DIN's Awesome Exercise Survey

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 10, 2013 6:40 AM GMT
    I had to stop seeing my trainer because of the expense. Now I need to plan my own strength training routine. (I have my cardio routine covered.) I've done it before, and I know now more than I did back then. I'm curious to know what other guys do and how they decide what exercises to do.

    Feel free to answer these questions or write whatever you think will be useful for me and other RJers. Thanks!

    1. How did you come up with your exercise routine? If you came up with it yourself, how did you learn how to do it?

    2. Do you work out alone? Does this effect which exercises you do? I assume that if you work out alone, you can't do exercises that require a spotter.

    3. How often do you change your routine?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 10, 2013 7:28 AM GMT
    1) Started out with a cookie cutter routine I got from a bodybuilding magazine. Then tried some others. Then I stopped focusing so much on routines, and started looking into different types of exercises for each body parts. Then I learned about muscle hypertrophy. Found a different routine that utilized antagonist training. I figured this type of training would be best for maximum muscle hypertrophy. And about 10 years later, still getting great results.

    2) Alone. I never force myself to go beyond my limits. I'm too paranoid about injuries. No belt, or straps, or wraps, or whatever. I prefer to build my strength naturally without any sort of bracing. If I want to push out an extra rep or two, then I'll ask for a spot. No one will say no if you ask.

    3) The exercises and order have not changed for years. I only mix up the techniques. Like if I feel my workouts have gotten stale, I might do pyramid sets instead of the usual straight sets. Or maybe I'll add some extra weight and decrease the reps.

    Suggested reading..
    Starting Strength
    Arnold Schwarzenegger Encyclopedia Of Bodybuilding
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Feb 10, 2013 4:39 PM GMT
    I never worked out a day in my life until I was in my 40s but then mostly what I did was aerobics (high impact and step when it came along). I did lift weights a bit but found it boring. Throughout my 50s I didn't do anything and ended up weighing 250lbs. So, about three years ago I decided to try and get in shape. I began by radically changing my diet (mostly cutting out sugar and most, but not all, dairy and wheat) and walking A LOT.

    A little of over two years ago, then down to 210, I decided to hire a personal trainer and work with him for a while as well as educating myself about weight lifting. Then I joined a gym and began experimenting with different routines and strategies to see what would work best for me. My main concern was doing it 'right' (for me) and wanting to (some of the time) lift as heavy as possible without injuring myself. I work out alone. I always begin by walking briskly to the gym.... about 2.5 miles... carrying a backpack with all my gear. That's my warm up icon_smile.gif

    The way I do this is by using a squat (aka power) rack for a heavy limited range lifts. For example, I'll put a bench in a rack and set up the rails to hold the bar just slightly below my extended reach for a flat bench press. In furthest extended range I can now bench press close to 300lbs. There's no fear of injury because even if I drop the bar it isn't going to fall on me due to the horizontal rails. SO... I do my maximum lifts in this limited range and then take all the weights off and lower the rails one notch. Then I repeat only this time with less weight. Then I repeat the process again until I'm finally at a full range of motion.

    This process works with: Squats, deadlifts (I did a quarter dl of 420lbs on Wednesday but only once; lowered the weight and did 3 sets of 8 at 380 before doing full range of motion at 200... I have to use lifting hooks for the really heavy lifts because my wrists can't hold it), bench press, incline bench press, bicep curls, lying triceps extensions, shrugs, bent over barbell row and seated overhead shoulder press. The only bad thing about this is it is time consuming to set things up for a move and then take the plates off to reposition the rails and bar, putting plates back on again. If nothing else, though, I get a workout just unracking and reracking all those plates, lol!

    I do a similar thing with the cable pulldown, cable row, cable crunch and leg press/calf press... that is, contract or push with the heaviest weight I can in a limited range of motion and THEN lower the weights for multiple sets/reps at a weight I can handle in full range of motion while staying in good form.

