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Hello! I'm new here!

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:24 am
by zachsikidhart
Hello everyone!

I'm Zach. I spent a good bit of the weekned browsing through the ExRx site, and am simply impressed with the amount of information that can be learned here! I'm trying to create my own workout program and I was wondering if you could give me some help.

I'm 24 years old, 5'10, 185lbs. The machine says that I'm at 28% bodyfat.

I have been doing the same workout since November, with slight increases in weight lifted, but I feel that I'm not improving. I do tend to miss a workout once a week, but I just feel that if I KNOW what I'm actually doing, motivation won't be a problem.

I plan to go to the gym 3-4 times a week if possible. My current plan:
Gym on Tuesdays, Fridays, Sundays. I also usually play basketball on Thursdays, and I plan to swim on Saturdays.

I want to make a program that exercises all of my muscles, so that I will be as "proportional" as possible, if you get what I'm trying to say... Of course the objective is still fatloss. Basically I just want to be healthy and fit before I think about other advanced excercises for really specific goals. Can you recommend a good "basic?" plan? I don't know which is better overall, dumbell bench press, or barbell bench press, smith machine barbell bench press or chest press machine.
And with all the incline, decline variations, I'm confused as to which would be a better overall workout for me.

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:56 am
by Ironman
You want flat or decline for lower chest and incline for upper. Try something like this.

flat or decline bench dumbbell or barbell
incline bench dumbbell or barbell
bent over row
cable pulldown
shrugs any kind
lateral raise or upright row
squats or leg press if you can't squat, 2 sets
Romanian deadlift, 2 sets
standing calf or calf press
squat, leg press or deadlift with wide stance, toes out a little
a curl of some sort palms up
maybe another curl with palms down or facing
close grip bench, triceps extention or dips of some kind
something for abs. I usually recommend weighted situps on decline bench.

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:52 am
by Scott Ismari
there are several approaches to setting up a routine....I do suggest however to hit all major muscle groups ( legs, back, chest) to keep your workouts balanced, sticking still to compound moves for the bulk of your exercises. Two compound moves per muscle group usually do the trick

squats/leg presses for quads, Straight leg deadlifts for hams, deadlifts and rows for back, a flat press and incline for chest, ( usually one with barbell and the other with dumbbells), then you can round it off with some shoulder presses , curls and tricep moves at the end perhaps.

Three days a week limit you to the amount of time you can devote to each body part, you could think about a simple upper/lower split to give you four days.

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 6:44 pm
by zachsikidhart
Thanks for your responses!

Quick question though, what would be the difference between increasing reps and increasing the number of sets? If you do it slower, you would be able to do less reps obviously, but whats the difference in terms of results?
I feel that my thighs are huge (they touch when im standing). Although theres plenty fat around that area, I would like to avoid making them bigger than they already are (they are also quite strong i believe, I'm able to leg press 200kg). If at all possible, I'd like to shed some fat first before even thinking about adding muscle mass. I would certainly want more strength gain, as I could see men 20 years my senior and about 50lbs lighter than me lift the same if not heavier weights (except for the leg press). Basically, I'm interested in all the benefits of a good workout minus the size gain.

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:05 pm
by Anthony
hmmm... Sounds like you should be sticking with cardio and a sound eating plan, then hit the weights once you've lost the desired amount of fat.

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:49 pm
by Scott Ismari
I have never agreed with the lose fat first, lift weights later approach. Lifting weights secondary functiuon IS burning fat over a long term approach. True, cardio is the primary way to burn but if you dont lift weights along with it, your taking longer time. The more lean muscle you have the more fat your burn at rest.

Gaining size....nothing wrong with that. Dont be afraid to...its a natrual part of the exercise process. some just do it better than others. However, if you are one of those that have an easy time doing it, there are ways to "minimize" your gains by watching the amount you lift, the exercises and the number of reps you do.

