Would value opinion on beginner workout program

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 25, 2009 1:40 PM GMT
    Hi everyone,

    I know that "What workout should I do" is a *very* common question, one you're all likely to be sick of. Mine is a bit of a variation, with a bit of backstory:

    I started exercising for several reasons, one of which is Depression (Capital D). I want to be fit, to not be overweight, to get the associated health benefits of resistance training, to actually be worth a second glance for once in my life, to avoid T2-Diabetes and Heart Disease (Both of which dad developed) and because I love to eat and a higher metabolism lets me try more foodicon_razz.gif (Maybe not a huge amount, but some).

    So, health was the number one reason... Preventative and Curative. But the issue I have it that, having depression, I don't really have much confidence in myself... Specifically my workout routine. I could check with my PT, but the doubting voice says that "She's paid to agree with you", even though I know that's not true.

    So I wanted to run my program past y'all, and see what you think... Random internet people's opinions are less likely to be skewed to make me feel better, is what I'm thinking (And even though I *know* that's not true... It still gives me more confidence). I've been going for about a month and a half with regularity, so I'd also like some feedback on the weight I'm using... For every exercise it's difficult for me to finish properly with correct form. Every week I try to add a Kg to each exercise, also.

    So, I'm 24, 176cm, 88Kg, Medium build. I built a program from EXRX, doing full body workouts once every second day, three times a week. The other days I do cardio or rest.

    My program:
    8x Reps, 3x Sets

    Quadriceps
    Seated Leg Press, Full Recline [8Kg]
    Lunges, Weightless (I'm kinda unstable)

    Hamstrings
    Only do Deadlifts with my Trainer, not confident in my form and don't wanna bork my back

    Calves
    Calve Raise, [10Kg, 30 Reps]

    Back
    Bent Over Row [10Kg]
    Assisted Chinup [14Kg]

    Deltoids
    Shoulder Press [10Kg]
    Dumbbell Upright Row [8Kg]

    Chest
    Smith Machine Bench Press [20Kg]

    Biceps
    Curls [15Kg]

    Triceps
    Assisted Triceps Dip [15kg]

    Thanks in advance for the feedback gents.
  • UFJocknerd

    Posts: 392

    Aug 25, 2009 3:10 PM GMT
    Couple thoughts:
    -No full-body is complete without squats. Add 'em. Even if you're just using the bar at first.
    -Do deadlifts. Use only the bar if you have to. If you've got some anxiety about what you look like when you work out, lifting the bar can be good exposure therapy. icon_smile.gif
    -Knock off the Smith presses and use free weights.
    -In general, looks like a lot for a full-body to me. I might construct a full-body around some core lifts (squats, deads, chest press, incline fly) and then switch out auxiliary lifts (bis, tris, calves, lat raises, calves, etc.), doing 2-4 each day, depending on the rest of the routine.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 25, 2009 3:46 PM GMT
    Just keep doing it. You'll get better.
  • outdoorjunkie

    Posts: 118

    Aug 25, 2009 4:06 PM GMT
    This is a great start to working out. It's the same principal I used when I dedicated myself to the gym two years ago. For the first several months, the full-body routine will help you develop a very solid base upon which to build however you'd like - size, strength, definition, etc.

    Keep in mind that the main reason people begin to flounder at the the gym is because they lose sight of their goals and don't take steps to attain them. Right now, I'm sure you're seeing very positive results and will continue to for some time. When you first begin to workout, it's good to just be at the gym in general. I would suggest taking the time to be really honest with yourself about what will make you feel confident in the future. What do you want your body to look like that best reflects your desires? Be reasonable, but aim for something. Talk to your trainer about it. Believe me, your trainer will serve you much better if you can give them clear and precise physical goals you are seeking to attain. Be receptive to hearing you are in for the long haul, depending on your desires. It takes a LONG time to look like some of the guys on this site. But you already have two things going for you: 1) Youth and 2) Dedication.

    Above all, stick with it and realize you'll have good weeks and you'll have bad weeks at the gym. Sometimes you'll lose weight, sometimes you'll gain it. But the mental benefits from a healthy, active lifestyle cannot be understated. Good for you, man! Keep it up!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 25, 2009 4:09 PM GMT
    I started lifting when I was 14. I'm now 49. It becomes a lifestyle; part of your daily routine.