    Although I have an overall strategy, I do mix up my routines. I don't always do the 'heavy limited range' thing. If I do a heavy limited range workout with one muscle group lets say on Monday, when I hit that group again, two to four days later, I shoot for high repetitions of a much lighter weight but still to near failure. Sometimes I workout four days a week. Sometimes I'll work the same muscle group twice a day (rare but I do it occasionally). I'd like to do supersets more often but my gym is so crowded it just isn't realistic.

    I almost always finish my workouts with 15 to 20 minutes of cardio using a step. It's sort of a HIIT thing for me. That is, I'll do big moves for two or three minutes and then do double-time step moves to burn out the ATP in my legs and get winded. When I hit that point of failure, I just pace around to catch my breath then go back to the big moves before hitting the double-time interval again. I repeat that three or four times. Finally I end it all by doing balance work and often (but not always, if I'm really wasted I'll take the bus) walk the 2.5 miles back home.

    This all works for me icon_smile.gif I'm seeing gains. I'd gotten down to 177lbs but am now back up to around 190 but with no more or only a little more fat than at 177. I keep records of my lifts so I can see where I'm improving and not and I take body measurements. At my age the growth is slow but it is noticeable. I can see the difference and feel it in my body. I'm concentrating mostly on my upper body and can really see it happening. I'm looking at this as a long-range process, too. At my age I figure it will take me another 3 to 5 years for me to get to my genetic potential.

    Oh, I also take recovery time off three times a year. The week before I take two to four weeks off, I'll totally exhaust myself with double workouts in a day and eat like a horse. During the down-time, I continue to walk and do a lot of flexibility training and some body weight moves but nothing overly taxing. The idea is it is recovery time so when I go back I'm stronger.

    Anyway, that's how I do it. I think everyone has to experiment to find what works for them and keeping accurate records and measurements is the only way to know what works and what doesn't.

    ETA: Oh, and I do two aerobic step classes a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. I always do arm work before the Tuesday class but nothing on Thursdays as it is an 'off' day for me. Usually I break it up something like this: A day: Pecs and shoulders; B day: biceps, triceps, forearms; C day: back; D day: legs. However, due to all my walking and aerobics, I only workout D every third week. So... I'm rotating A, B & C, throughout four days. So a week would look like: Monday A, Tuesday B, Wednesday C, Thursday off, Friday A and B, Saturday and Sunday off, Monday C, Tuesday B, etc. always doing B on Tuesdays and Fridays. But, if I'm doing a D leg workout that week, it is always on a Friday so that changes the cycle. Make sense?
  • RaggedyMan

    Posts: 7185

    Feb 10, 2013 8:49 PM GMT
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/shortcut-to-size.html

    try this, easy workouts
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 10, 2013 9:18 PM GMT
    I think each guy has different needs. I go to the gym irregularly, and when I do, I run, do abs, and a little bit of strength if I still have energy. I'll never be a body builder, but I can stay lean.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 10, 2013 9:25 PM GMT
    i agree that reading starting strength is a great idea. lots of good information there.

    as for your questions, i like the varied programming that you get from crossfit. i used to do the usual two body parts a day with three to six exercises for each rotating through three blocks of two body parts. it got boring. most crossfit gyms put their workouts on the web, or you can check out the main site, and try doing those workouts at your regular gym. you don't need to do them anywhere special.

    i workout in a group most of the time. i find it helps to have people doing the same thing that you can chase. i don't want to put the weight down if someone else is still going. it makes me push myself harder. i find that i don't get as good a workout when i workout solo though i like doing it now and again, especially doing 1RM so i can go at my own pace.

    i do a different workout almost every day with minimal repeats though i'm rotating through about a twenty or twenty five different excises - the combinations are just different.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 10, 2013 9:26 PM GMT
    I have never set foot in a gym in My life.

    MensHealth.com

  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2605

    Feb 10, 2013 9:50 PM GMT
    I never did any formal, consistent exercise until I was fourty six. I hated sports and PE at school(the poor teachers didn`t help). But I think I was lucky in two ways: I inherited my father`s athleticism(a training sergeant in the Royal Air Force); and we didn`t have a car when I was young, so my childhood was full of walking, running, and cycling, etc. It all kept me active and minimally fit through playing!

