Weight and Resistance Training - Resistance training: aesthetics

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02-22-2008, 05:07 AM
Hi, all. :) I'm new here, having recently discovered this board. I've thrown myself back into exercise, particularly resistance training, and I have a few questions. You all seem really friendly, so I'm hoping I'm not being presumptuous in asking a question of my own, right off.

I think I'm unusual, at least for a woman, in that I actually would like to develop the physical appearance of strength, as opposed to working more on tone. That is, I'm trying to lift for strength and size. I actually want to "bulk up" a fair bit, particularly in my upper body. There, I said it... I don't know if that makes me some sort of freak. :o Does any other woman here have similar goals?

I've been lifting since I was a teenager, and virtually all the women I've ever seen at the gym are far less aggressive in their weight-training regimen than I seem to be. I lift a lot more than the women around me, and I lift to failure, do burn-out sets, etc... pretty much all the techniques I've been able to glean from the habits of men who want to look "cut". As a kid, I had a lot of problems with overtraining and poor recovery... it turns out I was protein-deficient, and I had a couple untreated health conditions that set me back. Now that I'm actually watching the nutrition better, sleeping properly, and mitigating my chronic pain, I'm all sorts of "inspired". But I know that women have different physiology and hormones than do men, and I'm wondering if there are any special things I need to do to optimize my workout, or even any obvious things I might be forgetting.

So... if anyone would care to share, I would be so grateful. :)

02-22-2008, 11:07 PM
Tess, let me introduce you to Mel, Meg, and Kaw. If you have ANY doubt that you've found the right place, review a couple of the chat threads before this one where these ladies posted pix of their backs! Mel regularly updates us on the things she does to intimidate the men at her gym and the women? well, they just back up and give her space! lol Oh yeah, you've found your channel here!!! welcome

02-23-2008, 01:34 AM
:welcome: Tessitura :wave:

I also love to lift heavy and the muscular look on women :strong: .... I don't post as often as I used to in the Weight and Resistance Training section, only because I don't have the time ... But I read pretty regularly :D

02-23-2008, 09:22 AM
Welcome Tessitura :wel3fc:

Yep, I'm a muscle freak too :rofl: I first lost weight with a lot of circuit training and cardio, looked at my goal weight body and said YUK. What really inspired me was the look of fitness and figure competitors. While I NEVER will and never have aspired to get on a stage in a glittery posing suit and high heels :rofl:, that is what I strive to look like within my own genetic limitations.

Lift heavy, eat clean (with lots of protein), and burn off the fat with cardio.

I also take a fair number of vitamin and amino acid supplements, but initially I took very few...except glutamine and a daily vitamin. I'd never be without my glutamine!

Aside from the aesthetics, I'm also rediscovering what my strong body can now do besides fit into great clothes. The strength and endurance training has enabled me to go back to hard, fast skiing after a hiatus of over 25 years, rollerblading in the summer, and attempting to play ice hockey. That one didn't fly, but I tried!

Welcome! You certainly aren't alone ;)


02-23-2008, 05:17 PM
Yeahhhhh!!! Tess, I'm just like you...I was wondering the same exact thing...so glad I found this thread!!! I'm also on the Low-Carb thread since that's my WOE'ing and thought like maybe I'm the only chick around here that want's to get Ripped! Sooo...nooo way...you are certainly not alone!

Right now...I'm on the "Ripped System" by NxCare. I think it was designed for men (as all the pics are of vainy gigantic men), but I called the company and it is safe for woman (won't make you grow hair on your chest)! I'm currently in day 5 of the 21 day program. It's an all natural (supplements) program with a very intense program, but so far...I already am starting to see definition...and I've been sick this last week so I only got to do weights one day. However, I did get my cardio in everyday (30 min. HIIT eliptical).