    Here's the thing about the gym. Nobody could give a rat's tiny tiny behind what you look like, especially the guys who are hunks. They're doing their own thing. Just stay at it. It'll all fall into place.

    Here's something you can take to the bank:
    Patience is key.
    Anything worth doing is worth doing well.
    Plan for success, with small goals, leading to bigger ones.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 26, 2009 2:04 PM GMT
    UFJocknerd: Thanks for the core-lift advice. My only problems are that there are only Smith machines at my gym... No squat racks. They're 24 hour (Which is why I go) so I guess they're worried about members seriously injuring themselves at Odd'O'Clock.

    As for deadlifts, the only reason I don't do them isn't appearance, it's worry about damaging my back. I'll add them in once I'm confident enough in my form.

    RE Squats: Erm... I try a set every workout... It always feels wrong and I'm pretty sure I've got the wrong form. Trying to work on this with my trainer (Can only see her every 2 weeks).

    I've just got to get a routine down and feel like I'm achieving something. I actually haven't noticed any progress, except I'm a bit stronger at PT... Could just be because my form is OK now.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 26, 2009 2:36 PM GMT
    LOL. Pee Wee has a long range of excuses. Go figure.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Aug 26, 2009 3:02 PM GMT
    I actually understand the fear of hurting your back--I rarely do deadlifts myself because I just don't trust that I'm doing them properly.

    However, I will say that the reasons for your working out should be dictating what you're doing. Avoiding diseases is a great reason to work out, but it will lead to different recommendations than if you were trying to improve performance at a sport or look better in a swimsuit. Particularly with regards to the heart disease, cardio training will matter more than weights. Your profile says you do cardio twice a week for 40 minutes; what sort of intensity is that? Are you walking, biking, swimming, jogging, climbing stairs? What makes you winded?

    In regards to resistance training, you'll get the most bang for your buck by concentrating on the large muscles-- they have the most room to improve. That means your legs, your rear, your chest, and your back. Also, multijoint exercises are generally recommended over isolation ones unless you're trying to overcome a specific weakness, or train a specific muscle to compensate for strengthening an opposing one. So I'd say you're best off putting your primary effort into squats and/or lunges, bench presses and/or pushups, and rows if you're worried about your form on a deadlift. Bicep curls, tricep dips, and calf raises all can have their places, but they're less essential when your primary motivation is general health.
  • UFJocknerd

    Posts: 392

    Aug 26, 2009 3:17 PM GMT
    Quadlex saidUFJocknerd: Thanks for the core-lift advice. My only problems are that there are only Smith machines at my gym... No squat racks. They're 24 hour (Which is why I go) so I guess they're worried about members seriously injuring themselves at Odd'O'Clock.


    Both deadlifts and squats can be performed with free weights. I would do this before I resorted to a Smith machine. You can google/youtube dumbbell deadlifts/dumbbell squats to see examples of form, and your trainer should be able to help you.

    Quadlex saidAs for deadlifts, the only reason I don't do them isn't appearance, it's worry about damaging my back. I'll add them in once I'm confident enough in my form.


    So, start with very light weights. No biggie.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 26, 2009 3:28 PM GMT
    I have to giggle. In my 34 years, of lifting, I've done a LOT of squats, deadlifts, bench presses, pulls, pullups. Back in 1990 I had a pretty good hamstring pull (doing stiff leg deadlifts and not quite getting warmed up enough); in 2000 I pulled my groin (doing declines dumbbells with 100s); in June 2009 I just tore my distal biceps tendon (bent over to pick up 100 for flat bench dumbbells and off it came..I had done that move 1000s of times). Right now, probably some time next week, I'm having my tendon cut off, and reinforced with a cadaver tendon. It'll hurt, but, if I'm to compete at a national level again, it needs to be done. 34 years without anything real serious is a good thing. I'm happy with the run I've had. I try to lift smart and it's paid off.

