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JoeB
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Training advice

Post by JoeB » Sat Feb 14, 2009 12:44 pm

Ok, a little about me. I have been training on and off since I was 15. I am now 23 years old at 215lbs. This past year, I have trained with only one week off. My max lifts are:

Full squat: 350(1)
Deadlift:265(5)
Bench:255(5)
Barbell shoulder press: 155(3)
Barbell row: 210(4)

A trainer at my gym told me to take a week off--after training for a year-- and do higher reps at a lower weight to build mass. I did not want to take any time off because I was worried about losing strength. I did lower my weight with the barbell row to 205lbs because I notice I was jerking the weight up after a few reps at 210lbs. For a few weeks, I started barbell rowing 5 by 5 at 205lbs and the weight felt fine. About a month or so later, I started feeling burnt out, did not feel like lifting and my aggression was low. I dropped the weight on the row to 185lbs and I could do 3 sets of 8. I finally took a week off and when it came time to row, I used 185lbs. I ended up hurting my lower back and was in pain for 3 weeks. For the first few days after hurting my lower back, I could barely sit down. I went to a chiropractor and I feel like I am back to normal. I am getting ready to start training again, but I am thinking of switching barbell rows with dumbells and I was wondering if I should do the same with barbell shoulder press. I think it was the rowing that hurt my back, but the barbell shoulder press could of done it too. Also, I am planning on using a bodybuilding routine of lower weight and higher reps

Thanks,

Joe


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Post by Ironman » Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:26 pm

I think dumbbells would be fine. You might want to work on your deadlift when your back gets better, it's low compared to your squat. As for your back, the row could be the the thing that is the hardest on it. the main problem though is probably that you are over training your lower back. Seated dumbbell overhead press and either 1 arm or bench supported dumbbell row would be good substitutions.

Doing higher reps for a while is fine. But don't start doing an isolation heavy routine. That won't help.

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Post by JoeB » Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:44 pm

I appreciate your help. I have been training the squat for over a year and only about 4 months of dead lifting. I started dead lifting after my squats and its kicking my butt. I usually do not have enough energy to put any real effort into my dead lift. Its hard to train both in same week, let alone the same day. What do you mean by heavy isolation work? It seems like a dumbbell row would have a greater range of motion and be better for you. I don't know if this is true or not, but I do know that either the row or barbell shoulder press messed up my back

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Post by Jungledoc » Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:41 pm

It looks like you have a good approach to weight training. Big compound lifts, simple routine (unless you are doing a lot of isolation lifts that you're not telling us about). The thing about all those lifts is that they all are dependent on tension in your low back to stabilize your spine for the lifts. It's easy for the volume of work for your back to build up without noticing. You think your volume of squats is reasonable, volume of DL is OK, volume of shoulder press is not so bad, but all of those are work for your back, and you can over train without realizing what you're doing.

DB shoulder presses are a great exercise. You can either do them synchronously (2 DBs, lifting both at once) or one-arm (using 1 DB at a time). The one-arm presses are a little easier on your back, also hit your obliques better.

You could work in some unilateral leg work (lunges, step-ups, Bulgarian squats, etc.) which are good for you in lots of ways, one of which is that they don't hit the low back as much.

I think DB rows are great. I prefer them to BB rows. They also don't require the same degree of low back stabilization as BB rows do.

Just changing the routine can help, too. Seated rows in place of bent-over rows, DB bench or incline or decline bench or even dips in place of flat bench, etc., etc. I try to change my routine in some way every 6 weeks. Not always radical change, but some variety.

Also I notice lack of vertical pull (chin/pull-up).

Don't be afraid to take weeks off. You don't lose any strength in a week, and often you really gain in recovery. Some people do "deload weeks" when they lift the same weights as usual, but only about half the number of reps.

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Post by Ironman » Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:24 pm

JoeB wrote:I appreciate your help. I have been training the squat for over a year and only about 4 months of dead lifting. I started dead lifting after my squats and its kicking my butt. I usually do not have enough energy to put any real effort into my dead lift. Its hard to train both in same week, let alone the same day. What do you mean by heavy isolation work? It seems like a dumbbell row would have a greater range of motion and be better for you. I don't know if this is true or not, but I do know that either the row or barbell shoulder press messed up my back

Well since you don't understand, I don't think you are likely to do it. What I meant was a routine using a lot of isolation exercises. Like 5 different kinds of curls, front raise, cable flys and all that. Like what you see in popular bodybuilding magazines.

I would split up deadlift and squat. Or do squat and Romanian, or deadlift with front squat.


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Post by JoeB » Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:45 pm

Thank you both for your replies. Yes, I only do compound movements and I do not touch any machines. One of the reasons why I was worried about switching to dumbbells for my row, is because I think it is considered an isolation movement. However, if it keeps my back healthy, then that is what I am going to have to do even if I sacrifice some muscle gain

Jungledoc, I do not have access to a pull up bar and my gym will not allow you to hang off the machines

I greatly appreciate both of your help

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Post by TimD » Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:31 pm

I certainly would not worry about using DB's, in fact I prefer them when practical. (Obviously, if you have a substantial squat, you'd really need a barbell). They bring in more ROM and require more stabilization, and while they can be applied to isolation movements, they crtainly are not limited to that. A lot of the old strongman types thrived on DB's and Kettlebells for 1 and 2 armed versions of the Olympic lifts and variations.
Tim

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Post by Jungledoc » Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:43 pm

JoeB wrote:Jungledoc, I do not have access to a pull up bar and my gym will not allow you to hang off the machines
Ah-ha! The old "I don't have a pull-up bar" excuse!

