New and have a question

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Jupiter
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New and have a question

Post by Jupiter » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:45 pm

Hi, I'm Jupiter. I've been skulking around this site for a long time, and I've finally plucked up the courage to ask a question. (Because I've asked this same question on other sites and got blank looks :eek: )

I am 37, female, a mother to two large babies (when they were born, that is) and as a result ruined my abs. I can't squat or deadlift because that separates them, two fingers width on occasion. I also have injuries to my right wrist and left shoulder. As a result all the compound lifts seem out of reach, but my workouts seem to have stalled. I can't make progress on the dumbell and cable exercises I can manage.

My goal is to have slightly less body fat, and slightly more definition. I'm running out of ideas, and was wondering whether anyone could help.

My current programme looks like this:

MONDAY
Cable Chest Press
Lying Dumbell Row
Fly (machine, can't do dumbell)
Cable Lat Pulldown
Lateral Raise
Tricep Kickback

WEDNESDAY
Walking Lunges
Leg Press
Calf Raise
Leg Curl
BOSU Lunges

FRIDAY
Single Cable Lat Pulldown
Incline Chest Press
Horizontal (Inverted) Row
Cuban Press
Single Tricep Pulldown
Exterior Rotation
Bicep Curl

I do 3 sets of 10 reps. I try to put the weights up regularly (weights not listed as they're pathetic), and sometimes I'll do 5 x 5.

I guess my main question is: do I need the big lifts, or can I can away with piddling around with dumbells?


Oscar_Actuary
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Re: New and have a question

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:55 pm

Squatting and Deadlifting separates your abs?

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stuward
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Re: New and have a question

Post by stuward » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:03 pm

You can piddle all you want but you need the big exercises for a couple of reasons.

1. It's more efficcient. You can get a much better stimulus to more of your body in less time. 1 exercise can take the place of 2 or 3.

2. The hormonal reaction. Working more of the large muscles at once stimulates muscle growth all over. (even is current studies say they don't. My mind's made up, don't confuse me with facts.)

3. Natural, functional movement patterns. Squatting and dealifting are movements you will duplicate in day to day living. The next time you bend down to pick up a child, you use the same movement as when you squat or deadlift.

4. The metabolic reaction. Working large muscles require more oxygen so your lungs and heart are stimulated more, increasing your cardio capacity. You don't get this from doing tricep kickbacks.

5. Coordination and balance. Working more complex movements require you to bring it all together in ways the require coordination and balance. We talked about this recently with training seniors.

6. They're more fun.

You don't have to do all the big 6. For example, if you can't do a back squat, maybe you can do a lunge or a split squat. If you can't do a deadlift, maybe you can do a glute bridge. If you can't do bilateral exercises, maybe you can do unilateral exercises like wood chops or turkish get-ups. Use you imagination and add exercises that you have to concentrate while you do them.

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Ironman
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Re: New and have a question

Post by Ironman » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:28 am

That's a shame you didn't do something about your abs earlier. With the right conditioning you can get them to go back to the way they were. Probably not if it's been a few years though. You can try strengthening the transverse abdominal muscles, but it could be that only surgery would fix it at this point.

You can probably get away with what you have if you up the intensity. You're going to have to lift heavy though.

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Re: New and have a question

Post by Jungledoc » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:37 am

What Stuward said!!!

I'm a bit confused about the separation issue. I assume that you have some degree of "diastasis recti" or separation of the rectus abdominis muscles. Have you tried squatting or DLing? Does it really change things? I don't mean do you have a bulge there while you are lifting, but is the separation any worse in the relaxed state after lifting? I doubt it would hurt anything. Did you have your babies by cesarean section? If not, I think you'd be OK to do the lifts. If so, I think you'd be OK to do the lifts.


Jupiter
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Re: New and have a question

Post by Jupiter » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:35 am

Hi everyone, thanks for all the replies.

Oscar_Actuary - yep! :grin:

stuward - yes, I know all that, which is why I currently feel I'm at a dead end. I do try to do alternatives, like lunges because they keep my torso upright so I don't get the problem. And the walking lunges I did today certainly got my heart rate up! Wood chops and Turkish get ups would twist my torso, which makes the problem worse. Perhaps I am just broken and should take up Legs, Bums and Tums classes!!! Without any twisting movements, without any fixed-plane pressing movements (dodgy shoulder), and without any position where I have to rest my weight on my palm - are there any exercises I'm missing?

Ironman - I do core conditioning, but not too much. I think the rest of my core is pretty good. But anything with a twist, or too much gymball work is bad. I'm almost tempted to look at the surgery option, but the cost puts me off. I try to lift heavy, but after a while I feel like I'm going backwards.

