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Dimness
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I've made some good lifestyle changes, and I've experienced a massive heartbreak over the past week. But I feel that working out and lifting weights has been one of the best fighters of stress and depression that I have. But like every other newbie, I feel that there are certain things "wrong" with my workout routine. I hope you guys can help. My ultimate goal is to 1. increase strength 2. build mass and 3. look cut

 

1. Bench Press problems.

- For the first time I can finally bench with a full plate (45's) on each side and then some. However, I feel like my forearms and my wrists don't agree with me. Is this a warning sign, or am I just puny in the forearms area?

 

2. Problems with the Clean part of the Clean and Press/Jerk

- I feel like I'm doing a good job with the Shoulder Press part, but my Clean looks weird. Everytime I see someone else doing it, their elbows are fully extended out. I can't seem to do that, and my elbows are still somewhat pointing funny. Is there something wrong with my technique?

 

3. Supplements

- I was taking Ripped Fuel (which I liked), but I recently added Creatine. I also switched to Rev XP, and it's working okay. However, I've heard that with Creatine I have to drink lots of water, but I'll also be adding water weight as well. Two questions 1. Is there a really bad risk for kidney damage and 2. Is water weight really that bad?

 

4. Pushups

- I do about 20 when I wake up. Keep it or chuck it?

 

5. More Bench Press Questions:

- I do Dumbbell Bench Presses, regular Bench Presses, incline bench presses, and butterflies. Should I add decline bench as well?

 

6. Abs

- I do lying leg raises and decline situps with 25's. However, I've heard that the best ab exercise is a knee raise to stomach while hanging from a bar. I tried it, but it seems like my arms get tired very easily. Are there supplemental exercises I can do to increase my "hanging" strength?

 

7. Pullups

- Speaking of hanging, I can do close-grip pullups, but I am unable to do wide grip pullups. Are there exercises I can do so I can finally "pull" my own weight?

 

8. Treadmill Running

- I've decided to run a mile after lifting weights. I've heard that this is a very good or a very bad thing considering my goals. Some people say it will maximize my fat loss, but others say that it will only deplete my energy stores and be detrimental to my muscle gain. What's the real scoop?

 

BTW, I do use that website EXR.net or something, but I need some real people impressions.

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..

 

1. Bench Press problems.

- For the first time I can finally bench with a full plate (45's) on each side and then some. However, I feel like my forearms and my wrists don't agree with me. Is this a warning sign, or am I just puny in the forearms area?

 

How are you gripping the bar? Shoulder width or closer?

 

2. Problems with the Clean part of the Clean and Press/Jerk

- I feel like I'm doing a good job with the Shoulder Press part, but my Clean looks weird. Everytime I see someone else doing it, their elbows are fully extended out. I can't seem to do that, and my elbows are still somewhat pointing funny. Is there something wrong with my technique?

 

3. Supplements

- I was taking Ripped Fuel (which I liked), but I recently added Creatine. I also switched to Rev XP, and it's working okay. However, I've heard that with Creatine I have to drink lots of water, but I'll also be adding water weight as well. Two questions 1. Is there a really bad risk for kidney damage and 2. Is water weight really that bad?

 

Im back on Creatine now (just finished my loading week) and yes you are to drink alot of water. From everything I've read, Creatine is one of the best supplements you can take to help you gain mass. You will gain water weight, but after you come off of the Creatine, you can lose it. I honestly dont know how it affects your kidneys.

4. Pushups

- I do about 20 when I wake up. Keep it or chuck it?

 

I dont think you really need to do this for your gains, but if you enjoy for any reason (like it wakes you up or something) keep doing it. The only thing I can think would be a problem is over training your chest since you are doing it everyday, but i dont think 20 reps should be a problem.

 

5. More Bench Press Questions:

- I do Dumbbell Bench Presses, regular Bench Presses, incline bench presses, and butterflies. Should I add decline bench as well?

 

Yes. You may also want to add a couple more exercises since adding the Decline bench to your current routine would probably be too much chest work. You could then split them into odd and even weeks. (Bench press on week A, dumbell press on week B, etc)

 

6. Abs

- I do lying leg raises and decline situps with 25's. However, I've heard that the best ab exercise is a knee raise to stomach while hanging from a bar. I tried it, but it seems like my arms get tired very easily. Are there supplemental exercises I can do to increase my "hanging" strength?

 

Id also try the machine at the gym where you can rest your arms on pads. It's easier since you arent free hanging and your back is supported.

 

7. Pullups

- Speaking of hanging, I can do close-grip pullups, but I am unable to do wide grip pullups. Are there exercises I can do so I can finally "pull" my own weight?

 

Yes. Does your gym have a pullup assist machine? That would be perfect to use for this. Some of my affiliated gyms dont have them, and I go to different gyms on back day just for this.