    Up until a couple of years ago, it wasn't unusual for me to do 30 set workouts. I did that all through my 20s, 30s, and early 40s. Now, I will do 16 set workouts, or 20 set workouts, and I find I recover better, and have bigger dimensions, (more sacriplasmic hypertrophy) but may not be quite as hard bodied. I workout every day except when I take a rest day (DOH), which goes chest/tris, back/bis, quads, shoulders, hamstrings, arms, day off. I rotate through forearms, abs, calves, and do neck every do often, but I have 19 inch neck, so I don't need to blast it. I.e. I train 6 days in a row, take a day off (usually do cardio / HIIT that day, or sometimes party), and then resume. Over and over.

    Pumpkin here has about 6 sets on each exercise, 3 times a week, which really isn't a warmup for many lifters. LOL. And, he's fearful. Some of that requires practice; it takes time to get used to moving a heavy weight, but you also have to have a can do attitude. Almost any trainer, or serious lifter, would regard it as pretty darn lame. It's a start, but doing 3 reps of biceps (e.g.) really isn't going to do much than get a smidge of tone. You to have some time under load.

    I guess I pulled my lats pretty good one time back in the late 80's, but, considering my 3.5 decades of lifting, I really haven't hurt myself very much over the years.

    Anyway, the obvious underlying problem here is mental / motivational and until the guy takes some efforts to resolve that (other than a few sets at the gym) the problems will continue. He needs to dig in and feel why he's self-loathing, low esteem, medicates with food, and so on. 12 sets at the gym thrice a week really isn't going to change a lot, particularly if his heart isn't in it. It certainly is not the basis for a solid foundation. It takes more effort than that. Some, but, not a lot. It's just not enough activity. A good personal trainer will spot this (his head case), in a heart beat. 24 years old on the calendar, but, more like 12 socially.

    A good personal trainer / good friend would lead him into, through, and beyond his comfort zone, but, he seems resistant to that, so he'll stagnate until he decides he's tried of the status quo.

    Most Real Jocks understand the value of progression, planning, persistence, and coaching. You sure don't have to lift the big weights the first day, but, you can't be a chicken all day, either.

    When I walk on a stage, I do it knowing that I'm prepared, by design, and that I've done everything with a method to deliver my best performance.

    Success is by design.

    Success usually requires you walk through and beyond a comfort zone.

    The military teaches this to young men every day. How to conquer fears, and do things you never thought possible, and how to overcome the defeatist attitude that so many folks here seem to come forward with.

    Once you learn that lesson, that it's best to walk right into it...you'll be the bunch stronger, and have a LOT less baggage.
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Aug 26, 2009 4:29 PM GMT
    I'd have to say there's been some overkill of judgment on 'Pumpkin' here (meaning the OP).

    OP, if what you're doing right now keeps you going to the gym, and interested, then keep up.

    In terms of the deadlifts and/or squats, something I haven't heard anyone suggest is using a video camera and getting someone to record you doing the exercises. Then you can view them at home and compare them to other people who've posted how to do them on Youtube (or through bodybuilding.com).

    I think your concern about form is well-founded. I have hip problems, and they've been reinforced and multiplied by doing heavy deadlifts and squats. My form wasn't exactly incorrect visually, but my body was correcting for my hip imbalances, and as a result, my whole entire torso now twists a little to the left, and I have shoulder problems now too.

    Yes, as a bodybuilder, if that's what you want to be (even if for preventative reasons), you can expect injuries along the way. But taking things slow and being cautious isn't a bad thing. It just might take you longer than someone who's not as cautious.

    In terms of your trainer, if you don't think she knows what she's talking about, get a new one. My trainer, who I sort of lucked out with, has spent years working with other trainers and perfecting his own form doing lots of compound heavy lifts. When I wanted a trainer, I went looking for someone that knew what they were talking about, specifically with compound lifts. That's what I would look for, if you want to do heavy lifts and are worried about form.

    And if your trainer is someone from 24 hour fitness, my guess is that they have a certificate that they got over a weekend course, or even maybe that they got over a 6 month period of studying and minimal training. Find someone who practices what they preach, and make sure they don't blow smoke up your ass.