    I began to take regular exercise initially for a job application(police officer) but combined that with weight loss as following an operation in 2000 I steadily put weight on despite attempts to diet, etc. I went from about thirteen stone to fifteen and a half (and rising). I now vary between thirteen and a half and fourteen stone; heavier than before due to having developed more muscle.

    I went to the public library and took out a number of books on the subject, though the two that stand out were one by a British special forces commando in the SAS, and one by the fitness coach for the South African athletics team for the 2004 Athens Olympics. The latter gave general and specific information and advice on fitness, diet, etc. Since coming online in 2007, Realjock has been a treasury of information and advice.

    I started very gently because of my age and inexperience, always under doing things. I built up with time; giving myself warms ups, cool downs, stretches; and plenty of rest between work outs. My weight training started with a few very basic exercises, bicep curls, squats, and sit ups.

    I work out mostly alone rather than go to a gym, so the weight training is limited in that respect. I tend to use particular exercises for different areas of the body. I use the body`s weight as a training tool as much as equipment itself.I don`t change my routine so much as evolve it: adding new exercises and shedding old ones as I go.

    My experience of becoming fitter is one of learning general principles and then finding the things that work for me, usually through trial and error.

    My big discovery was the way exercise affects my mind and feelings: more confident, relaxed, open, stabler moods, etc. I find when I`m exhausted I just don`t have the energy to worry!

    My future plans are to do more activities that require fitness rather than fitness per se.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 10, 2013 9:58 PM GMT
    Cash saidI have never set foot in a gym in My life.




    You got feathers bro. Cool!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 12, 2013 1:28 AM GMT
    Thanks guys! I have a lot of reading to do!
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Feb 12, 2013 2:37 AM GMT
    I workout at home and make up my routines by cherry picking the exercises I like to do, while covering all my bases. I change things up frequently. I've been doing a lot of pushups lately, which are giving me great results, but I also use free weights and do a lot of lower body stuff as well. Other staples are dead lifts, squats, side lunges. The thing I miss most about the gym is having a chin up bar. It's so basic, but I feel it gets me in great shape.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 12, 2013 4:25 PM GMT
    1. How did you come up with your exercise routine? If you came up with it yourself, how did you learn how to do it?

    I just paid attention at the gym, noticing all of the different exercises. I would try them all out, noting what portion of muscles it was working out, ie. upperchest, glutes, delts. That has given me multiple exercises per body part. I don't a set routine, what I do is just make sure I target a muscle group from all angles.


    2. Do you work out alone? Does this effect which exercises you do? I assume that if you work out alone, you can't do exercises that require a spotter.

    Technically I work out alone but I am never without a spotter. That is one of the perks of being friendly with guys at the gym. If you don't have a spotter, then dumbbells are the way to go. And acutally there are enough things to do that you may never need a spotter.


    3. How often do you change your routine?

    The only routine have is legs and ass... and I change it every 6 months or when I feel the ass start to fall.. which ever comes first.


    ps. if you have ever worked with a trainer, you have the base knowledge and the rest is just common sense.. don't be afraid to use it. icon_biggrin.gif

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 13, 2013 5:49 AM GMT
    dudewithabeard saidps. if you have ever worked with a trainer, you have the base knowledge and the rest is just common sense.. don't be afraid to use it. icon_biggrin.gif

    I worked with a trainer for more than a year, but I didn't feel like I learned a lot. I just followed instruction. In retrospect, I would have liked him to explain why he was having me do those exercises.

    In the past, I've been known to over-train or train improperly. I don't see results when I do that. I know more now, so hopefully I will avoid those pitfalls.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 13, 2013 6:09 AM GMT
    I think the problem that most guys face is that they do the exercises without really knowing what they're supposed to be exercising. They go through the motions and move the weights around, but don't properly stimulate the muscles. So I think it helps to study some basic kinesiology so that you understand how the body moves.