When you feel you cannot do another rep, that is the end of the set. Basically, that is the definition of 'fatiguing your muscles". And if you are using a weight that is sufficiently challenging that you reach that point in less than 12 reps, that is actually more effective strength training than using a lighter one to go to 12-15.
The standard advice is to rest for 30 seconds to 5 minutes between sets. But 'supersetting' (ie. switching immediately to another exercise working a different muscle group, before switching back to the first exercise, etc) is a legitimate (and time-effective) training technique.
It is important to rest your muscles 48-72 hours between ST sessions. It is possible to have a split routine that rests each muscle group (upper body, lower body, core) 48-72 hours while strength training each day. But you need to have a pretty good idea of exactly which muscles are being worked with each exercise. As a beginner, you are probably better off with 2-3 all-body sessions each week.
10/5/12 5:40 A
FitFever: I learned to lift weights by bringing a book on the topic to the fitness club gym with me. I felt pretty stupid with my guidebook in hand with directions, but dog-gone-it, the plan worked!
I made workouts from the book which were incredibly effective. I was shocked at what I was able to do with my body in 30 minutes a day after 3, and 6 months.
I still hate weight lifting, but I love the results so much that I have to do it. The book was, "Body for Life" by Bill Phillips. It worked.
Why is your gym not allowed to help? Surely people who injure themselves by using their equipment incorrectly would be unhappy, and I hear that unhappy people in the states sue.
The workout generator would be your next best bet.
10/4/12 11:42 P
Hi BUBBLEJ1, I've taken this all into consideration and I'm using the suggestions. Thank you. Unfortunately the gym isn't allowed to give any workout tips or provide personal trainers, but I am very happy with all the help from the SP community, it is helping a lot. :) Thanks everyone
Edited by: FITFEVER at: 10/4/2012 (23:43)
10/4/12 11:37 P
M@L, thank you so much. I now use your suggestions and I am doing 40 pounds or higher/lower depending on what I can handle. What a difference! I can tell 20 pounds wasn't enough, depending on what I'm doing. I guess I was scared to do too much too soon and cause damage. I'm now doing 4 or more sets of 12-15 reps each machine and must rest for a minute between reps (going until I must stop each set).
If it gets to the point I can't go anymore, should I wait a minute or two and keep going or should I work another muscle group (to not overwork one area)? Also, is it OK to do all weight machines each workout after cardio, or should I stick to one area (upper body), and my next workout session work another area (lower body)? One more question...Should I stretch before and after, or only after?
Edited by: FITFEVER at: 10/4/2012 (23:38)
Fitness Minutes: (1,441)
10/3/12 9:00 A
When you say "10 minutes on various machines" are you just doing 10 minutes or are you doing sets until exhaustion. You should do 8-15 reps per set or so and the weight you choose should make it challenging for the last couple reps only.
Eat more, lift heavier. You probably need to add some muscle. Gain a bit of weight. Yes, that will come with some fat, but once you gain some weight, see some new muscle, then you can cut. You could do a slower recomp where you lift heavier, eat at maintenance, but that will be very,, very slow to see changes.
I agree that you need to focus on strength training to try and change your body comp. Machines are fine, but you probably need to up your weight. 20lb on one machine might be fine, but might be too light on others. I would also urge you to explore the world of free weights, since you can do more with them, and you engage your smaller muscles since they help to keep you stable. Sparkpeople has a workout generator you can use, or make an appointment to see a trainer at the gym to help you set up a program. Make sure you are lifting heavy enough that you can only do 8-12 reps with good form. Once you can do more than 12 you need to increase the weight!
I agree with the suggestion of strength training - at 130 lbs and 5'8, you are really looking to change your body composition, adding muscle and losing some fat, rather than losing weight overall.
As noted in your original post, you can't spot train - instead you should be aiming to work all the major muscle groups.
Effective strength training depends a lot on the context. 20 lbs on something like lateral raises (small muscles holding the weight a long way from the body) might be very effective. A 20 lb shoulder press (larger muscles closer to your center of gravity) probably isn't challenging enough to be effective strength training.
Effective strength training is all about genuinely challenging your muscles. You should be using a weight heavy enough to work your muscles to fatigue in 12 reps or less. (Fatigue is generally taken to mean you feel you cannot do another rep with the correct form). I suspect though that for machines, 20 lbs may not be enough (for one thing, it is unlikely that just one setting will represent enough challenge for several different muscles).
10/2/12 11:35 P
Thanks lots N16351D. I use weight machines on 20 pounds for back, thighs, arms, chest, lat pulls, and abdominal crunches. I mix and use all of these machines up to 10 minutes after cardio. Is this considered strength training? Sorry I'm a newbie to fitness lingo and weight equipment. Pilates and Yoga is definitely something I will look into, always wanted to try it. I will also look threw SP see what will help. I hope you are doing well nowadays. Good luck and keep smiling :)
Edited by: FITFEVER at: 10/2/2012 (23:36)
10/2/12 11:08 P
From your initial email, it appears you have the cardio portion of your workouts in place and going well. I did not see strength training. That plus Pilates and Yoga have done wonders for shaping and toning my body. At age 54, I never looked better, even though I had been jogging, swimming, biking and hiking for 40 years (since 1972). My weight has almost always been within the guidelines for my 5'2" frame, usually around 113 - 120 pounds over the last 40 years.
Then I got very sick and quit most of my exercise for four months this year. Gradually the flab came back onto my hips, belly, and underarms (triceps) though my weight stayed the same. Walking and stretching are not doing for me what strength, Pilates and Yoga did.
I am convinced that as much as I dislike lifting weight, doing 300 sit-ups/core and 30 pushups thrice weekly, I can no longer live without it.
SP has ideas for finding time to fit in strength training in short 15-20 minute workouts. Try it for about six months and see if you don't have a different shape!
10/2/12 10:52 P
" I know you can't spot reduce,"
There's you answer!
Hang in there... as you reduce overall body fat, you will lose there too.
10/2/12 10:36 P
Hi there, since 12 years old I've had noticeable rib cage fat. I was never overweight and always within my BMI. I'm female, 24 years old, 5'8, 130 pounds. I have rib cage fat, some stomach fat and hip fat I'm trying to lose. I know you can't spot reduce, but does anyone have tips?
For a month now I do 20 minutes running/walking on a treadmill, 10-20 minutes on bike/elliptical, and about 10 minutes on several different weight machines. Is this too much/too little and should I focus on a certain area alternate days? The only results I see so far are in my arms and legs which isn't what I'm going for as these areas are fine. Any tips on nutrition?
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