I have a question for all you seasoned veterans (weight lifting)...I have "da bomb" home gym. I have a Vectra double stack system, Lifefitness recumbent bike and eliptical. The cardio machines I'm good with, but the Vectra...hmmmm??? It's kind of intimidating cuz I don't really know how much is too much...too little, how long should the workout be, rest periods, etc... Can anyone maybe post their upper body/lower body routines and maybe answer some of these questions for me? I would soooo appreciate it. Yeahhhh...so glad I found this...Joyce

Sorry for the long-winded post...but just soooo many questions.

02-23-2008, 06:04 PM
I looked at the Vectrafitness (http://www.vectrafitness.com/products/) site, and most of the systems look like they have a lat pull down, incline chest press with adjustable bench from flat to upright, chest flyes, a seated quad extension and something else? Very spiffy!

What does the program that you are doing call for? Does it give you particular exercises or just say "lift X number of days"?

I don't do upper/lower splits and I don't use machines, so my workout would be pretty useless for you.

As for how much and how long, that depends on your goals. If you want to get ripped, it's more a combination of eating right, lifting and cardio rather than any particular exercises.

Given your equipment, I think you can do a really good upper body workout of
isolation type exercises, but you need more for a lower body workout. If you want to do an upper/lower split, I'd suggest finding a copy of the original Body for Life book.


02-23-2008, 09:38 PM
Thanks Mel - Actually...I was looking in my old bookshelf and guess what I found...a damn "body for life" book. I had totally forgotten I had this book. Funny enough though..I remember when I bought the book, I thought it made alot of sense and really looked like something I could do...but I never did! Perhaps now...I'll finally my $25 worth! Thanks.

BTW - I have both Vectra systems (ergo double stack). I have the leg press which comes with bicep curls/extension? and the other system which has squats and all that other stuff. I bought it 1 year ago...and haven't used it until now...shame...but better late than never..I say!

Question: R U Ripped? If so, you say you really don't do upper/lower body...in a quick review...what's your program like? Thanks again. Joyce

02-23-2008, 09:39 PM
Oh yeah....and a big shout out to ya in West Chester...I used to live in the Poconos until about 1 1/2 yrs ago!!! Joyce

02-23-2008, 11:01 PM
Am I ripped?? :rofl: I try, but I'm short waisted and 53 years old. I'm strong and pretty lean, but I'd sure never win a figure contest!

The Poconos are my favorite place these days since larger ski slopes are to far to drive to for one day!

I do a 4-5 day split based on a classic body builder split, but with lots of wacky balance exercises and some olympic lifting thrown in. I do cardio 5 mornings before work (Lifefitness elliptical at home), and lift during my lunch hour. I estimate my lifting session are between 30-45 minutes depending on the day and how crazy is gets at work. Leg workouts are an hour, but I have a partner for legs and we yak a lot.

Monday- usually chest, I just went back to heavy bench pressing after laying off for a year, but my elbows are reminding me why I quit...so I may have to stop. Dumbbell chest presses (flat or incline) lots of pushup variations, dumbbell flyes, explosive push ups and/or exposive presses on the smith machine, cable flyes lying on a ball, one armed cable flyes on a ball...lots of variety. Obviously not all exercises each time! I usually go for 3-4 working sets and do a lot of superset. I'm really not trying to build more muscle at this point.

Tuesday- wacky day! Olympic lifts, overhead squats, lots of plank variations, single leg squat on a bosu, lots of balance and core exercises.

Wednesday- Shoulders. Usually my shortest, most classic lift. 4 sets: overhead presses, standing or on a stability ball with the last and heaviest set seated on a bench. Side raises, usually dumbbells, sometimes cables. Front raises, usually dumbbells, sometimes single dumbbell, sometimes cables. rear delt raises, sometimes together, sometime one at a time. If I'm feeling "balanced, I'll do one or two sets stand in one legged on a bosu, but I always do my heaviest set stable, on two feet, or seated.

