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RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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Posts: 1,379
3/14/13 8:35 A

Nah, I should clarify that -- like when it was this exercise where you're propping yourself up on one arm on your side and then holding your whole body out straight from shoulder to ankles -- staying in that position (or even getting into it) was really difficult. That sort of thing.

Thanks for all the comments. :)

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,451
3/14/13 6:53 A

Strength training IS meant to feel different from cardio.

ST is meant to be done in a slow and controlled manner. If you were sweating and breathless, then chances are you were doing things two

Also, you don't need to do core for 20 minutes. Just hold a plank for 30 seconds (or longer if you feel able). Rest, then repeat. You've just worked most of the major muscles in your core. Demo at


BARBANNA SparkPoints: (108,384)
Fitness Minutes: (85,068)
Posts: 3,415
3/13/13 8:49 P

Practice doing all the exercises using good form with 15 reps. The more you do them the easier they become.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
Fitness Minutes: (15,905)
Posts: 9,717
3/13/13 7:52 P

SP has a great strength training explanatory article here:

Another good one is the "toning versus bulking up" article:

DAWNLOGA Posts: 242
3/13/13 5:59 P

Maybe join a gym for one month. Most have personal trainers that can do a fitness assessment, then work out a program for you. Once you have your program, you can continue it at home without paying for the gym.
I did that at Snap Fitness. Just a thought...good luck!

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
3/13/13 5:52 P

It sticks after you read enough SP posts and articles, trust me!

For strength, we usually say to stick to around 6-8 reps/set. For bigger muscles, 8-12 reps/set. For muscular endurance, 12+. So if your DVD is having you do 40 reps, it's not going to help you build up much strength. This is a good bit of info to know when looking for an appropriate DVD or program. And remember, you can always design your own workout (SP has a workout generator you can use to get started) if you don't want to use a DVD, or if you have access to a gym (or even if you don't, you really don't need a lot of equipment at all).

As long as you're doing the exercise, you ARE using the targeted muscles. Other muscles are supposed to assist. There's nothing wrong with using surrounding muscles to help with an exercise - in fact, that's ideal as it's more real-life functional anyway. However, you do want to make sure you're using correct form, because that will prevent injury. As a beginner, you should be focusing on two main things: getting into a habit with exercise, and staying safe and injury-free. If you have a mirror, try to exercise in front of that. It will really help you to use the right form. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if we're doing what we're watching someone else do if we don't have a mirror.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
3/13/13 3:00 P

I don't know to what extent I was compensating, I just wouldn't be surprised if I was. Like some of the moves that were supposed to work abdominal muscles, I would feel nothing there, but I would feel it in my back. (Granted I have a lot of curve to my lower spine and have always and forever felt crunch type exercises there, so I don't know why it would be different now.)

As for not doing certain things, I am talking almost complete inability. The one I'm particularly thinking of was lying on my back and trying to hold both legs up in the air -- the video was doing 30 seconds of up and down and I could barely even get them off the floor two or three times for a second each.

How do people learn all these things?

RED9698 SparkPoints: (4,088)
Fitness Minutes: (8,054)
Posts: 70
3/13/13 2:45 P

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought you mentioned in your initial post that:
1) You sometimes compensate with other muscles during a workout. If youare doing this, than you really aren't working the muscles intended...which, could cause injury if you're not careful.

2) You skip exercises that are too difficult. If you don't do them, you're not going to get stronger. Try modifying the workout if it is too difficult. If there are exercises that are too difficult, try to find a modification...still strengthening the muscle on your terms and then work up to the 'big girl' workout. I know I struggle with V-Ups....I have to modify after doing 5 of them...but hey...I can do 5 now!

I say to keep trying the ab workout..but take your time and do what YOU can do. If they're asking for 30 second planks, then do what you can, lower to take a break and try again. Your muscles will strengthen, you just have to give them a chance.

If you take the time during the workout to really focus on the area you are working, you will feel it while doing it. As for soreness, you might not feel it right away, but that's ok. Every workout is one more workout to a stronger you!

Good luck! Just trying to help....strength is something I love! Don't give up on it...the benefits are amazing!

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
3/13/13 2:16 P

I want strength first and foremost, but I'm so ignorant I don't really know where to start. Nor do I necessarily have a ton of time for it, since I still want to do a lot of cardio improvement, and would kind of like to add yoga as well -- I aim for 75 min total a day, 6 days a week, but generally fall a bit short.

