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EDGYDOM Posts: 36
5/20/09 8:01 A

I tried building muscle before and got tired lifting just 20 pounds.

I have the muscle mass of a Muppet.....

THORNBIRD1 SparkPoints: (84,395)
Fitness Minutes: (77,683)
Posts: 4,395
5/16/09 12:51 P

I like the resistance band suggestion or buy small weights to get you started. Increase the weight as you get used to it. You can do that anytime say when you're talking on the phone, watching TV or if you work in an office at your desk for a few reps. That will help you ease into a more intense strength training regimen for you.

SPEEDYDOG Posts: 2,564
5/16/09 2:58 A

The upper body consists of a complex set of muscle groups. To build strength you have to subject each of these muscle groups with resistance training. These groups are:

Arms (Biceps, Triceps and Forearms)
Shoulders (Anterior, Posterior and Middle Deltoids)
Back (Latissimus Dorsi, Trapezius, Teres minor/major and Rhomboidues)
Chest (Pectoralis clavicular part, Pectoralis sternocostal part, and Pectoralis abdominal part)

Pushups work the following muscle groups:
(1) Anterior Deltoid (front shoulder),
(2) Triceps (back of upper arm), and
(3) Pectoralis major sternocostal part. (Middle part of the "pecks")

Pushup are a good exercise.

A front dumbbell raises works all parts of the deltoids (shoulders) and the Pectoralis clavicular part (upper chest).

Bent-over lateral dumbbell raises work the Trapezius, Teres minor/major and the posterior and middle Deltoids. (Upper back and shoulders)

Pull-ups work the Latissimus dorsi (middle back) and the bicep (front of upper arm).

Dumbbell curls work the forearms and the biceps.

So a good upper body routing using only body weight exercises and dumbbells is as follows:

(1) Pushups
(2) Front Dumbbell Raises
(3) Bent-over Lateral Dumbbell Raises
(4) Pull-ups (Assisted)
(5) Dumbbell Curls

Each of these 5 upper body exercises hit multiple muscle groups. You get a lot of bang for your efforts.

Three sets of 10 to 15 reps is a pretty good routine. Do these exercises slowly. Never jerk the weights or rapidly fling the weights around.

Thanks, Bruce



JT1308 Posts: 58
5/15/09 8:19 P

This is a great thread! I was just browsing it and I got all sorts of good ideas! Thanks to all!

DLCJ21 Posts: 1,713
5/15/09 7:13 P

Thanks for your last line about muscle burning calories. I seem to have forgot that somewhere in the last few months :)

LIFTING4JC Posts: 36
5/14/09 4:25 P

I'm a little jaded towards strength training because of my passion for lifting. There's been some excellent advise given so far and I just wanted to throw in my two pennies.

If you want to build up some upper body strength, you just have to get to the gym and lift. I'm not talking about lifting with bodybuilder intensity or training with the weights powerlifters (such as myself) train with, it's just a matter of getting beneath the barbell or picking up the dumbells and lifting.

As stated earlier in the posts, a rep range of 10-15 is a good general training range. The mistake I see most people make is that they pick up the weights and lift as long as it's comfortable. That doesn't work. If you're not stressing your body, your body doesn't find the need to increase muscle mass. I'm not talking about lifting to the point of injury, but not stopping simply because it starts to get hard.

This is when strength will come.

In regards to losing fat... it's important to remember that muscle burns calories. The more muscle you have, the more calories that get burned.

Good luck.

DLCJ21 Posts: 1,713
5/12/09 4:29 P

As the others before start small. Find out what your limits are. Start with low weight and do 12-15 reps. If they are easy, then up the weight until it gets hard. Try 3 sets. I've found my 3rd set is usually the most challenging when I lift. If you're getting through all 3 sets without having any fatigue, then you should probably up the weight. I mean you can fatigue your muscles with any amount of weight if you do enough reps :) The main thing I've picked up is to build strength and muscle mass, you lift heavier weight, with 6-8 reps. To tone, you lift lower weight with 12-15 reps.

When you fatigue your muscles, tiny tears happen and as your muscles rebuild, you gain strength.

Also you may lack the strength to lift your own body weight. I know for myself, I haven't been able to do a pull up ever. I've always lacked the upper body strength to do so. I've been doing assisted pull ups and I'm gradually decreasing the amount of weight I have assisted and its getting easier. Eventually I'll be able to do a pull up without the assistance at all which will be great.

Also I'd like to point out is that when you strength train, use the proper form and go slow. Pumping out 10-15 reps as fast as you can begins bringing in laws of physics (for some reason I'm having a hard time remembering the word, so I hope that makes sense) instead of having your muscles do all the work when you go slow.

One other thing before I shut up, if you have a lot of weight to lose, you might want to spend your time doing cardio to lose the fat, and using strength training to rebuild the muscle mass you lose from cardio.

STRAPPED_182 Posts: 213
5/12/09 2:22 P

start simple with push ups or pull ups. body weight kind of stuff. do your age, your kids age, a million. who cares just do it. set a goal a work towards it. I am in the same boat. I used to be able to do 100 push ups. When I started a month ago on sparkpeople I could barely do 10. Now I can do my age (26). And I try to be consistent with a routine, but like you I prefer the cardio. it'll happen. just keep pushing pulling or doing whatever it is your doing. just keep doing.

OHP1982 SparkPoints: (2,440)
Fitness Minutes: (818)
Posts: 248
5/12/09 10:21 A

I agree with Hats, he gave you some good advice. Another thing you can try is using resistance bands. The bands are great for gaining strength and increasing your endurance. The main thing to remember is that it will not be easy and it will not happen overnight. Keep moving forward and you will reach your goals.

INDARYS Posts: 1,533
5/4/09 7:24 P

Im not sure what you mean by early victories. I mean I do, but Im not sure what you would consider a victory in that realm.

My main tips though would be start small, do 15 reps, if you can do all 15 with no problems, grab a bigger size. Do 3 sets a day that you strength train UNTIL you find that weight where you start getting muscle weakness, and it becomes harder to do more then 9. Once then, youve found your weight you should be using and then start your program from there. Dont worry if other people out lift you, I get outlifted by a friend of mine all the time. You cant let stuff like that bother you. Also make small goals for things, like doing a non assisted dip, and a push up, or pull up, and then make other goals to do more.

And maintaining muscle mass is different then building muscle, you can do one and not the other if you want, unless your trying to build on purpose. Im not sure what else to really say.

DRB166 Posts: 8
5/4/09 4:53 P

I have a severe lack of upper body strength. I've just started to really commit to this program (counting and logging calories - drinking water - 30gr of fiber per day). I'm fine with cardio but I haven't been able to start strength training.

I get discouraged quickly. I'm going to be using body weight exercises and dumbbells. I was just wondering if anyone had any tips for building up some early victories in the upper body strength area. My main goal is to lose weight and live an energized, healthy lifestyle. I know that having total body strength is a key component in this. I just can't get started

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