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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:29 pm 
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Hello,

I`m new to this forum, so I will start with some information on my person...

I`m 41 years old, (1,83m, 75kg) and have been doing sport since I was a kid. The last 25 years I played Volleyball. I startet with strength-training 1,5 years ago, because of some minor issues with my lower back and knees - fortunately nothing serious but I took it as a signal to work on that (and "strong" is not the adjective that comes to my mind when to describe myself :wink: ).
I startet with the following workout (with 3 Sets/20Reps each, always going to 4 an 5 Sets before increasing the load; with lever or cable machines): a 10min. warm-up, Leg press, Pull down, Standing Row, Dips, Reverse Chest Fly (Pec Dec), Crunches (3 - 6 Sets, 20 Reps) and stretching. This was given to me by a physio, after he did a check-up with me.

Because I liked the training a lot, and because the Physio said I`m healthy enough to do "everything I like to", I began to develop my workout step by step all by myself and today it is like the following (Exercise, load, sets, reps):
- 10 min. warm-up
- Barbell Squats, 65kg, 3, 20
- Barbell Deadlift, 24kg, 3, 20
- Cable Standing Chest Press, 63kg, 3, 20
- Cable Standing Row, 63kg, 3, 20
- Pull down, 39kg, 3, 20
- Barbell Military Press, 14kg, 3, 20
- Barbell Upright Row, 20kg, 3, 20
- Lever Triceps Dips, 60kg, 3, 20
- Crunches (several variations) 6 Sets, 20 Reps
- Stretching

I do this on Monday and Wednesday (Thursday, I play Volleyball). I don`t take any shakes or anything else, I try to eat healthy. I lost 3kg bodyweight since I began and the body looks better trained and more muscular than before.

My goals are:
- staying healthy, balancing out my muscular dysbalances, achieve a better posture
- building up core strength
- keep a rather slender physique instead of building masses of muscle... like looking normal in clothes but looking muscular without them.

My questions are:
1. Does the workout have some (serious?) flaws?
2. The workout has developed over the past 1,5 years (that`s the reason I included the actual loads) and some exercises are quite new in my workout and I startet (again) with a small load. On which exercises shall I concentrate to keep up a proper balance?
3. Is it advisable or preferable to change the Cable Chest Press and the Cable Row into the Barbell-Versions (Bent-over Row and Bench Press)?

Anything else I forgot?

Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for your advice and tips!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:48 pm 
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Welcome, it's great that you've taken interest on working out. I like Volleyball a lot myself too, it's a simple yet complicated sport that's suitable for a lot of different people. And it's always fun with friends, and not that hard physically. Here be some points that I'd like to say

1) The rep/set scheme is a bit odd. 60 reps of Squats and Deadlifts don't really serve any purpose. Especially on the Deadlifts, it fatiques your lower back very fast, so 60 reps is a lot. I understand the physiotherapeutic side of the 20 reps per set, but if you really are healthy enough to lift, you could try to lift heavier. Lifting heavier on some exercises will help you on your goals. Being buffed and bulked isn't relative to what you lift, but more on what you eat. You can't accidentally gain huge muscle, you need to earn it. Don't be afraid to go heavier.

2) It's very odd that a person with a history of lower back problem is adviced to do crunches. I would steer away from the crunches for most of the time. Or atleast add in some variety. Getting core strength isn't just the six pack or twisting sit-ups. It's also about stability and 360 approach (back muscles, deeper muscles, sides). Consider taking some Plank variations, Dead bugs, rollouts, cable chops or lifts or landmines to your program. Atleast 2 core exercises a week will do good. You find all the exercises I mentioned from youtube.

3) Huge amount of exercises. There is room to cut. Especially if you aim to go heavier. It isn't necessary to have three big pressing exercises in one workout (Military, Bench and Dips). Simple is better and less is more. Especially for your goals.

4) Free weigth exercises (Barbell, Dumbell, Kettlebell) are mainly a better choise than cable/machine ones. There is a time and place for cables and machines, but I would recommend strongly to cycle some free weigth exercises on presses and rows as well. You body will work even more as a whole, and work more on those postural and muscle balance type of goals.

5) Progressive overload. Do more nearly every workout. This means that add in reps, weigth or sets every workout. Don't stall on doing 24kg on Deadlifts for weeks, but add something every workout. This is the way your body keeps on going forward towards your goals.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:17 pm 
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while I agree with Dub that 60 reps of deadlift isn't so good, I LOVE high rep squats. That'll get you in shape faster than anything else, particularly if you keep rest periods short, so drop the reps and increase the weight for deadlifts, and keep doing the high rep squats.

