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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:18 am 
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I recently found the excellent set of exercise descriptions here by Google and then the forums. I appreciate any tips on best parts of the forums, site, etc. I had a pretty simplistic understanding of exercises and muscles until recently. Now am interested in learning the subtleties of how different variations of a motion affect various muscles.

Was athletic as a youngster (wrestling, gymnastics...but mediocre). Have been very fat as I aged (now 43). Much less active. And some joint injuries/surgeries (right arm dislocation, need to get redone labrum deficient; left pattela debridement).

Was 230, but just lost 60 pounds in 5 months on Nutrisystem. At 170, was tested at 12% bf. Am headed down a bit lower.

I am maybe an intermediate level type of lifter. Have lifted on/off (sometimes dedicated for a couple months, off for months also) for 4 years or so.

However, last 6 months have LITERALLY not missed a workout. Went up 30-40% all muscle groups (except calves). Pretty much ran the exact same program. (Did not monkey with changing routine every 4-8 weeks, but still got gains.) And I only increase weights every 2 weeks, for safety.

As I near completion of weight loss, am getting interested in more complicated exercises. (Today was second day using Smith machine!) Typically use machines or dumbells for safety/time efficiency.

My schedule is upperbody lift/bike cardio alternated with lowerbody lift/swim cardio. Do 6 days of workouts (alternating as above) with 7th a rest.

Lately as I get lighter and meaner have done some biking on "rest day" and even swim day, since I am getting addicted to outdoor cycling.

Program a combination of major muscle groups and some remnant PT activities from surgeries (especially for shoulder). 2 sets of 10, with alternation of push-pull sets to keep heart rate up and be time efficient (curl/dip/curl/dip). I do a non-ballistic lift, but not abnormally slow. I do hold for a one count at point of max effort in each rep.

I do very limited stretching (few months ago was working on splits and strained knee...leaving it alone and it is tightening up.) Think I need some eventually, but need to be safer...as I'm naturally flexible, but starting to feel musclebound for first time in my life.

Here is current program:

SA-M-W

Cardio: Bike: 50 mins. Swim: 1100 yards.

Strength: Legs
Smith squats, feet forward: 60# (plus bar, how much is it btw?)
single straight-leg, L lifts BW (alt L/R) 10 sec betw sets
30 sec hold on toes, standing other foot. (alt L/R) 45# (3 sets)
donkey kick machine (alt L/R) 130# (modified to glute isolate)
single leg calf raises (alt L/R) BW plus 45#
groin adduction 175#
groin abduction 130#
leg extension 80#
hamstring curl, seated 100#
swiss ball, on back, leg extensions x20 (one set)
speedladder (4 types, 2 sets each)

Stretching (3 sets each, 30 sec count):
* calf 45 deg stretch/shin squat

SU-TU-TH

Cardio: bike: 40 mins plus 15 mins.

Strength: "Arms"
bench 125#
seated curls, (not preacher) 70/65#
seated dip motion 145/140#
seated rows 100#
straight arm, v-shaped arm raises 12.5#
crunches x40
rot cuff, bent arm abduction (alt L/R sides) 25#
prone shoulder stabilization flies 6/5#
V-shaped straight arm (90 to overhead) raises red band

Stretching (3 sets each, 30 sec count):
* calf 45 deg stretch/shin squat


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:18 am 
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The most important thing that comes to mind is CONGRATULATIONS on both the consistency and on the weight loss. You are doing and accomplishing things that 99% of people wish half-heartedly to do, but don't have the fortitude to actually do. You are doing very, very well. Keep it up.

There are a few things that I think might make your workouts more effective. The first and foremost is getting away from machines. If you've only been on the Smith a couple of times, this is a great time to quit using it. The Smith, like all machines, defines the "bar path" or the exact pattern of movement for you, and stabilize the weight. You have muscles that need to be doing this work, but are deprived of that benefit by using machines. Free weights are not inherently dangerous, and are much more effective, as well as a heck of a lot more fun.

The second thing that would improve what you are doing is to move to more compound movements, and fewer isolation movements. If one exercise will work out 4 or 5 major muscle groups, it's a lot better for you than a lift that works only one group. We don't all agree what the best role is for isolation lifts, but I don't think you'll find any regular participants on this forum who do not believe that the compounds should be the heart of your program.

Discussion of compound movements leads directly to the subject of the two lifts that many lifters are afraid of: squat and deadlift. Many people feel that these lifts are dangerous, and in some ways they have risks that other lifts don't, with a little bit of learning, and approaching them carefully and slowly, they can be very safe. I've never heard of anyone dying from squatting or from deadlifting, but there are about 12 deaths each year from bench press, which few people are afraid of. Those two lifts give you more bang for your buck, more benefit per minute of time invested than any other exercises.

I'd suggest that you find a published program written by an exercise professional to use for a while. You say that you are an intermediate lifter, but I'll bet that in terms of your ability to progress, you'd still get a lot out of a novice routine. Strong Lifts, Starting Strength, are just 2 programs that come to mind. There is a sticky at the beginning of this section that lists several good programs.