Start looking up wherever you go. You'll start seeing pull-up opportunities. Rafters and beams are obvious. Tree branches. Playground equipment in parks. Or even splurge 30 bucks for one of those things you can put in a doorway. Consider towel pull-ups. (Throw an old towel over a branch or bar, grip it on each side and pull away. It's obviously a narrow, neutral grip pull, which is great. Or throw two towels over the branch or bar and grasp both ends of one towel in one hand, both ends of the other in the other hand.

Tell the gym manager that a "gym" (try to convey the quotation marks by your vocal inflection) without a pull-up bar is like a McDonald's without a Big Mac, or a wedding without a bride. Seriously, the pull-up is one of the basic exercises, and a gym should be downright ashamed of itself for not having one.

Do they have an assisted pull-up machine?

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Post by JoeB » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:07 pm

Jungledoc wrote:
JoeB wrote:Jungledoc, I do not have access to a pull up bar and my gym will not allow you to hang off the machines
Ah-ha! The old "I don't have a pull-up bar" excuse!

Start looking up wherever you go. You'll start seeing pull-up opportunities. Rafters and beams are obvious. Tree branches. Playground equipment in parks. Or even splurge 30 bucks for one of those things you can put in a doorway. Consider towel pull-ups. (Throw an old towel over a branch or bar, grip it on each side and pull away. It's obviously a narrow, neutral grip pull, which is great. Or throw two towels over the branch or bar and grasp both ends of one towel in one hand, both ends of the other in the other hand.

Tell the gym manager that a "gym" (try to convey the quotation marks by your vocal inflection) without a pull-up bar is like a McDonald's without a Big Mac, or a wedding without a bride. Seriously, the pull-up is one of the basic exercises, and a gym should be downright ashamed of itself for not having one.

Do they have an assisted pull-up machine?
:lol: This is the same gym that when I ask to change the radio to a heavy metal station the owner gets mad. Also, I appear to be the only one that actually squats in the squat rack.They have a lat pull down machine which only has like 60lbs. Thanks for the ideas on what I can use to do pull ups. I will probably have to buy one of those door ones. I know I can only do like 1 or 2 reps

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Post by JoeB » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:08 pm

TimD wrote:I certainly would not worry about using DB's, in fact I prefer them when practical. (Obviously, if you have a substantial squat, you'd really need a barbell). They bring in more ROM and require more stabilization, and while they can be applied to isolation movements, they crtainly are not limited to that. A lot of the old strongman types thrived on DB's and Kettlebells for 1 and 2 armed versions of the Olympic lifts and variations.
Tim
I wonder how big someone could get with only dumbbells

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Post by JoeB » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:14 pm

Ironman wrote:
JoeB wrote:I appreciate your help. I have been training the squat for over a year and only about 4 months of dead lifting. I started dead lifting after my squats and its kicking my butt. I usually do not have enough energy to put any real effort into my dead lift. Its hard to train both in same week, let alone the same day. What do you mean by heavy isolation work? It seems like a dumbbell row would have a greater range of motion and be better for you. I don't know if this is true or not, but I do know that either the row or barbell shoulder press messed up my back

Well since you don't understand, I don't think you are likely to do it. What I meant was a routine using a lot of isolation exercises. Like 5 different kinds of curls, front raise, cable flys and all that. Like what you see in popular bodybuilding magazines.

I would split up deadlift and squat. Or do squat and Romanian, or deadlift with front squat.

I don't even do curls--or cardio-- any more. I go into the gym,lift some barbells and then I get out. Usually, 45 minutes to an hour

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Post by TimD » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:52 pm

Joe B wrote:
I wonder how big someone could get with only dumbbells

Well, you could do quite well with DB's only, depending on if you could get acces to large enough DB's. After all, it is about resistance. Deadlifts and squats would probably become impractical after a while, but most upper body moves would be fine. Obviousl, it would proably require a bar for benching as well, but weighted dips and chins work fine also.
Tim

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Post by JoeB » Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:44 pm

Just an update: I found out that I have a degenerative disc between my L4 and L5 vertebra. I think it happened because of squatting, but I am not sure. I gave up squatting and I am now using the leg press and dumbbell lunges.

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Post by Ironman » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:35 pm

It's not from squatting unless you were doing something very wrong. I know somebody who has a couple degenerative disks and he claims it is a genetic problem. I tend to believe him since he is still in his 20's.

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Post by JoeB » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:25 am

I am in my 20's, also. I think my hips may be too far forward, which caused me to put stress on my lower back. This is just my speculation though after reading a few articles about correct hip posture


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