Full body workout routine or targeted muscle groups

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    Jan 22, 2009 3:02 AM GMT
    There is so much information out there to read it's hard to decide or experiment with a proper workout to build up some mass. I would love to know from anyone here, as a slim guy at 40 (ectomorph), what results you may have seen for similar guys with my build.

    I'm 5'9" 160 lbs. Older, but highly energetic. I "look" skinny... and that 160 lbs has about 15% fat on it. I have been working out 4 times a week for around 45 minutes. I also do cardio in a natural way as I love to walk, or hike or just get on my bike and cruise wherever I go most days out of the week. I also have long arms and legs proportional to my height, on average.

    I eat well. I eat about 5-6 times a day, around 3200 calories. I like that it's a good habit. I'm thinking I might need to up that a bit to gain mass. I have higher metabolism, loosing weight is not an issue - this amount is obviously maintenance level as my weight rarely varies more than 1 or 2 lb. in the past several years.

    My general goals include some body sculpting for the sake of appearance, but mostly quality of life, health and strength, to carry me well into the future. I don't want to be a skinny ass with frail bones LOL, although I don't believe I will be decrepit, and I'm not looking to be a body builder.

    Anyway, if anyone has seen similar people (or you) achieve better results, I'd like to know a workout routine that has worked for them (or you). Currently I alternate upper body and lower body 4 days a week. I am very open to changes.

    I'll be happy to provide more info if this was not descriptive enough.

    Thanks in advance.


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    Jan 22, 2009 3:16 AM GMT
    What's your workout current routine? Break it down by days, the types of exercises you do on those days, and number of reps/sets.
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    Jan 22, 2009 4:06 AM GMT
    Alternating days. Splits. Give a little room to maneuver here :-) I'm ignorant.

    Workout 1
    Pecs, Delts, Triceps

    Bench Press - 2 warm-up sets & 2x12

    Military Press - 2 warm-up sets & 2x12

    Bench Dips - 2 sets to failure

    Crunches - 2 sets to failure

    Workout 2
    Glutes, Quads, Hams, Calves

    Leg Presses- 2 warm-up sets & 2x12

    Leg Curl - 2 warm-up sets & 2x12

    Standing Calf Raises- 2 warm-up sets & 2x12

    Workout 3
    Lats, Traps, Biceps, Forearms

    Lat-Bar Pulldowns - 2 warm-up sets & 2x12

    Upright Rows - 2 warm-up sets & 2x12

    Barbell Biceps Curls - 2 warm-up sets & 2x8

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 22, 2009 4:56 AM GMT
    Couple things:

    1) Dichotomies

    There's been a lot of "either / or" in the fitness topics lately. Did I miss the memo on the world becoming more black and white? Not to pick on you at all justinonorino, but I'm always perplexed by people setting up these false dichotomies, like: Fat or sugar? Full body or targeted? Cardio or diet? Sugar or Splenda? Hi reps low weight or low reps high weight? Form versus weight?

    Like all of life, these either/or questions are just figments of our human imaginations. The answer is never one or the other, but both in their proper place.

    To your specific question, there's value in both, and my personal experience is that there's even more value in variation: flipping back and forth between the two. I won't get into the detailed specifics if full body versus targeted, cause of my next "thing":

    2) The elusive magical workout routine

    While trying new routines is always good, the notion that there is an ideal workout to me is complete bunk. Apart from the fact that diet is probably the key factor in how you look, and it's the hardest one to figure out (you can spend decades on it), in my experience it's NEVER the specific workout that is to blame or to credit for progress or the lack of it.

    What is the more common problem? Two things: form (and your mental model of your body while you are working out), and variation.

    With respect to form, I find most people workout just by going thru the motions. They don't think about their breathing. They don't think about the range of motion. They don't think about the contraction. They don't think about holding the contraction. They don't isolate the muscles they are working on. They swing. They don't understand the mechanics of leverage. They move the weights way too fast. They use weights that are too heavy. They don't warm up (mentally or physically). They are overly obsessed with counting reps and sets. They are overly obsessed with lifting as much as the guy next to them. Oh, I could go on and on.