Thursday- back. Lots of pullups, lat pull downs, straight leg deadlifts, hyper-extentions, cable rows on one leg, dumbbell rows on a bosu, double cable pulls kneeling on a stability ball...and if I can't resist, a set of low rep really heavy dumbbell rows in classic form. Again, I'm NOT trying to build muscle anymore and have to remind myself to not lift as heavy as I can.

Friday- back day if I couldn't get there on Thursday, or core day of I did back. Sometimes it's catch up at work day.

Saturday- Legs with a training partner. Lots of squats, step ups, deadlifts, (one legged and two legged) sometime we actually use some machines :rofl: and do leg presses- usually one leg at a time, hamstring curls, stability ball hamstring pulls, Romanian deadlifts.....

Sunday- Go skiing on sore legs :D

Do you see what is missing? Biceps and triceps. Occasionally I throw in one or two sets of curls and dips, but my arms get plenty of work doing pull ups with various grips for bicep work, and lots of tricep work with varying hand position doing presses and push ups.

lol, Joyce, I guess that wasn't really a quick review!

The Vectra sounds like it gives you a lot of options, but look at other body weight exercises as well. Push ups are a great exercise. With a stability ball and one or two sizes of dumbbells, you can really augment your workout.


02-23-2008, 11:18 PM
Mel I'm exhausted :faint: just reading that OYE!

02-23-2008, 11:46 PM
Wowweee!!! Thanks Mel. I appreciate you taking to time to give me that info. I'm starting to get a mental picture of what I must do. It's been so long, but believe it or not (I'm 40), but back in the day..I used to give aerobics classes and Jack La Lane...before it was "Bally's". Back then I knew all the names for weight training exercises and proper form. My idol was Cory Everson! I was 18 yrs old. Now soon approaching 41, I was starting to feel old. But after reading your post and how much you do at age 53...I now have renewed hope! I think I'm just scared...when I walk into my "exercise room"...it's kind of intimidating!

It's a shame I didn't meet you before I bought $13K worth of equipment!!! I know this may sound stupid/stubborn, but now I feel like I've got to use the Vectra ($8K) for bodybuilding. I re-read the Body for Life book and am going to try to implement the workout routines enough to cover my most problem areas. My body type is as such: naturally (somewhat) muscular and thin arms/shoulder; small waist, easily ripped stomache (don't really carry much weight there and with aerobics my stomach could be flat..with stomach exercises...it will get cut fast); big a$$ upper thighs with fat around hips and rear upper thighs, but thin and muscular around knees (go figure!); strong large calves. Okay...there's my bodytype in a nutshell!

Do you think I should focus more on lower body (hardcore) since I tend to carry my fat below? Joyce

02-24-2008, 09:53 AM
Welcome, tessitura -- you've come to the right place! Count me in as a muscle fan, too.

Joyce: Mel gave you some good suggestions. (I would comment on the suicide-icity of Mel's program, but I'm afraid she might drive up and kick my *** from here to NEXT Sunday.) Me, I do a 4-day split based roughly on the workouts on Krista's site (stumptuous.com). Not sure how these would translate to your equipment, but where there's a will there's a way!

Be strong!

02-24-2008, 10:10 AM
Hi Tess and Joyce:wave: "My name is Lydia and I am addicted to my own muscle development" :rofl: Your in good company here. :hug:

When I began lifting a couple of years ago I immediately lifted heavy for me. I really wasn't concerned about the mythological difference between becoming "toned" and becoming "bulky" My body was so far away from anything healthy and attractive that I just needed to do something! I lifted heavy because I needed to FEEL something. I found the heavier shorter reps to be satisfying like I was finally accomplishing something that would transform my body. I was right.

In your message you have inquired about any tips that may help make the most of your workouts and to improve your mass. This is not something that I have researched myself. I have just purchased the "New Rules of Lifting for Women" yesterday and discovered a few things that surprised me. While my macronutrient levels are great :chin: I may need to look closer at increasing my caloric intake. :fr: if I am interested in increasing more mass. Others who are currently working this program may have more insight into this. I'm still in the shock mode of maybe needing to eat more than 1200 calories a day while incorporating this program. But you know it isn't rocket science. I kind of suspected last summer that my intake was a little lower as I continued to drop weight without even trying too hard.

