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DAIMIAA SparkPoints: (340)
Fitness Minutes: (864)
Posts: 3
9/25/13 7:43 P

Thanks for the advice, it's helpful. I think I may have been a little unclear by saying repeat mon. I'm actually doing strength 3 times a week mon, wed, and fri. I was wanting to use one of those days to try machines for something a little different. P90 is not the same as P90x btw. It's like a beginner weight lifting program, basically it's a simple guided dumbbell program and I think it's good for beginners or ppl who have never lifted before because it's the same exercises as any workout generator gives you only with someone there telling you, 'one more', and 'don't over extend make sure your working your back not your shoulders on this exercise' things like that which I find helpful.

YOGAGEEK SparkPoints: (6,917)
Fitness Minutes: (13,224)
Posts: 130
9/25/13 5:58 A

To learn push ups, practice push ups. Don't do modified ones on your knees, but incline ones. This is actually probably easier to do at home than at the gym; you can start at the kitchen counter, then move to the table, then a chair, then if you've got stairs you can start two or three stairs up and work your way down. You want to do 3 sets of 8-12 reps, where the last rep is a struggle to complete with good form (but doable). So starting on the countertop, do 3 sets of 8 push ups, 2-3 times a week. When you can do 12 push ups per set, move down to the next level (a desk, table, five stairs up, whatever you've got).

Likewise, you don't need machines for sit-ups. You'll want to do a few different exercises that work the rectus abdominus (your six-pack muscles) to build strength to work your way up to a sit-up. I'd suggest regular crunches and leg raises, as well as the Pilates Roll-Up (
/RollUp.htm\), which is similar to a sit-up, but with a curved spine.

With all that forward flexion, you'll also need to make sure you're doing something like back extensions, swimmers, or or supermans to strengthen your lower back. Bridges are good, too, and they have the added bonus of working the hamstrings and glutes, too. Again, you want to do 3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise.

To round it out, you'll want a "pulling" exercise for your upper body (dumbbell rows, lat pulldowns, etc.) as well as a couple of exercises for your lower body, like squats. These aren't specific to the exercise you're aiming to do, but are part of a well-rounded routine.

I don't know what you're doing with P90, but once a week really isn't enough training for your push ups and sit ups. For fastest results, you want to do it on 3 non-consecutive days but, failing that, a minimum of 2 days a week is necessary.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
9/24/13 9:53 P

Generally speaking, you are probably better off with free and body weight exercises than machines. Machines run in a defined track, and really only work a couple of muscles at a time. With free weights, there is a much larger range of muscles working hard to keep you stabilized and balanced.

One good machine though is the lat pull-down machine, as it is an easier version of pull-ups, which is a great exercise but pretty tough for beginners.


ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (194,329)
Fitness Minutes: (189,550)
Posts: 15,821
9/24/13 9:49 P

Squat rack, bench, barbell, assisted pull up, cable cross, lat pulldown are all the machines you need.

DAIMIAA SparkPoints: (340)
Fitness Minutes: (864)
Posts: 3
9/24/13 6:38 P

No,I don't have access to a trainer or anyone else I'm doing this completely on my own which is why I'm seeking advice. I'm not looking to gain muscle I'm looking to gain strength. There is a difference. I want to be able to do a push up and sit up. That requires upper body strength which I don't have and core strength which I also don't have.

I plan on keeping the hour of cardio it makes me feel physically and mentally good, plus I have no time limits so I'm not looking for a quick workout like tabata in 20 mins. I'm actually working at the top of my range achieving a 60bpm heart rate so intensity doesn't matter to decrease time for me.

Also I didn't ask how many reps or what weight to use I know that already I'm asking what machines I should use at the gym to gain strength such as leg press, assisted pull up machine, that type of thing, sorry if this was unclear. I have the rest of my work out I just want to know what machines would be the best to throw in so I'm not always using dumbbells.

Edited by: DAIMIAA at: 9/24/2013 (18:40)
SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,575
9/24/13 6:29 P


Unless you're training for some kind of endurance event, you really don't need to 1-2 hours of cardio. My suggestion would be to drop your cardio down to 30-45 minutes, and increase the intensity instead. I think that's probably a better use of your time.

As far as strength training goes, as long as you're using a weight that fatigues your muscles in 1-3 sets, 8-12 repetitions per set, you're on the right track. The previous poster has given you a good link to the Workout Generator, since it can give you a workout plan using gym machines. I'd also suggest checking out this article about progressing to pushups:

Hope that helps,

Coach Jen

FIELDWORKING SparkPoints: (29,946)
Fitness Minutes: (64,745)
Posts: 748
9/24/13 5:38 P

You won't be able to gain muscle while losing weight but you can maintain what you have by doing strength/weight training, at least that is my understanding.

At the gym, do you have access to a personal trainer? If so, would it be possible to talk with a trainer about setting up a program?

Here's the link to the Workout Generator (for weight lifting/strength training):

DAIMIAA SparkPoints: (340)
Fitness Minutes: (864)
Posts: 3
9/24/13 3:52 P

I started working out at home in Feb I was 230ish at the time. I've currently weight 190, I'm 5'2" and 35 year old female. I've recently gained access to a gym for free so I plan on using it but I don't have much experience with gym equipment and there is no one at this gym to advise me so I'm wondering what machines I should use. My goal is to be able to do a full sit-up, (plz don't say they are pointless I am a criminal justice major and have to be able to do them for my PT test.); I can barely get my shoulders off the mat now and to be able to do full push-ups I can do about 20 modified now. Up till now my workout schedule has been to jog on a manual treadmill and to do p90 (1 not x) with 5lbs dumbbells which are getting too light for me. I'm thinking of doing the following as I quickly get bored.

Sun- stationary bicycle 1hr-2hr
Mon- p90 with 7.5lbs dumbbells and 1hr treadmill
Tue- off
Wed- strength machines, I need help here not sure which ones, and 1hr treadmill
Thur- off
Fri- repeat (mon)
Sat- elipitical 1hr-2hr

Not having much experience in strength training I'm not sure if this is right. I'd like to lose about 60 more pounds and build some muscle. I'm okay diet wise so I don't need advise there. If anyone could give me advise or suggestions I would greatly appreciate it.

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