    Just watch the average gym goer and you'll see most, if not all of these symptoms for every person who has a body that never seems to improve. I'll bet that I could take any one of these guys, without changing their workout routine ONE IOTA, and force them to really focus on what they are doing, and they'd see immediate results.

    And regarding variation: the best workout advice I ever got was from an amazingly built guy who said "the best workout is the one you're not doing."

    So true. He meant that the body gets used to any type of work performed repeatedly, and when it "gets used" to that work, it reaches an equilibrium such that it can do that work without muscle breakdown and the associated hypertrophy. That breakdown and rebuild process is something the body is desperate to avoid and it is BRILLIANT at accomplishing it. Bodybuilding is tough because you have a very formidable adversary -- your own body!

    The solution is to always be trying something new. Different grip. Different weights. Different rep/set count. Different exercises. Different splits. Different amount of time in the gym. Weeks off from the gym. And yes, including full body (variants like HST included) in addition to targeted.

    You don't have to try something new every hour or every day, but you need to be sensitive to your own progress, and make sure you always are on the lookout for when your body gets adjusted to something, then move the target and keep it confused.

    OK, long rambling answer that was only loosely related to the topic. As compensation for the rambling, I'll answer the OP's original question concisely:

    Do both.

    ...

    But: I don't think it's an important question, relative to other factors, IMHO.

    OK, not so humble an opinion, but In My Egotistical Opinion (IMEO) isn't yet a recognized Internet acronym.
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    Jan 22, 2009 6:03 AM GMT
    NIce! My body and your body are interesting reads. Are you saying you were once in my position? I see the mindset, but to look like you is not my goal. Am I reading your comments wrong? My thought is to workout well and do it well and be healthy.
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    Jan 22, 2009 6:30 AM GMT
    Hmm, I'm easily confused. You said:

    "My general goals include some body sculpting for the sake of appearance, but mostly quality of life, health and strength, to carry me well into the future. I don't want to be a skinny ass with frail bones LOL, although I don't believe I will be decrepit, and I'm not looking to be a body builder."

    Which doesn't sound all that different than my goals or the goals of nearly any guy on here. So I'm confused when you say you don't want to look like me. Cause I'm too big? Too skinny? It's my big French nose isn't it! Or my receding hair line? Perhaps my wedding suit. It's Donna Karan, c'mon man -- that wasn't cheap! ;)

    I'm also confused cause my advice doesn't really have any conflict with your stated goals. At least as I understand them.

    As for being once "in your position" I'm still a little shaky on what you mean by that. I will say that I spent most of my life much thinner than I am now. Whether that puts me in your position or not, I'll defer to you icon_smile.gif

    * Scratches head. Blinks. Stares dumbly into space. *
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    Jan 22, 2009 8:23 AM GMT
    iguanaSF made some good points. I did a lot of trial and error before I found a routine that worked for me. And even then, my results didn't really kick in until I concentrated on form and really focused on feeling the muscle being worked, and not just going through the motions.

    Regarding your routine. I think you're doing too many warm up sets and not enough working sets. Try doing 1 warm up set. But choose a weight range that makes you sweat a little.

    Then for your working sets, add enough weights so that you really have to push it on the last rep of each set. By end of your 3rd working set, you should be slightly struggling, but still under control without a spotter. And remember to use proper form. If you start to get sloppy, decrease the weights a little.
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    Jan 22, 2009 3:44 PM GMT
    I hear you iguana and x. My bad (I sounded rude!). And thanks for the advice. It makes sense. I'll give the mix it's due. And yeah x, I see how maybe the warm-up sets are too much now. I guess I don't need to wake up muscles that are ready for more. I have a lot to learn!
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    Jan 22, 2009 8:34 PM GMT
    If you are rude, OMFG am I in trouble!

    Justinono, you are probably one of the least rude people on this site, just so ya know!

    Oh, and after staring at this thread for another day (it often takes me days to understand the simplest things), I think the confusion is simply terminology. I use the word "bodybuilding" to mean anything that is done with the goal of increasing muscle mass. I think you might have taken that to mean "what you do if you want to be a competition bodybuilder."

    Anyway, I'll stop with the meta analysis and go back to pretending to work.