New to working out; my exercise routine

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behollow
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New to working out; my exercise routine

Post by behollow » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:08 pm

Hello everyone,

So I just started working out about three weeks ago. Here is my current routine:

DAY1: Upper Body
DAY2: Lower Body
DAY3:Off
DAY4:Upper
DAY5:Lower
DAY6:Off
DAY7:Off

I am about 150 lbs and 24 years old. I have never worked out in my life until about three weeks ago.
My Upper Body Routine (everything I try for 10 reps x 10 sets)
(reps are my attempted reps, not actual reps, but I do 10 sets of as many reps per exercise as I can):
Bench Press (95 lbs)
Military Press (65 lbs)
Shrugs (75 lbs)
Drag Curls (45 lbs)
Bent Over Row (45 lbs)

Lower Routine (all 10 reps x 10 sets):
Calf Rises (Body weight)
Squats (95 lbs)
Straight-leg Deadlift (45 lbs)

I do not like the bent over row, but I cannot do a pull up and I am struggling with the inverted row. I am looking for any advice on what muscles I am missing as well as what exercises to use them, if my weights should be adjusted for any of the exercises, and if there is a method to get my back strong enough to switch to the inverted row. Also, I know I am missing abs, but I really, really hate sit ups. I'm currently looking for a more comfortable exercise for the abdominal muscle. My exercise equipment consists of a rack and a weight bench. I prefer exercising at home for now, but when I get more weight I would not mind switching to a real gym. The only supplement I am taking is whey protein, about 40-60g of protein a day, via 20grams x2 or x3 shakes a day. Any comments or critiques are appreciated.


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Re: New to working out; my exercise routine

Post by stuward » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:16 pm

Just a comment on the inverted rows. There are ways to scale that exercise. You can adjust the height of the bar so you're more at an incline Like this: http://exrx.net/WeightExercises/BackGen ... wHigh.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; , or you could bend your knees, which makes it easier. This is the easiest: http://exrx.net/WeightExercises/BackGen ... wHips.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: New to working out; my exercise routine

Post by nickp320 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:39 pm

Another little blurb here: How much time do you have that you are able to commit to lifting?

Also You may want to consider putting in a tricep excercise in your upper body workout. Given your equipment I would say go for wither an Overhead Raise or Skull Crushers.
(I was going to link to their excercises on exrx but unfortunately the site isn't opening on my computer for some reason)

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Re: New to working out; my exercise routine

Post by TimD » Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:05 pm

Seems to have all the bases covered with compounds, but before I comment whether it's any good or not, let's find out what your goals are. The reason I'm asking, is because your routine looks very similar to what Vince Gironda used to use on a lot of the Hollywood folks back in the 40's, 50's, and 60's (although I believe Vince use an 8X8 set/rep scheme). He prescribed it for a specific reason, and used low rest periods in between sets and exercises. It was designed to cut bodyfat, lean them out and make them look good nekkid. Gironda was Mr. aesthetics back in the day. Now, if your goals aren't in that area, it might not be a real good choice for you.
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Re: New to working out; my exercise routine

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:41 pm

Why are you a bit arbitrary with the weights /reps?

I mean, why "as many as I can", instead of picking a weight where you can?
With so many sets, maybe, its just that way(?) For a schem like 3x6 for example, or ramped sets, I think you'd only tolerate failure* on the last/highest set

*failure not necessarily defined here as all out, but perhaps without any more left in tank depending on your personal outlook

PowerBands are great to help you with Pull Ups.
Does you rack have a bar across for pull ups?


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Re: New to working out; my exercise routine

Post by Jungledoc » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:56 pm

Welcome to the forum!

Everything you are doing is great--for someone. Probably is not the best approach for a beginner. 10x10 is brutal. It's something guys occasionally do to themselves when life has been too good, and then need a new source of pain and suffering. Most beginner routines use far fewer sets and reps. 3 to 5 sets of 5 reps is common, and works out well for the vast majority. When you cut down on the number of reps, you'll find that the weight you can move goes up considerably.

To determine the weight to use, first learn the movement well. When you have done the movement many times with good form (and that is a topic for another time), use this method to find your beginning working weight. With a very easy weight on the bar, and do a set of 5 reps. If you are able to move the bar smoothly and quickly, add some weight, probably about 10 pounds and repeat the set. Keep doing this until you find the weight that slows you down. That's the weight you will use at first in your training, you "working weight". Next workout, do 2 or 3 warmup sets of the lift with light weight (say 50 and 75%, or 40, 60 and 80% of your working weight), then do 3 sets of 5 reps with that weight. Hopefully you will complete the sets with just a mild fatigue in the muscles involved. You should not be grunting and grinding to get the bar up. Each workout after that add a little weight and do your 3 sets of 5, and keep adding until you get to a weight that you can't get all the reps with good form.