Anyway, enjoy the process and know that you are not alone in the weight room looking for the next set of challenging reps.

Oh, one more tip, keep changing your routine every four to six weeks. You probably already know this but once our muscles become acclimated to the planned routine the best they can do is just maintain. To continue to stimulate your workouts physically as well as psychologically there have to me new challenges to meet.


02-24-2008, 11:32 AM
Thanks All for your helpful advice...It's great to be here and I'm looking forward to being a "lean, mean...love machine" as are the rest of you! I'm gonna get the book "New Rules of Weight Lifting"...everyone seems to love this book. Does it have pics of how to properly use different machines though?? Joyce

02-24-2008, 11:38 AM
"Lean, mean, love machine" ... love it!! :D

NROLW almost exclusively uses free weights. I flipped through my book fast and the only machine I saw illustrated was the lat pulldown. Unfortunately, it might not be what you're looking for.

You might want to check out Exrx.net (http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html). The link is to an index of exercises broken down by muscle group. Within each muscle group, you'll see exercises further broken down by type of equipment, with a video and description of how to do them. What they call "lever" exercises are ones using machines. I love the little guy in the videos because he never gets tired! :lol:

02-24-2008, 11:52 AM
Ohhhh...thank you..thankyou...thankYOU Meg!!! I've been looking for something like this all friggin week! Woo hoo...now I'm on my way!

You would think Vectrafitness.com would have something on the net about how to use their damn $8-12K equipment!!!! They don't! Nothing! Just a manual on how to put it together (as if anyone could really follow those instructions...pleazzze!). Thanks again guys...Joyce

02-24-2008, 12:55 PM
Alright, well I like to lift and to lift heavy, but I have more moderate goals for my muscle development. I don't want to look like a figure competitor, just lean and what they call 'toned'. :) I think this is a good thing because Mel's 5 day split sounds terrifying to me! (Actually, it sounds a little bit fun too, but still terrifying.)

Anyway, I wanted comment on the nutrition that Lydia mentioned. The NROL people are adamant that you can't build muscle while eating less than maintenance calories, and they argue that a maintenance-level, protein-heavy diet plus their workouts will result in muscle gains AND fat loss. Quite a few women on the NRLW board (Joyce--lots of women there (http://forums.jpfitness.com/new-rules-lifting-women/)trying to get jacked too) have been following the nutrition plan as well as the lifting plan and have been having good success with fat loss and the strength gains. So it's worth thinking about.

02-24-2008, 01:05 PM
Baffled - Thanks...I'll check it out! Question though...I see you quit smoking recently...GOOD FOR YOU GIRL! I really want this to be my year to quit too! The more I exercise...the more I feel like being a slave to cigs is really holding me back! Has your workouts gotten better/worse since you quit? I say worse, cuz when I quit smoking years ago...the first couple of weeks, I was hacking up a storm and my lungs felt worse than when I was smoking (probably cuz it was getting rid of all the years of tar build-up)...but just curious...need motivation...Joyce

02-24-2008, 01:27 PM
Joyce I just found this website when I went to visit the site that Baffled mentionned....Animated Exercise Examples (http://thetrainingstationinc.com/exercises.html) Those little stick men are so cute :lol:

02-24-2008, 01:44 PM
Cool...really cool...Thanks Ilene!!! Gonna do my written workout routine for the week and these sites will really help me out...A thousands thanks to all for your help! Joyce

02-24-2008, 01:46 PM
You know, it's funny, but I haven't had the extra coughing and hacking yet. People had warned me about it but now is the first time in years that I haven't spent the first part of the morning clearing out my lungs. (Yuck.) I haven't done any coughing at all, even though I've had a persistent smoker's cough for 3-4 years now. FWIW, I was a 2 - 2.5 pack a day smoker, so this quitting is serious business. I've only ever tried to quit once before, but this time is for real.