 

8. Treadmill Running

- I've decided to run a mile after lifting weights. I've heard that this is a very good or a very bad thing considering my goals. Some people say it will maximize my fat loss, but others say that it will only deplete my energy stores and be detrimental to my muscle gain. What's the real scoop?

 

I have no basis for this, but I dont do cardio when Im trying to gain mass. When I come off of the mass building phase, I change my weight lifting workout, take a fat burner like Xenodrine, and add Cardio after every workout. That's just my personal routine.

 

BTW, I do use that website EXR.net or something, but I need some real people impressions.

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I dont think so, I know you gain pure muscle mass and water weight on creatine, and you just want to lose the water weight after you finish a cycle. You may lose some muscle mass but I havent really heard anything about it.

 

I was looking over an old article on creatine for side effects and the main one is that it can make you bloated and gassy (which it does to me to some extent). The article also mentioned that it can cause kidney stones in rare occasions.

 

Another benefit to taking it is that you dont feel "the burn" as much, and you should be able to lift a little more as well.

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Here's a bunch of advice that you can huck if you don't like it ;)

 

"Goals: 1. increase strength 2. build mass and 3. look cut"

 

1 & 2 you are doing by lifting weights. Lifting weights to fatigue (and then resting a day to repair!) increases both size and strength of muscles.

 

#3 can only be done by diet really. Weights have no effect on your fat reserves, it just targets your muscles. Constricting your diet and ramping up aerobic exercise is the best (and really only sure fire) way to get "cut" by trimming the fat in your body. The trick is to lose fat but retain your muscle mass. I won't go into details here as it is a long explanation, but go to a GNC or buy a box of Met RX and they have a good athele's diet described inside. Basically calorie counting and adjusting your intake day to day is the safest and surest way to go.

 

The pushups in the morning? Ditch em and stretch instead. Very few people stretch enough and it can help so much to reduce injuries and soreness. If no stretching, think about doing your aerobic activity 1st thing in the morning, it beats the heck out of a cup of coffee for a wakeup.

 

All the other stuff: you're probably off a little bit with your form on the benchpress and clean/jerk, but without seeing it I wouldn't know what. Pay for a meeting or two with a personal trainer or take a beginner's weight lifting class to get a pro to watch your form. I know "beginning" weights class sounds lame, but just tell the treacher what you want out of the class and they'll likely be happy to accomidate you. Better to take a step back to learn it right than waiting for your hands/wrists/back to get injured and learn it then. ;)

 

For the pullups, I agree that an assisted machine is a godsend. I can do pullups and dips unassisted but I still use the machine for both. It allows you to do more reps and try different varieties that you may not be strong enough (yet) to do unassisted. Of all the machines in the gym, it is likely my favorite, give it a shot.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm doing awesome too, Dom. You can check out my progress posts in the Drop-a-ton thread.

 

I've got appreciable muscles now in arms/back/chest that I've never had before.

 

But I just can't get happy about my gut at all. Even though I can fit into size 32" waist pants now, I feel like there is still too much lopping over. I desperately want to get rid of the ol' "muffin-top" look. Maybe my expectations are too unrealistic.

 

 

Carlos.

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I changed my lifestyle shortly before Christmas, and I must say its been a fantastic few weeks since. We were gifted a Bowflex by my mother-in-law and I have been doing their cardio program ontop of biking and using my elpitical runner.

 

One other thing that I started doing at the recommendation of people over on a mountain bike forum I visit is I started doing Pilates and Yoga. Every morning I wake up and do 30 minutes of Pilates and then workout for an hour or so then I do another 30 minutes of Yoga to cool down with. I am starting to be able to bend and do things I never thought I could.

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But I just can't get happy about my gut at all. Even though I can fit into size 32" waist pants now, I feel like there is still too much lopping over. I desperately want to get rid of the ol' "muffin-top" look. Maybe my expectations are too unrealistic.

 

This can often just be excess skin if you've lost a lot of weight quickly. Give it some time. Otherwise, what's your cardio routine?

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My Cardio routine is burn 500 calories per day in 45 minutes or less. 7 days a week. My heart rate monitor gives a good estimate of how many calories I burn. This usually means getting into about 75-80% of my heart rate Max for the duration, which is supposed to be a good fat burning zone.

 

I don't even wear my HRM during my weight training, so any calories burned there don't count toward my daily goal.

 

About twice a week I do HIIT's for 15-20 minutes just to keep it from getting boring and to drive up my stamina.

 

Unfortunately if you had been overweight for a while the excess skin will not retract and the only way to get rid of it is surgery.

 

I've seen pics of people who have had dramatic weight loss and the skin flab that results. I don't think that's me though. It's not exactly flabby or hanging. I think its just still some fat underneath that needs to be burned away. I hope.

 

 

Carlos.

