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ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (194,152)
Fitness Minutes: (189,306)
Posts: 15,816
3/11/14 10:31 P

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2 general form rules that apply to every single exercise:

do not round your back
chest out, shoulders back, abs tight

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
3/11/14 9:37 P

The "rules" are really pretty simple.

Rest your muscles 48 hours between ST sessions. While a split routine every day is technically possible, a full body workout every 2 days is the simpler and safer way to do it.

Do each rep in a slow and controlled manner. The idea is to make it as challenging as possible, not to bash out as many reps as you can.

There is no one "weight" to use. It is going to vary according to which muscles you are using - the thighs are the largest and strongest muscles in the body and you can likely leg press significantly more than 100 lbs, but for lateral raises (small muscles holding the weights away from your center of gravity) you may only be able to manage a handful of pounds. The key guide is to use a weight heavy enough to fatigue your muscles in 12 reps or less. (Fatigue means you feel you cannot do another rep with the correct form). Start small with the weights, and if you can do more than 12 reps, then go up one weight increment in your next ST session. Keep going up one weight increment per session until it is challenging enough that you can't complete 12 reps.

After a set of reps, rest for between 30 seconds and 5 minutes, then do another set (the shorter the break, the more likely it is that you will only be able to reach a smaller number of reps before reaching the point of fatigue). During this recovery time, some people do a set with a completely different muscle group before going back to do another set of the first exercise - this is known as 'supersetting' and is a time-efficient way to complete your workout.

There are competing theories on the number of sets, and I don't think any of them are necessarily wrong. But 2-3 sets is generally reckoned to be a pretty effective workout. More sets than that may give you slightly more benefits, but this is not necessarily an effective use of your time.


MISSSVJS SparkPoints: (40,972)
Fitness Minutes: (52,490)
Posts: 1,414
3/11/14 5:21 P

Is there another gym member who regularly uses this equipment? If so, maybe you could ask him or her to show you how to use it? That being said, the gym should have people there that are trained to use and show members how to use the equipment.

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (194,152)
Fitness Minutes: (189,306)
Posts: 15,816
3/11/14 4:24 P

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SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,555
3/11/14 4:19 P

Hi Janey

Most gyms offer a free equipment orientation (or at least they should) if you ask for one. If not, you might want to check out SparkPeople's Workout Generator which can give you a strength routine using gym equipment that you can follow. Here's a link:

Hope that gives you a start!

Coach Jen

SAWEEMS Posts: 4
3/11/14 12:50 P

I would look at the classes they offer at the gym. Most group fitness programs should offer some weightlifting classes, then you get introduced to it in a small group setting and once you feel comfortable with it you can take it out into the weight room.

CATHM26 Posts: 568
3/11/14 12:43 P


If you don't trust the "trainers" at your gym - I would maybe find a friend who is knowledgable to go with you one day and set you up with a little routine, or even another Spark member who is in your area. Usually, you can get a free pass for a friend for a day, or just pay a one time fee for them. Another idea, would be to look for a personal trainer on Craig's List or Kijiji, who you could pay a small fee to come with you one day and show you what to do.

Sometimes, all it takes is one time and a walk through of everything to really make you feel more comfortable.


JANEY102482 Posts: 393
3/11/14 12:14 P

I have a gym membership but all I really do there is run. I'd really like to start strength training (machines and free weights) but I have NO idea what I'm doing. I'm so confused by the rules, how many pounds to use and when, what to eat, how often to lift, what to lift, etc... I've tried to learn from online articles (ex. Jamie Eason's) but it's like they're speaking a different language. Unfortunately, the "personal trainers" at my gym are only glorified salespeople whom I really don't believe know too much, and I can't switch gyms because I've got a 2-year contract.

I'm sure many people have been in the same situation before - can any of you help point me in the right direction?

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