And finally, is the matter of diet. You said you have been using Nutrisystems, which I understand to be a low-fat eating plan that provides you with pre-packaged meals. In the long run, you would be well served to decrease the amount of carbohydrate from sources other than fruits and vegetables, and increase both protein and fat. There are several discussions of this in the stickies of the Diet and Nutrition section of this forum.

I will have DOMS in my typing muscles tonight!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:36 am 
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Thanks for kind remarks!

I am definitely starting to move in the directions you discussed. That's why I'm here. I want to move to more compound and more "funny" (to me) exercises.

Will continue in those directions, while watching my body and just avoiding issues with bad joints. I am finding I can tolerate more if I take it slow (and I don't mean I don't train to failure...just watch things that trouble the shoulder or knee.)

Bench is the one that scares me the most, safety-wise. And I don't want to bother asking or waiting for spots. I use one of those machines you sit in.

I have to watch out for golfer's elbow. Had some of that years ago. Sticking to neutral grip lifts with dumbells or machines (even bench), seems to help this.

What's your general opinion on dumbells? I just love them, with the less stress on my wrists, can do neutral grip, safety, isolateral, etc.

Not ready to do free squats given my Lavar Arrington knee. Smith allows me to have feet well forward instead of under center of gravity (I would do a leg press the same style.) Was scared just to do Smith...but been working out so long, getting lighter. Was good so far.

Deadlifts intrigue me, except I think I want to do them stiff-legged so that the knee is not involved. Could even dump the squat and try those.

I add some extra protein to the NS diet and limit the carbs (there are still some in the entrees though). Been using tuna and eggwhites combined with lots of veggies. Tried some protein powder, but it was nasty. I like to combine protein with veggies for volume. I do 1.5cups eggwhites (with a whole pan of veggies layers deep) daily. Huge salads, etc. Has kept me full and 100% compliant with no hunger pangs at all. I on program add 2 extra proteins to the diet and 4 extra veggies (they have addins, but I do even more than the addins.) I am still running 1500 calories daily deficit (3#/week, have been for the entire weight loss time...), but once I get to "goal", I will have to add those calories back (or reduce the cardio to less duration and add only some of the calories back).


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:41 am 
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What is a good body fat percentage for being at? When I was in college had a natural sub-10% with ripped stomach. Kinda intrigued to get back there. But then my Y instructor worries that I should stop at 13% or so and spend about a year trying to build muscle (staying at same weight, gradually changning the balance.) He thinks below 10%, I will have a hard time producing test, especially as I am older now.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:43 am 
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Oh...and I could definitely get a lot out of a novice program. Every thing you learn makes you happy from new knowledge and tricks.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:25 am 
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TCO wrote:
What is a good body fat percentage for being at? When I was in college had a natural sub-10% with ripped stomach. Kinda intrigued to get back there. But then my Y instructor worries that I should stop at 13% or so and spend about a year trying to build muscle (staying at same weight, gradually changning the balance.) He thinks below 10%, I will have a hard time producing test, especially as I am older now.


I think the guy at the Y, while having good intentions, is going to hurt your progress.

Most methods of measuring BF are inaccurate, so the difference between 10% and 13%, outside of to a competitive bodybuilder, is negligible and pointless to worry about. You will look great at both assuming you have some muscle mass.

You should get to a level of BF you are comfortable with. Don't bother getting the number tested, who cares what it is. Don't shoot for a specific number, shoot for a look in the mirror that you are comfortable with and then maintain that weight. The most important part is your self image at this point.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:55 am 
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You have to set a priority, either building muscle or getting ripped. It's very hard to lose that last few pounds of fat without losing muscle. Going low-carb will help as a moderate protein, moderate saturated fat diet, will support muscle growth better than a traditional high carb diet and will also discourage fat accumulation. There is a discussion going on about the Anabolic Diet elsewhere in this forum.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:56 pm 
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stuward wrote:
You have to set a priority, either building muscle or getting ripped. It's very hard to lose that last few pounds of fat without losing muscle. Going low-carb will help as a moderate protein, moderate saturated fat diet, will support muscle growth better than a traditional high carb diet and will also discourage fat accumulation. There is a discussion going on about the Anabolic Diet elsewhere in this forum.


So at what bf% are you starting to make that tradeoff?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:57 pm 
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nygmen wrote:
TCO wrote:
What is a good body fat percentage for being at? When I was in college had a natural sub-10% with ripped stomach. Kinda intrigued to get back there. But then my Y instructor worries that I should stop at 13% or so and spend about a year trying to build muscle (staying at same weight, gradually changning the balance.) He thinks below 10%, I will have a hard time producing test, especially as I am older now.


I think the guy at the Y, while having good intentions, is going to hurt your progress.

Most methods of measuring BF are inaccurate, so the difference between 10% and 13%, outside of to a competitive bodybuilder, is negligible and pointless to worry about. You will look great at both assuming you have some muscle mass.

You should get to a level of BF you are comfortable with. Don't bother getting the number tested, who cares what it is. Don't shoot for a specific number, shoot for a look in the mirror that you are comfortable with and then maintain that weight. The most important part is your self image at this point.


Very cool answer on a lot of different levels.


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