I am not a personal trainer nor fitness trainer. However, I have been lifting weights for five years starting consistently at age 50. One of your questions was in regard to lifting free weights. I found answers to questions like that from Bill Phillip's book, "Body for Life." I didn't know anything about lifting weights, so I read his book, then took it to the gym at the fitness club and read it while in the weight room. I read the book, copied the examples, filled out the forms for me to find my weights and what to do, then repeated for the next exercise.
It worked. I felt like an idiot since I am a petite female and was reading in the weight room! I mimicked the photographs while others around me were lifting weights knowing what they were doing. I had expert advice complete with recommendations as to how to find how much free weight to lift, all for the cost of a book. Granted, it took some guts not to concern myself with what others thought.
I have been lifting weights consistently 2-3 times weekly for five years. Sometimes I use resistance bands or my own body weight for resistance, but at least in the weight room I know what to do since I read a great book on the topic and took it with me!
P.S. I already pay $800 a year for unlimited use of the fitness club and pool with annual and repeated membership. That was in place 23 years ago. Up until age 50, I had used everything in the gym except the weight room and the men's locker room!
Fitness Minutes: (7,443)
209 10/18/12 3:31 P
Thanks!!! I LOVE SPARKPEOPLE, where would I be without it? Lost...
Lots of us here who are personal trainers so ask us. Zorbs, Archimedes, Unident are to name a few. Check the Spark teams F.I.T. Females in Training for a support group of knowledgeable women doing strength training with free weights and Resistance Band and bodyweight training for information on those two forms of training.
Fitness Minutes: (68,349)
10/17/12 9:58 P
Nothing wrong with working out at home, that's how I do it and it works for me. As far as not knowing what to do, this site has very good instructions and plans for people. I actually started with many of theirs. I started with probably 6-8 good core, upper and lower exercises with what equipment I had. As I got better and needed more, I added equipment and exercises and moved some of my more basic ones to harder ones. EVOLVE
Fitness Minutes: (7,443)
209 10/17/12 9:43 P
I apparently need a personal trainer! Free weights are very intimidating to me! I guess I would use them at home if I had them but I would feel weird using them at the gym simply because I don't know what the hell I'm doing! It's the same when I first started going to the gym, I was a little intimidated by the machines but I overcame it. But I never see women (at my gym) using the free weights, it's always men and men intimidate me..lol! Maybe I should just stick to body weight exercises at home since it seems there are a lot of machines I'm using that are not doing me any good. HELP, I thought I knew what I was doing and now I'm so confused!!!! By the way, I live in a very small town so I don't have access to personal trainers, not that I could afford it anyways!!!! Ok, that is all...someone please advise!!!
Fitness Minutes: (68,349)
10/17/12 7:00 P
Not much to add here, all good info. I'll just add that I lost 40lbs in 35 weeks and rarely got sore. I increased enough to make it challenging, but not so much I over strained my muscles.
I agree with Unident - soreness is normally a sign that your muscles are doing something new and unfamiliar, rather than of effective training.
The best indicator of effective strength training is that you are fatiguing your muscles ie. you feel you cannot do another rep with the correct form.
The fact that you can do 12 reps of all those exercises make me think that you are not lifting heavy enough. Once you get to 12 reps, you should move up to a heavier weight. Using a weight where you can only do 6 or 8 reps before fatigue, is actually more effective strength training than one where you can do 12, as you are genuinely challenging your muscles.
You have gotten good answers so I will not repeat them, however I would like you to lose the injury producing "do not do" exercises you currently have in your workout.
They are: Leg Extension Machine 45 lbs Back Extension 100 lbs Seated Leg Curls 70 lbs Ab Crunch Machine 80 lbs
The following exercise is of limited value due to it only engaging small muscle groups:
Bicep Curls 40 lbs
You need to increase the weight for these to reduce the number of repetitions and perhaps change them to a similar exercise. Here are my recommendations
Shoulder Press 20 lbs Try to do a two handed standing press instead Chest Press 40 lbs change to bench press to engage more muscles Machine Seated Rows 45 lbs standing rows use more muscles Machine Leg Press 90 lbs squats engage more muscles Lat Pull Down Machine 70 lbs Do this to the front of your body not behind the neck, the latter is a do not do exercise
I have my clients do full body and compound movement exercises only and prefer then do them with free weights to increase the effectiveness of their workouts. This not intended to be an attempt to find you at fault, simply the thoughts and recommendations of a personal trainer.
There's a big old myth out there that this soreness means you "worked hard enough". It's absolutely false.
The soreness mostly comes from doing something new (or overdoing something). You have used the machines for a while, and these bodyweight exercises are a new way to work your body that you're not used to. That's why they make you sore and your regular routine doesn't.
Soon enough, even those won't make you sore any more.
Soreness is NOT required. It is NOT a flag that you've done enough.
Fitness Minutes: (61,537)
10/17/12 1:22 P
When you are doing body weight exercises, inevitably you work against fractions of your body weight, which is pretty large for most people. In contrast, with the machines you get to choose the weight, which can be too small to challenge your muscles.
The general rule of the thumb is to go to failure (fatigue that makes impossible another rep) in 3 sets of 8 reps. So you should adjust the weight so that you go to failure at the end of 3rd set, 8th rep (it is fine if you fail in any rep in the third set). Then you will be sore next day in most muscles.
Fitness Minutes: (7,443)
209 10/17/12 1:06 P
I have a question about using weight machines vs. doing body weight exercises...When I go to my gym, I usually do all the weight machines in one day, legs, abs, back and arms. There are a total of 12 machines (I believe), that I use. I usually do 3 sets of 12 reps on each one. I use enough weight that it's burning pretty good by the end of the reps. It takes me about 45 minutes to get through all of them. For the past few weeks, I've been doing videos on www.bodyrock.tv. My body was VERY VERY sore after doing these videos even though they are only about 12 minutes long. So I guess my question is, why am I not sore the next day after doing the weight machines as I am doing those videos? Do I need to step up my weight on the machines, do more reps, do more sets...am I not pushing myself hard enough? After using the weight machines, my body is a little sore and very very tired but I'm never sore by the next day like I am doing the videos. Here are some of the weights I do use on the machines to give you a clearer idea...
Leg Extension Machine 45 lbs Lat Pull Down Machine 70 lbs Back Extension 100 lbs Shoulder Press 20 lbs Bicep Curls 40 lbs Chest Press 40 lbs Machine Seated Rows 45 lbs Machine Leg Press 90 lbs Seated Leg Curls 70 lbs Ab Crunch Machine 80 lbs
Well that's not all of them but you get the jist...I am not absolutely sure if all those weights are correct since I'm not at the gym right now but it's close anyways. Thanks in advance to any advice!
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