Once your body fat levels go down, your inner thighs will lose alot of their bulk, remember, muscle volume weighs twice as much as the same volume of fat so in essence, your taking up less space with more weight.

You want strength without size.....I suggest whole body workouts, particualarly ciricuit style training to limit your mass gains, increase your fat burning and giving you a moderate amount of strength gains at the same time.

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:51 am
by crookfit
It's easy to get confused with this stuff. Everyone has a different opinion about what works and what doesn't.

I found this post on another forum. This is some of the best advice for beginners I have EVER come across. It answers just about every question that beginners normally have. This post, which is more like a book, is based off of a book called "Starting Strength" by Mark Rippetoe. The post summarizes the book pretty well.

I highly recommend thoroughly reading this and following its outline. The routine is more focused on building functional strength than aesthetics, which I tend to be more biased towards. Most importantly, it is a simple program, which is the way beginner programs should be.

Check it out, and post any questions you have.

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 8:30 pm
by zachsikidhart
Thanks for the info!

I tried squats about two days ago, my body is still aching. We don't have barbells in our gym, just a smith machine. Is this perfectly all right? Or should I go with dumbells instead? (Whats the difference anyway?)

The .gif picture on this site is a bit small, and its hard to figure out the minute details for ensuring proper form.

I felt pain in my lower back right after performing my sets, but I'm not really sure if its muscular pain or something bad. Any tips?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 8:35 pm
by TimD
I think a Smith maching is better than nothing, but some people will say it doesn't allow a natural enough movement, and places too much stress on the knees. DB's are fine, either at arms length (more like a DL though) or on the shoulders. The problems come on the shoulders when you get up to really heavy DB's though.

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 11:11 am
by Matt Z
You MAY want to try supplementing your Smith Machine Squats with either Dumbbell Lunges or Dumbbell Step-ups. This would give you one general mass and stregth exercise (the squats), and one "functional strength" exercise emphasizing ballance and secondary muscle groups (lunges or step-ups). Also, this MIGHT make it easier to transition over to free weight squats later.

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 11:54 am
by crookfit
I've actually heard of instances where smith machine squats caused lower back pain in other people as well, and switching to barbell squats fixed the problem (although, if I looked hard enough I could probably find the same stories in reverse). Bottom line, the smith machine reduces the need for stabilizer muscles, so it's possible that some people may relax their upper bodies and core too much when using SM's. Pushing heavy weight with a relaxed upper body/core is definitely not a good thing. I've definitely heard more negatives than positives with SM squats. Matt Z's recommendation seems like a good fit for your situation.

Squats tend to be the staple for most strength training regimens, so in the long run you would benefit most by finding a gym with a squat rack, if possible.

Posted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:56 pm
by zachsikidhart
Hello again!

Here's the program I made for myself, been doing it for a couple of weeks now:

Smith Squats @50kg 10x3 (Started from 40)
Dumbell BenchPress @18kg each, 10x3 (Started from 14)
Dumbell Lunges @10kg each, 8x3 (Just added a workout ago)
Cable Rear Pulldown @55kg, 10x3 (Started from 45)
Dumbell Shoulder Press @14kg each, 10x3 (Started from 10)
Crunches 15x3

Do I need to add/modify something? Thanks for your suggestions!

Posted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:59 pm
by YeahBuddy
That routine isn't bad. Although I think you should do something for your hamstrings and lower back. Lunges and squats are both primarily quads and glutes. If you feel like you're at a plateau and you aren't improving, consider changing things around.

Since your BF% is near 30%, your biggest improvements will be made by changing your diet. But I don't agree with just doing cardio to lose fat, then starting the weights. Weight lifting burns a ton of calories, even after you're done working out.

Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 8:09 am
by Matt Z
Add deadlifts (standard or straight-leg) and some kind of row. Since you don't have access to barbells, I'd recomend Straight-leg Deadlifts with a pair of dumbbells. Likewise you can do dumbbell rows, or use the smith machine to do the equivalent of bent-over barbell rows.