. I see it in my repertoire soon.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:57 pm 
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TimD was a big fan of Cuban rolls. It's a cuban press without the press, if you see what I mean


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:49 pm 
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Cuban rolls are great for rotator cuffs. I've used them, plus a couple other shoulder articulations. It's a must when you do a program with a lot of heavy pressing.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:53 pm 
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Deific Wizard of Sagacity
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yeah I do my external rotations on the horizontal axis one session, vertical (ie cuban rolls) on the next


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:48 am 
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Oscar_Actuary wrote:
what about mixing it in same routine,

warm up, and work up to worknig sets like...
3x5 or 5/3/2/2 or 3/3/2/2/1

then finish with 3x 10/15 at a much lower weight.
Maybe even a variation of the above movement.


thanks for introducing me to the Cuban. I see it in my repertoire soon.


I had never even considered combining low and high rep sets in the same workout. Sounds like a great idea, I'm going to give it a shot.

Thanks to everyone for all the help, this forum is a fantastic resource for newbies like myself.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:41 pm 
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With more than 1 goal (you list 3), it often works better to prioritize them one at a time, i.e., strength for 6 weeks, endurance for 6 weeks then fat loss for 6 weeks. Or whatever time-frame seems good for you. There are routines like "The New Rules for Lifting" by Lou Schuler that are based on this approach.

If you are lifting for strength, try not to lose ground on the fat, but be content if your weight stays put. Most of your lifting would be low-rep (I like sets of 1 or 2 or 3), with some assistance work high-rep. When you train for endurance you'd use high-rep (3x12?, 3x15?) lifting or even barbell or dumbbell complexes (see stickies). Then with fat loss you can train high rep and increase the time you spend on cardio.

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