I would also split up your workout, do your upper body on one day, and your lower body on another


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:35 pm 
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Wow... thats fast... thank you! I will try to answer your points...

Dub wrote:
1) The rep/set scheme is a bit odd. 60 reps of Squats and Deadlifts don't really serve any purpose. Especially on the Deadlifts, it fatiques your lower back very fast, so 60 reps is a lot. I understand the physiotherapeutic side of the 20 reps per set, but if you really are healthy enough to lift, you could try to lift heavier. Lifting heavier on some exercises will help you on your goals. Being buffed and bulked isn't relative to what you lift, but more on what you eat. You can't accidentally gain huge muscle, you need to earn it. Don't be afraid to go heavier.


Its clearly in the rep-range where endurance ist trained most, I think... One reason for it, is that I just kept up that part from the initial program when I tried to go for a wholebody-workout. (BTW at the moment I`m training at a hospital, not a gym.) Another reason is that I am afraid to overload and perhaps damage anything before my body adapts to the load. The reason for me to pick up strength training was to get better prepared for "everyday life" and protect my back and joints with stronger muscles... perhaps there is a misunderstanding on my side on how the body adapts...

Quote:
2) It's very odd that a person with a history of lower back problem is adviced to do crunches. I would steer away from the crunches for most of the time. Or atleast add in some variety. Getting core strength isn't just the six pack or twisting sit-ups. It's also about stability and 360 approach (back muscles, deeper muscles, sides). Consider taking some Plank variations, Dead bugs, rollouts, cable chops or lifts or landmines to your program. Atleast 2 core exercises a week will do good. You find all the exercises I mentioned from youtube.


The "lower back problem" is not an injury or something like that, rather a "cramp" in the lower back muscles for example after volleyball, garden work or when I was helping a friend move to another apartment... The muscles weren`t strong enough to keep up with the weight bearing.
I also do (side-) planks and so on, to stabilize the core... but thanks for the hint.

Quote:
3) Huge amount of exercises. There is room to cut. Especially if you aim to go heavier. It isn't necessary to have three big pressing exercises in one workout (Military, Bench and Dips). Simple is better and less is more. Especially for your goals.


Well... I thought I cover every part, pulling and pushing vertically and horizontally this way.

Quote:
4) Free weigth exercises (Barbell, Dumbell, Kettlebell) are mainly a better choise than cable/machine ones. There is a time and place for cables and machines, but I would recommend strongly to cycle some free weigth exercises on presses and rows as well. You body will work even more as a whole, and work more on those postural and muscle balance type of goals.


Thats what I thought already...

Quote:
5) Progressive overload. Do more nearly every workout. This means that add in reps, weigth or sets every workout. Don't stall on doing 24kg on Deadlifts for weeks, but add something every workout. This is the way your body keeps on going forward towards your goals.


At the moment there are exercises that are pretty much on the same level for some time, but nevertheless challenging, because of the load of the other exercises. And also because I tried to improve the new exercises a bit more...

O. k. ...When I understand you right, you would recommend
- to reduce the Reps in favor of higher loads
- split the programme? Even though I`m just training on two days a week? or
- concentrate on less exercises? Which ones?

Oh another reply... fine

@ robertscott
Quote:
while I agree with Dub that 60 reps of deadlift isn't so good, I LOVE high rep squats. That'll get you in shape faster than anything else, particularly if you keep rest periods short, so drop the reps and increase the weight for deadlifts, and keep doing the high rep squats.

I would also split up your workout, do your upper body on one day, and your lower body on another


Thanks for your input... I guess my questions above would be quite the same to you.

At the moment the resting period is 60 to 90 seconds between each set.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:32 pm 
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We've had discussions here in the not-too-distant past about the relative merits of high-volume vs. low-volume training. However, you workout goes way beyond anything that we discussed as "high-volume"! Bob says to keep doing high volume squats. I'd agree, but my idea of high volume is 3x10! For deadlifts, I'd strongly urge you to cut way back.

Here's a simple way to plan your training. Think of 6 movements:
vertical pull (chin-ups, pull-downs)
vertical push (press)
horizontal pull (rows of all kinds) (edited)
horizontal push (push-ups, bench press, chest presses of various kinds, dips are sorta similar)(edited)
hip-dominant legs (deadlift and related)
knee-dominant legs (squats and variations)

Divide those movements over your workout week. You train 2 days a week, so pick three for each day. Make those your main lifts for each day. I'd pick a leg exercise for each day, and 2 upper-body. Then do 1-3 other lifts, smaller isolation lifts, or whatever interests you. These lifts you can change frequently. The big lifts you would vary less often.