The exercise was a big motivation for me and actually, it's been incredible. I mentioned this in the maintainers weekly thread, but my heart rate responded immediately to the quitting. I wear a HRM and my HR was consistently about 20 points lower for all activities at the gym from the very first day that I quit. It's kinda bizarre actually (and bad, because lower HR = fewer cals burned) but also very, very cool. All of a sudden I have to work MUCH harder to get the HR that was standard for me the week before last. It's crazy. I've been doing these 2-3 mile runs with my dog for months and months and months and I had basically plateaued: I could NOT run the entire 3 miles without stopping for a walk break to catch my breath and had started doing only 2 miles instead. Then, the other day I decided to do the whole 3 miles and I just ran the whole thing (3 mins quicker than I have before) without even thinking about taking a walk break. My body was just able to do it, no problem. So, so cool. I'm really looking forward to all my summer activities (hiking, biking, running) because it is going to be so very excellent not to have to be fighting my lungs and fighting my heart the entire time. It's great. :)

Also, I'm so, so, so glad that I had become addicted to exercise prior to quitting. I don't think I could have survived the last 2 weeks without exercise (or, if I did survive, I'd have gained far more than the 5lb I have gained). Endorphins are almost as good as cigarettes (and ice cream). :)

02-25-2008, 10:18 PM
"My name is Lydia and I am addicted to my own muscle development"

I can confirm this. :patrick:

02-26-2008, 12:13 AM
Drop20, aka, Lydia's DH: now, now ... if you're not nice to Lydia, she may force you to drop and give her 20 (pushups). Or, I suppose, drop kick you 20 (yards). :)

:welcome2: to 3fc!


02-26-2008, 08:42 PM
if you're not nice to Lydia, she may force you to drop and give her 20 (pushups). Or, I suppose, drop kick you 20 (yards).

Wow, that would be getting of easy in our house, Kim. Lydia's pretty tough. Don't let that sweet profile picture fool you.:badbat:

Thanks for the welcome though! I sent someone over here from my blog. Just thought I'd dive in and take a look (since I've heard so much about all of you).


02-26-2008, 09:01 PM
You mean you aren't like my husband...
"Are you sure that isn't too much weight? That looks pretty heavy, I can't even do that"

Reason #1 we don't go to the gym together any more :)

02-26-2008, 09:29 PM
Hello all! Just thought I'd check in and let you all know how I'm doin'. Well, it's day 8 of my "Ripped" program by NxCare and I feel great. I've finally started my weight training and through alot of research both on this forum and others...finally found a bodybuilder/model who has the same Vectra system as me and she was nice enough to give me her workout (and a few lifting tips)! I'm sore (probably be dead tomorrow), cuz I'm really doing alot between 30 min cardio (6 days/week) and 30-45 min weight training 4 days/week, but it's PAYIN' OFF! Didn't really pay attention to the scale this week as my WI was saturday which also turned out to be the first day of my TOM! I will WI this coming Saturday...but not to concerned with that cuz I'm already getting cuts in my legs and abs!!! woo hoo!:carrot:

When I'm done with my 21 day program...I'll post before/after pics. Thanks for all your support ladies!:hug: Joyce

02-26-2008, 11:31 PM
Great new.... I'm looking forward to seeing your pics...

02-27-2008, 01:50 PM
You mean you aren't like my husband...
"Are you sure that isn't too much weight? That looks pretty heavy, I can't even do that"

No way! The last time we went to the gym together I made her laugh so hard that I got banned.

I mean, when we checked out gyms two weeks ago, the guy taking us around asked us what we liked to do. Lydia popped those huge veins in her neck and said, "I'm an IRON MAMMA! HOORAH!."


"Well, let's see. I like to read and hang out in the coffee shop. Does that count?" :coffee2:

02-27-2008, 01:56 PM

You two are quite a team! And welcome!