100 lb. Club - Strength training questions

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04-26-2008, 05:48 PM
I am totally a novice at strength training. I put together a program for myself from sparkpeople's list of exercises. They even have demo's so I know I am doing them right. I just chose a couple from upper body, lower body and core. It said to do 2 sets of about 12 reps, so that's what I've been doing, 3 days a week. I upped the weights as they got easier. I am at 10 lbs now.

Okay so I have been reading up online, plus I got 2 books... strength traiing for dummies and one called.. strength training for women or something like that. EVery source says you should change up your routine every 6 to 8 weeks. Not just do the same exercises forever, increasing weights. Now I am confused!

How do I change up my routine? I have no idea what I am doing. A personal trainer is out of the question (DH said NO). All I have figured out is I should do something for each muscle group like biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, abs, legs. I am doing biceps curls so what do I do instead? I do calf raises, what can I do instead of that? Etc.

Advice? Resources you can point me to? I really want to do this right.

04-26-2008, 06:07 PM
Congrats on starting the lifting program!

Have you checked out the weight training part of 3FC? Lots of very knowledgeable people there.

04-26-2008, 07:05 PM
No, I haven't. I didn't even know about it! I will try and find it. Thanks!

04-26-2008, 07:41 PM
Lyn - It's here:

04-26-2008, 08:08 PM
Chanigng it up could be just doing your sets in a different order, using a heavier weight for less reps or less weight for more reps. Another thing you could do are superset ...basically, you just do two exercises back-to-back, with no rest inbetween (i.e., Shoulders: dumbell side lateral raises then right into dumbell shoulder press). Hope this is helpful to you.

04-26-2008, 08:57 PM

If you are a total novice, you may want to try Body for Life. Several years ago a trainer gave me the book and it shows you step by step on how to weight trainer, upper and lower body exercises that can be done at home or at the gym. It also had a cardio program and nutrition. Very inspirational. They have 12 week "challenges" that you can do and in my 12 weeks I went from 170lbs to 140lbs, size 14 to 7 in 3 months. Its amazing, very inspirational book. Good luck and keep us updated.

PS, I am looking for a BFL buddy to keep accountable with. I will be starting the full on program 3rd or 4th week in May after my hubby gets home from Iraq and settled in at home.

04-26-2008, 10:33 PM
Hi Lyn!!

I started strength training in January and your thread caught my eye tonight. I started with our bowflex and tried to come up with a routine, and it quickly became a routine. I did not have a clue how to change it up or go up to heavier weights (how heavy was too heavy? or not heavy enough?). I was perplexed, and I actually took a weightlifting class in college in 1995....okay it's been awhile!

So I bit the bullet and went to a personal trainer. (I know your husband said no, but bear with me here).

Strength training is a skill. Form and technique and planning are important. I do believe in self-study, but I also know when I need to call in an expert. And I needed an expert.

And it has changed my life. Seriously. My fat loss has shot through the roof. My muscle mass is going up. My clothes are falling off. I love my nutrition plan. This, finally, is the lifestyle I can live with forever. I get a kick out of watching my muscles develop. I love being pushed out of my comfort zone.

It does cost some money, and that may be your DH's concern. It is a concern of my DH as well, but I have tightened some areas of our budget and have picked up some more hours at work....because it is worth every penny! This is very important to me, and so we find a way to make it work, just like we find a way to make my husband's dreams and priorities work out.

There are fabulous folks in the weight lifting forum here, and there are some good books out there (some people are doing the New Rules for Weight Lifting for Women book). But I am a hands-on learner and I need someone to show me correct form, new exercises, new routines, and to push me. My trainer encourages me to lift heavier and push harder than I ever thought possible, and I can do it!!!! ME!

I know you'll find a way that works for you, but I would heartily encourage a session or two with a professional if it is within the realm of possibility.

Best of luck!

04-27-2008, 12:25 AM
I would highly recommend the New Rules of Lifting for Women book ... it's got a great series of workouts that steadily challenge you and increase in intensity.

One thing that stood out to me immediatley is that you said in your first post that you're "up to 10 lbs". I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that - you shouldn't be lifting/using the same amount of weight for every exercise. For example, even when I first started (and I was badly out of shape) I could leg press 50lb or more ... but I could barely use the chest press with no weight on it at all. Every part of your body has different abilities and strength tolerances, so you shoud make sure you don't fall into the trap of setting the same weight on every machine.

And IMO, for most of exercises/machines 10lbs is extremely light. A lot of the machines in my gym don't even start at less than 20 lb.

As far as intensity, the rule of thumb that I've read the most (and that I follow) is that you should lift enough weight that by the end of your 2nd (or 3rd) set, it should be difficult to finish - not impossible, just difficult. If you can get thru your 2 or 3 sets w/out struggling at the end, you're lifting too light.

I also agree that getting a trainer might be worthwhile - even if you don't do it long term. Saving up and paying for 2 or 3 sessions for someone to show you HOW to use the machines, what the proper form is, and help you work out a routine that you can do ... changing up and swapping around as you need to ... would be well worth the money.


04-27-2008, 12:52 AM
Thanks for all the great info!

Photochick.. I see what you are saying. WHat I am using the 10lb dumbbells for is for upper body: biceps curls, shoulder shrugs, triceps extentions (overhead) and a "shoulder combo raise" I picked out of a magazine (lift up, back down, and then to the side). Maybe I am not working all the right muscles. I could probably do the shrugs with a heavier weight. I can do about 12-14 of each until I cant do another one. One the combo raise I can only do about 5-6. I do 2 sets each.

My lower body exercises are" lying abduction (leg lifts basically, no weights) and calf raises. I just started doing the calf raises holding the dumbbells. I cannot do any weight bearing, knee bending, knee lifting exercises due to severe knee problems so I also do a floor quad press against a towel, and I ride the recumbent stationary bike 30 min 6x/week.

My core exercises are crunches, a standing spinal twist and a standing side bend holding a towel overhead. I got these off sparkpeople.

I guess I need some back and chest exercises in there don't I. I do not have any machines.

One thing I may have been doing wrong is this. I would do one set of biceps curls and instead of sitting there doing nothing for a rest time, I would switch and do the shoulder shrugs, then back to another set of curls (no rest). I do this thorugh my whole routine: curls, shurgs, curls, shrugs, triceps, calf raises, triceps, calf raises, leg lifts, crunches... etc etc without really any rest time in between. I started doing this because I felt like I could get it done faster this way. Is this wrong? Do I need to actually just sit there and do nothing in between each set?

I am also looking over on the other forum for info and looking at the books you all recommended on amazon, reading the reviews etc.

Thank you!

04-27-2008, 12:59 AM
It's ok to not rest between sets if you're exercising different muscles each time... but if you're doing sets of exercises that work the same muscles, you need the rest between sets.

Also you shouldn't weight train every day. What makes you stronger and builds muscle is the *recovery* ... the healing of the damage done to the muscles. If you weight train every day, your muscles never get a chance to grow stronger and instead they just continue to be damaged.

So do remember to take a day off between weight lifting sessions.


04-27-2008, 01:02 AM
Thanks, Photochick. I do Mon-Weds-Fri. I think I would DIE if I tried to do more :)
(coming from a woman who spent the last decade sitting on the couch binging on cheetos and brownie batter).