If possible, move toward free weight exercises. Bench press is better (in most ways) than machine and cable chest press. Chin-ups and pull-ups are better than pull-downs. Etc., etc. For each day, put the "biggest" lift, the one moving the most weight earlier in the routine than the smaller. That's usually the compound lift that uses the most muscle. Alternately, you can put an exercise earlier if you want to emphasize it. Put the isolation accessory lifts last.

Dub mentioned progressive overload. There are lots of ways to progress your loading, too many to discuss right now. But find a system that works for you and follow it.

Welcome to the forum!

Edited to correct inclusion of dips with pulls.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:14 pm 
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It's unusual that you can squat much more than you can deadlift. How deep are you squatting? Also, is grip a limiting factor on deadlifts?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:18 pm 
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reckon when you are doing 20 reps, the question of "Can you Press more than you can Dealdift" cannot be readily answered with certainty. My fat body cant squat anything 20 times.

By the way, you can do Vertical and Horizontal pushing and pulling each of the two days. Often recommendations are not based on optimal outcomes but more about bang for your buck. It takes time to keep up with and swutch between exrcises. If you can get 6 sets of Overhead Presses in one day and sets of Vertical Chest Cable Presses the other, that will do 95% the same good as doing 3 sets of each both days - but maybe take 15 less minutes. Dont let that concern you.

Personally I like cable work. I like free weight more but cables have there place.

Finally, until they release you from the hospital, I'd be carful about lifting.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:57 am 
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Thanks for your replies, Jungledoc, Matt Z and Oscar_Actuary.

I think I have to clarify two things at first... I`m not in a hospital (as a sick person), I train at a hospital. Most of the people training there are patients in the hospital, others are sent there by a doctor for rehabilitation an some people like me just pay their fee and train there.
The second thing is about my lower back... It is my weak point, but I`m not injured or had any serious injuries.

To Matt Z:
Quote:
It's unusual that you can squat much more than you can deadlift. How deep are you squatting? Also, is grip a limiting factor on deadlifts?


Well... I played Volleyball for 25 years and I`m doing leg press and squats since I began with my strength-training. I started doing deadlifts 3 month ago. Grip isn`t a limiting factor on deadlifts at the moment... only my lower back, so I always start low on weight, also to learn the proper form.
When I squat... feet are about shoulder width apart; I try not to let my knees shift much over my toes; the angle between calves and thighs are a bit less than 90°; The hips are nearly the same level (a bit higher) than the knees...

@jungledoc
Quote:
...Here's a simple way to plan your training. Think of 6 movements:
vertical pull (chin-ups, pull-downs)
vertical push (press)...


That`s pretty much what I did with my workout... Only that I added Upright row and Dips as vertical movements, because they don`t work "over my head" like the Pull down or Military press and should adress the muscles of the body in a different way.

@ all
I begin to understand that what I`m doing must look really strange for you... Well... no problem, I will try to learn as fast as I can ;) and everybody had some good points, I will carefully think about - thanks for that!

I think I will change my workout in small steps and look how it feels and works for me... So at first I will...
- reduce Reps to 15, reviewing my form on all the exercises (make every rep count) and put on more load later
- substitute Cable Standing Row and Chest Press with Push ups (perhaps Bench Press later) and Bent-over Rows
- keep my wholebody-workout 2 times a week (seldom, but sometimes I miss a training day, so I will do each exercise at least once a week)

Any further advise or tips are welcome.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:33 pm 
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Crow wrote:
keep a rather slender physique instead of building masses of muscle... like looking normal in clothes but looking muscular without them.


I'm wondering if this might be at the core of why you're less inclined to lift heavier and with lower reps. Building mounds of muscle is less a product of lifting heavy weights than it is a product of eating tonnes of food (while lifting weights). I'd deadlift almost four times what you are for 20 reps, and I weigh 11kg less than you do. I'm tiny. Most research shows a greater net benefit to strength when loads are heavier and more intense.