Thanks for all the comments and information, btw. Sometimes I come off as a bit argumentative, but I don't really mean to be.

DMARTZ1 Posts: 22
3/13/13 1:20 P

I find that when I work a new muscle "group" that it takes 2 days for the soreness to show up! I have a feeling you will feel it tonight into tomorrow:)

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
3/13/13 1:17 P

And to be clear: if you did a program for abdominal muscles, and you completed the exercises themselves, then you did work your abdominal muscles. If you hadn't, the exercises would never have gotten done. You may need a more advanced program, or you may need to add weight, or you may need to slow down the movement. I would consider myself "intermediate" level and I rarely feel anything in my abs after a hard abs workout. Today was my abs day and I don't feel anything. I know I worked out because the exercises got done. And next week I fully expect to be able to do them better than I did this week -- that's how progress is measured. Progress in strength training should NEVER be measured by pain!!!!

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
3/13/13 1:14 P

First, there is nothing advanced in what I posted. A beginner's strength training program should follow those principles that I listed.

Second, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which is sore muscles from working out, usually begins 48 hours after the workout. You shouldn't expect to be sore until tomorrow.

But please don't discount what I posted. Even if you are a beginner, you should still strive to do something that's effective. And yes, that does mean you will have to decide what your goals are (stronger muscles, bigger muscles, or muscular endurance) which will tell you how many reps to do and yes it does mean you will have to choose exercises that work out all the various muscle groups in your body in a balanced way. That should be the case from day one.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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Posts: 1,379
3/13/13 11:33 A

I don't think I'm even at that point yet. I don't really know what the potential exercises even are to any great extent, or which ones I should do, much less working out a program for myself as to how many reps I should do of each. It's just that after 20 minutes yesterday I was questioning whether I had even worked any abdominal muscles at all, or had just been compensating with all the other ones, because my muscles are so weak that pretty much anything should stress them, and yet I was feeling next to nothing, either during or after.

The more the day goes on the more I can tell that a lot of the stuff in that area is in fact fatigued, though, so I expect it will sort itself out.

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
3/13/13 11:01 A

Strength training effectiveness is NOT measured by a burning sensation. It's measured by one's ability to do or not do something. I'll give you an example.

Let's say you're doing squats with a barbell. And let's say I put 50 lbs on your back (including the barbell) and you can do 6 squats. Then I put 60 lbs on (total), and you can do 6 squats. Then I put 70 lbs on, and you can't do any. Then I take off 5, so it's 65, and you can do 2. We adjust it to 62 lbs, and you can do 5 and just barely do the 6th.

We now know that 6 squats at 62 lbs is a HIGHLY EFFECTIVE workout for you.

Choose how many reps you want to do per set. Then choose the weight or exercise (if bodyweight only) that allows you to do exactly that many reps but no more. If you can do more reps, either increase the weight, or find a different exercise to do.

JENSTRESS Posts: 5,403
3/13/13 9:11 A

Maybe you do need a more challenging workout, or maybe you need to really push yourself harder, or maybe your muscles just need to wake up. I highly recommend doing yoga, because it is weight resistance (you body weight) and as challenging as you need to make it. There are some great DVD's out there.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
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3/13/13 8:49 A

I've been gradually getting more interested in building strength as well as cardiovascular endurance, so yesterday I tried 20 minutes of a core exercise routine. It left me sweating, but it didn't seem to do much of anything for or to the muscles in my stomach and lower back. For the most part I felt no effort there at all, and there's not even any soreness this morning, after a night's sleep, just a very, very tiny amount of fatigue if I put myself in a crunch position or something.

I know that my muscles there are very, very weak, to the point where previous notable improvements (from the cardio I do) have included things as trivial as finding it more comfortable to sit upright with good posture for more than 30 seconds at a time. I mean, we're talking really weak. And I also know from previous experience that it can take a session or two of doing something new before really weak/unused muscles even figure out HOW to do what you're asking of them, so to speak. I know I was compensating with other muscle groups on some of the exercises for the ones that were out to lunch; and a couple of the exercises I could not do at all. But I still expected something more than this.

So is this something I can assume will change the next time I try that workout, or the time after that? Should I be looking for something more basic than even the "beginner" workout I found? Any insight to what's going on?

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