The body split that you use isn't bad, but at this point in your training, your body could handle full-body routines done every-other day.

There are hundreds of muscles in the body. If you think in terms of trying to work them all, you can drive yourself crazy. That will cause you to become a body builder :lol: Seriously, if you want to train for appearance, you can begin to think in terms of all the muscles that show on the surface of the body, but that will be for a more advanced stage of your training. The simpler way for you to think is in terms of movements. There are several schemes for organizing the movements of the body, but I like this one:
Vertical push ("military" press, etc.)
Horizontal push (bench press, push up, etc.)
Vertical pull (chin ups in all their variations)
Horizontal pull (row in all their variations)
Hip-dominant leg movements (deadlifts and related lifts)
Knee-dominant leg movements (squats in all their forms)

So you can pick a lift in each category, and have a pretty full workout. You can divide them up by your current approach, and do all the upper one day all the lower the next. Or do pushing and knee-diminant one day, pulling and hip dominant the next. Or divide them into 2 groups and alternate them on your workouts.

There is a sticky in this section that is designed to keep guys like me from doing what I'm doing right now--repeating information that every beginner needs. Sometimes I just like to hear myself talk, or see myself write. So take what I say with a grain of salt, but look at some of the routines in the sticky.

One last thing, there is often debate about the smaller, single-joint lifts. Many of us use them as accessory lifts. This is things like calf raises and bicep curls. They actually exercise a very small percentage of your total muscle mass. If you have an area of particular weakness or a part of your body that you want to build, throw in a couple of these at the end of your routine. Most people do those in higher reps, like 3x8 or even 5x10. It's OK to go to failure on the smaller lifts at least part of the time. I feel that they aren't necessary in a beginner's routine, but some would argue that there are some muscle groups that aren't worked by any of the big compound lifts, and that it's good to hit them even early on (side raises for the lateral deltoids comes up often).

Really the big thing here is that you have made the move and started exercising. It's not too late to make big improvements in your body. I didn't start exercising regularly until I was in my 40s, and didn't start lifting weights seriously until into my 50s. So it's not too late for you to be just like me!!! :roll:

Two smileys in the same post! Yes, it's really me, and not a troll imposter.

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Re: New to working out; my exercise routine

Post by Jungledoc » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:01 pm

By the way, there are several threads about training chinups when you can't yet do them. There is a sticky about chin up training, but it focuses more on improving it after you can do a few.

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Re: New to working out; my exercise routine

Post by KenDowns » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:52 pm

Welcome!

First off, Read doc's long post through at least twice.

Since you say you are new to working out, I'll mention that the #1 worst mistake that I made was trying to write my own program. I wasted 6-7 months on that. That's me -- maybe you're smarter than I am. But I was not capable of grasping the totality of wisdom on effective methods for gaining strength and figuring out how to make them work as a beginner. But anyway, after I finally realized my fundamental mistake was trying to write my own program, I did http://www.stronglifts.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;, which is a great program when you are starting out. Many of the gurus here are quite familiar with it and you can get a lot of support on these forums if you are doing it.

If it's one thing I learned it is that a foundation of strength is the basis for everything. For instance, if appearance (the beach body) is your ultimate goal, you'll have to do curls, right? So what would produce bigger muscles, 25# curls or 50# curls? Fifty pounds of course, which is much easier to do if you focus first on just getting stronger.

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Re: New to working out; my exercise routine

Post by jlmoss » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:57 pm

Abs are usually already there man so I wouldn't see any reason on doing them. Unless you have some core stability problems while doing your main exercises. Otherwise, go do the real exercises and laugh to yourself knowing the majority of the rest is wincing in pain doing crunch after crunch for no real reason. hehe

I can't really add anything else that others haven't said. It's important for you to know your own weightlifting goals and to communicate those goals on these boards before giving any more specific information.

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Re: New to working out; my exercise routine

Post by Jungledoc » Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:18 am

Yeah, I was going to comment on the core issue. I think it is worthwhile to do some focused core work, but sit-ups ain't it, so you just lost your excuse! Those in the know now advise against sit-ups, most types of crunches, too. Planks and something called the Pallof "Press", which isn't a press, but has a pressing-like movement, are the way to go, along with some other stuff. Look on T-Nation for an article called something like "Core Training for the Twenty-First Century", then other articles by the same author.