I understand where you're coming from in terms of lifting higher reps to improve endurance, but you're trying to train an energy system in a very inefficient manner. Improving basic strength will improve endurance by not only making your muscles more efficient at recruiting motor units, but by improving your movement patterning so that the constituent movements themselves become more efficient. You'd see more tangible results by improving the quality and strength of the tissue separately from improving your body's ability to provide fuel to those tissues. In other words, more strength would mean each movement costs less to produce, thus improving your endurance, which you should work on separately.

Since volleyball requires explosive and reactive power, most training templates for it use set scheme like 4X4 and 5X5. A part of improving vertical jump by loading the squat movement pattern would involve working at loads of 80-90% of 1RM for 4-6 reps, for example.

That being said, I wouldn't suggest suddenly banging out sets of massively loaded squats. I'd recommend picking a program that has a dynamic component tailored towards jumping and sprinting like the Westside periodization method, (note: link to another forum; not my post, this was just the best resource I could get with quick google fu) or pairing some form of conditioning with a basic strength program like Starting Strength or StrongLifts.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:00 pm 
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"When I squat... feet are about shoulder width apart; I try not to let my knees shift much over my toes; the angle between calves and thighs are a bit less than 90°; The hips are nearly the same level (a bit higher) than the knees..." - Crow

That sounds more like a Half Squat or maybe even a Quarter Squat. If you can do so comfortably, you should try to get down to at least parallel (hips level with knees), even if it means using less weight (it probably will). If not, you may want to work on gradually improving depth.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:37 am 
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Crow wrote:
I`m not in a hospital (as a sick person), I train at a hospital.

I'm pretty sure that Oscar understood that. Most of us understand his humor, at least part of the time.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:39 am 
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Do you have trouble working working over your head?

Yeah, you need to pull weight off your squat, learn to squat to depth with good form, then start building the load.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:48 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
Do you have trouble working working over your head?


What do you mean? I don`t understand what you are driving at?

At least I understood that my workout would look like the following, when I follow your recommendation:

Monday (Push-Day)
- Squats
- Bench Press (Push up)
- Military Press
- Triceps Dips

Wednesday (Pull-Day)
- Deadlifts
- Bent-over Row
- Pull-up (Pull-down)
- Upright Row

The Sets/Reps would be 3x5 each... any aditional exercises at a lower weight with 3x 8-12 Reps...

It still seems strange to me, that I would train each exercise only once a week, but I fear I will experieance it will be (more than) enough, when I really start that routine...


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:03 am 
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JasonJones wrote:
...Since volleyball requires explosive and reactive power, most training templates for it use set scheme like 4X4 and 5X5. A part of improving vertical jump by loading the squat movement pattern would involve working at loads of 80-90% of 1RM for 4-6 reps, for example.

That being said, I wouldn't suggest suddenly banging out sets of massively loaded squats. I'd recommend picking a program that has a dynamic component tailored towards jumping and sprinting like the Westside periodization method, ... or pairing some form of conditioning with a basic strength program like Starting Strength or StrongLifts.


Thanks for your thoughts... but to be honest, I`m rather searching for a "basic strength programme" and not necessarily one that is sport specific tailored to volleyball... I don`t think I will do anymore serious games in a (minor) league as I`ve done all the years before...

The exrx-site guidelines recommend doing 8 - 10 exercises that train the major muscle-groups 2 - 3 times a week with one warm-up-set and one working-set with 8 - 12 reps for a novice... Perhaps this could be a choice to approach (and get used to) heavy loads.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:26 am 
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Crow wrote:
Jungledoc wrote:
Do you have trouble working working over your head?


What do you mean? I don`t understand what you are driving at?

I was referring to what you said:

Crow wrote:
That`s pretty much what I did with my workout... Only that I added Upright row and Dips as vertical movements, because they don`t work "over my head" like the Pull down or Military press and should adress the muscles of the body in a different way.


You say you do dips and upright rows because overhead doesn't work. I was wondering what the issue is with working overhead. I have trouble with overhead lifts, mostly because of shoulder mobility issues.

Crow wrote:
At least I understood that my workout would look like the following, when I follow your recommendation:

Monday (Push-Day)
- Squats
- Bench Press (Push up)
- Military Press
- Triceps Dips

Wednesday (Pull-Day)
- Deadlifts
- Bent-over Row
- Pull-up (Pull-down)
- Upright Row

The Sets/Reps would be 3x5 each... any aditional exercises at a lower weight with 3x 8-12 Reps...

It still seems strange to me, that I would train each exercise only once a week, but I fear I will experieance it will be (more than) enough, when I really start that routine...

Well try it for a while and see how it goes.

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