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My Cardio routine is burn 500 calories per day in 45 minutes or less. 7 days a week. My heart rate monitor gives a good estimate of how many calories I burn. This usually means getting into about 75-80% of my heart rate Max for the duration, which is supposed to be a good fat burning zone.

 

I don't even wear my HRM during my weight training, so any calories burned there don't count toward my daily goal.

 

About twice a week I do HIIT's for 15-20 minutes just to keep it from getting boring and to drive up my stamina.

 

 

 

I've seen pics of people who have had dramatic weight loss and the skin flab that results. I don't think that's me though. It's not exactly flabby or hanging. I think its just still some fat underneath that needs to be burned away. I hope.

 

 

Carlos.

 

So - is it loose skin or is it more like still having a distended stomach, firm to the touch? If it's the latter it could be the internal, sub-muscular fat that still needs to burn off. That can be the toughest to lose because of its proximity to the stomach and the resultant vascular network (this is what I was told, at least).

 

While you can't spot-reduce, I'd say do the HIIT more often than the 65% "fat burn zone" cardio. To tell you the truth, I don't believe in that stuff if you're in shape enough to do HIIT. I think you're wasting your time and all cardio should be done with intensity until you burn out for less time.

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I would say no to loose skin. It can be made to disappear if I "suck it in", and I would think loose skin would still be hanging.

 

I think you're probably right that it's the sub-muscular fat. I'll keep burning the calories and maintaining a calorie deficit to see where that gets me. I *do* feel like my waist continues to shrink, just not as rapidly as I would like.

 

I'm coming up on a full 6 months of my weight loss endeavor in about 2 weeks. I'll post some progress pics so you guys can see what I'm talking about.

 

 

Carlos.

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My mother recommended that I get some skin lotion that is high in vitamin e to help my skin snap back into shape as I drop the pounds.

 

While that would be nice were it true, it just doesn't work that way. Skin doesn't "eat" vitamins. I get a kick out of people who buy vitamin-enriched hair and skin products, thinking their hair and skin has little stomachs and what-not.

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  • 2 weeks later...

:lol

 

I needed that laugh.

 

I'm having huge problems with my gut area as well. Don't we all wish that spot reduction were true? :( Otherwise, I've just hit a recent snag in my workout routine. I'm using two new ab workout routines, and on both of them I experienced abdominal cramping. Am I doing the routine wrong or am I overworking my abs?

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I'm using two new ab workout routines, and on both of them I experienced abdominal cramping.

 

Ouch. What are you doing? How does it differ from what you did previously? My guess is that if you suspect overworking it's likely the case.

 

I'm back to my work outs after a two month lay-off due to injuries. In a pick-up football game I sprained my left ankle and tore my right quad. As a former soccer player I can live with any sprained ankle but the quad was a very new (and extremely painful) injury.

 

I jumped right into my lifting routine being cautious enough to use low weights until my body tells me it's time to turn it up. I entered leg presses (laying on my back pushing up) without a thought about my quad. Into my 2nd set I felt the muscle begin to go spastic on me. Mind you, it never became painful but the scare was enough to end my workout for the day. The muscle was tight and spastic for the rest of the day.

 

Anyone have experience with quadriceps injuries? I've pulled hamstrings in the past but this was considerably more painful. I was told 6 to 9 weeks for recovery (along with anti-inflammatory's). I should be right on schedule.

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Are you talking about cramps like the "stitches" that you get from running, or cramps like you've got to find a bathroom asap, or cramps like your muscles just hurt a heck of a lot?

 

Try stretching your abs out real good afterward. I've found that by laying on my stomach and doing the stretch where you leave your stomach on the floor and raise your chest up feels terrific after a really hard ab workout.

 

 

Carlos.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dom, did you ever get a good answer on you abs cramping?

 

My wife had bought this Gizmo at a yard sale years ago. I always thought it was a total gimick so we let it stay in our garage. But yesterday we saw one out on the floor of the gym, so we asked one of the trainers about it and how to use it properly. Man that thing is a killer! I work my abs all kinds of ways, but they are really sore right now. I still think it's gimmicky, but it sure did work something in me that hadn't before, based on the soreness.

 

Also,

I have an issue that has popped up since I started going to the gym instead of doing everything at home. I am getting opressive headrush/headaches right smack on the top of my head. It is definitely brought on by exertion, as the more I strain to lift the more it hurts. Then it takes forever to subside, but does so gradually.

 

I think I am causing this due to my embarassment and improper breathing. I'm already tense and stressed everytime I go in there because I'm shy and feel like everyone is watching. Then I don't grunt, huff and puff like I do at home. I do blow out a breath on exertion, but I don't think I'm breathing as well.

 

Does this sound like the likely cause? Or could it be a coincidence and I've got some other problem going on in my noggin? Anyone ever heard of this?

 

 

Carlos.

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