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Re: New to working out; my exercise routine

Post by RobertB » Sun Aug 14, 2011 7:10 am

What they said :)

Plus
"I do not like the bent over row"
try with dumbells (if you aren't already) - I love DB rows, not mad on BB ones either.

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Re: New to working out; my exercise routine

Post by Jungledoc » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:54 am

OP, are you following this? Feel free to pop in with a "that's interesting" or "thanks guys" now and then. Or ask more questions. Or mention that Oscar is a troll, or something to let us know we're not talking to the wind.

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Re: New to working out; my exercise routine

Post by behollow » Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:46 am

TimD: I wouldnt mind "looking good nekkid" ha, but the main reason I am working out is over a girl. I havent slept over 4 or 5 hours in several weeks, so I find myself with quite a bit more energy and I cannot stop thinking about her. So, what I do now instead of moping is go to work early in the morning, get out about 1 or 2 in the evening and exercise for 1.5-2hrs. Ive also returned to drawing and writing, anything to help relax my mind. Thinking about taking some transcendental mediation as well. When I feel bad about something, I figure I might as well improve myself using that energy instead of sitting around feeling bad and over-eating and wasting time. But I also think that looking a bit more fit and muscular may help me pick up some new girls, the perfect way to get over an old one. So, in short yes to aesthetics.

Oscar: I am arbitrary with the reps because I try to achieve 10 on each set, but cannot always do so. I am too unfamiliar with working out and my strength to know what weights to use, although I found some standards on common exercises on exrx. I guess my mind set is "I may not be at 100% efficiency, but I'd rather exercise and not know what Im doing that procrastinate to try to get to 100% efficiency. Of course, after working out, Im on the forums to try and improve that percentage".

I do have a rack for pull ups, but I started the inverted row using the preacher curl rack as a place for me feet.

Doc: Thanks for your lengthy post. I really like that mentality of vertical pull, v-push, hor-pull etc. I am really into anatomy; currently I do surgeries on animals as a technician. I hope to go to medical school in 2 years (probably for radiology though). I like thinking of muscles in terms of movements as well. Perhaps Ill check the forums or start a new topic on accessory lifts soon. Thanks for your help.

KenDowns: Il check out the 5x5 stronglifts program. Just curious, is a lower rep, higher weight for building muscle while a higher rep, lower weight for toning muscle? I mean say with your curl example, you do 25lbs curls at 10x10 vs 50lbs curls at 5x5.

jlmoss and doc: Im not sure what you mean core is already there, unless you mean its included in the workout already. I just tend to hold a beer belly, but it is shrinking already just from exercising. Ill check those links, thanks.

Robert: Thanks for the tips, but unfortunately I will be moving soon so I do not want to invest into anything for a few months. My next location will be a bit more permanent, so Ill be checking the forums for first-time home gyms. Thanks

Doc: I assume this post was to me, but I am unfamiliar to the acronym OP. (Original poster?) If it was addressed to me, sorry I checked the forums after the first post but this is the first time back since that day.

Thanks to all of you for your help and advise. Im happy to know there is a strong presence on these forums, Ill be sticking around. Take care.

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Re: New to working out; my exercise routine

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:33 pm

some quick notes...

Beer Belly should be treated with Diet 97% and Exercise 1% and More Diet 2%
We have tons of posts on diet

To stop being "arbitrary" about the weight, pick something very light for 10x10 (or whatever your scheme is). The best way to learn what you can do, is stick to a good (as a newbie, all decent programs will work for awhile) program for several weeks
1. To learn and train form
2. To get a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses
3. To develop an understanding of why you do the movements you do and the rep/set intensity and frquency logic
Or design your own, I do

But either way start light and log your days session. Then - PROGRESSIVELY ADD IRON TO THE BAR. Sorry my caps lock got stuck. Add weight and or add reps each workout on each exercise until you cant.

Others will tell you about rep ranges and how to never use the work "tone" in that context again. Shame on you.


And, working ot to get over a girl is far better than my technique. Moping around and flunking out of school

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Re: New to working out; my exercise routine

Post by Jungledoc » Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:13 pm

Yes, OP is original poster. Sometimes we go on and on answering a post, only to find that the person who asked has disappeared.

Re your question about rep ranges, the classic thinking is that low reps, high weight (1-5 reps) is for strength, high rep (8-12) is for hypertrophy, or increasing muscle size. The reality is that this may change the emphasis for some people, but that either range helps with both aspects. 5 reps is popular, as it is a good compromise between the 2.

Sorry about the girl. You are taking a more positive approach to the problem than just moping and eating. Good on ya'.


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