Jungledoc - diastasis recti!!! That's it. I can never remember that term. And yes, I have tried squatting and deadlifting - everything I don't do, I don't do for a reason - that reason being, when the separation became 3 finger widths one day, I felt like I had a gaping whole in my stomach. It was the most unpleasant sensation - like someone could reach in and tickle your stomach.

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Re: New and have a question

Post by stuward » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:51 am

briefly reading up on the condition, I saw something called the Tupler Technique, which sound very much like what Ironman was suggesting. Core training can consist of bending and twisting but that's not the most effective training. You need anti-bending and anti-twisting to actually strengthen and stabilize the core. We've covered this type of training before in this forum. I'm on my way to a meeting but I know that others can direct you. This looks like a condition that proper training can actually improve, perhaps not completely correct, but enough to restore functionality.

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Re: New and have a question

Post by Jupiter » Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:47 am

Thanks Stuward. I've done my own research, or at least tried to, but never come up with anything for improving the condition, just an awful lot on preventing it straight after the birth. I'd be grateful if you could tell me more, when it's more convenient.

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Re: New and have a question

Post by Jupiter » Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:53 am

I've just been on the Tupler Technique web site and it says this:
A diastasis recti is the separation of the outermost abdominal muscles. This causes a protruding belly and belly button.

This isn't what my stomach looks like. My stomach is very flat. I get a protrusion when I'm laying down onto a bench with dumbells in my hand, so I only ever incline a bench to make the distance shorter, and I make sure my brace my abs properly. My problem is most noticeable when I lie down flat and tense my stomach, then I can feel the huge ridges of my ab muscles.

Just thought I'd mention this, in case we're talking about different conditions.

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stuward
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Re: New and have a question

Post by stuward » Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:59 pm

The fact that your stomach is flat means that your TVA is relatively strong and that's a good thing.

This is an athelete with the condition and it looks like she gets by OK with it.

Image

Here's an article on anti-rotational training.
http://doctoranthony.wordpress.com/2010 ... -training/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Also this, especially #2:
http://bretcontreras.com/2011/05/rotational-training/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I can't specifically find recomendations for exercises that will correct diastasis recti but just about everyone says to avoid crunches. I would never argue that anyway as I think crunches are useless in general.

In general, squats and deadlifts normally require you to distend your belly with air to brace your spine. That's probaly not a good idea. Bracing for anti rotation requires you to tighten everything, bracing without the distention. I think this is what you need. Pressing and pulling at a cable station, using one side at a time works the same way, while also getting a good upper body workout. You can use resistance bands if you're doing it at home.

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Re: New and have a question

Post by Jupiter » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:24 pm

Thank you so much Stuward - those links look great. I'll check them out in more detail later (too many words for this time of night). And now I also know what search terms to use myself.

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Ironman
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Re: New and have a question

Post by Ironman » Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:17 am

Yep, that's exactly what I was referring to in my post above. It does sound like your TVA is in good shape. I think it could be that you didn't give the ab training enough of a rest after birth. Many women want to really hit the ab exercises after that, but if you notice, doctors will typically advise against that. I wonder if maybe something like this might be helpful for you.....

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009JD9KU" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I have one of those, and it works very well for heavy squats. If you put it on nice and tight, perhaps it will keep your abs in place.

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mark74
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Re: New and have a question

Post by mark74 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:00 am

Ironman wrote:I have one of those, and it works very well for heavy squats.
What's the difference between this and a belt?

Jupiter
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Re: New and have a question

Post by Jupiter » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:03 am

Ironman wrote:Yep, that's exactly what I was referring to in my post above. It does sound like your TVA is in good shape. I think it could be that you didn't give the ab training enough of a rest after birth. Many women want to really hit the ab exercises after that, but if you notice, doctors will typically advise against that. I wonder if maybe something like this might be helpful for you.....

I have one of those, and it works very well for heavy squats. If you put it on nice and tight, perhaps it will keep your abs in place.
I'm ashamed to say I probably did start back at the gym a little bit earlier, by a week or two. If I knew then...

Anyway, I did once consider a belt. I wouldn't wear it at the gym, I'd get laughed out of the place, but maybe for my home workouts. Thanks Ironman.

And thanks to everyone who's commented. As I said in my original post, I've asked about this condition on other forums, but have never had anything like the amount of information I've had here. :salute:

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Re: New and have a question

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:26 am

Lets see if I can continue to add information for you.
Jupiter wrote: I wouldn't wear it at the gym, I'd get laughed out of the place,.
You'll get laughed out of here for caring what they think of you at the gym.

Probably just me not understanding women again.


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