Weight and Resistance Training - Subbing Exercises/Home Gym Update

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07-05-2008, 11:57 PM
A trainer gave me a program, which I'm doing. But I don't always feel like going to the gym now that I have my workout room all set up and I have most of what I need to do the workouts at home. I've bugged the trainer with a lot of questions lately and I'll ask him about this stuff when I see him, but for now I thought I'd ask here.

After all those posts about gym equipment, I bought this used:


Love it! It came in about 600 pieces, so just the fact that I managed to assemble it by myself was a huge ego boost.

However, it's a pain to move the bench and put the triceps rope on after doing the exercises immediately prior, which use the bench. So:

Are triceps dips off the weight bench a good substitute for using a triceps rope (20 lbs) on a cable machine?

Another is the chest press. Can I sub push-ups and get the same results?

I have a Total Gym that I use for seated rows because the big machine has upper and lower pulleys but no mid-level pulleys, so I'm hanging onto the Total Gym just for seated rows and for working up to a pull-up. I don't really have space for it, though -- would kneeling in front of the big machine and doing seated rows off the floor-level pulley be as good as a seated row on a regular machine, do you think? The angle of the cable will be a little different.

On a related note, I am loving my home gym. It has a concrete floor, which I covered in indoor-outdoor carpet (the dog is not allowed in there alone! She can't be trusted on new carpet). There is a big window that looks down on the street, which I like because I'm nosy and my neighbors are always up to something odd and interesting, plus there's a long-haired, shirtless hottie across the street who hangs out in an inflatable pool in his yard, sometimes with his long-haired, shirtless hottie buddies. It's a small room and the machine takes up most of the space. I'm keeping the Total Gym folded up when not in use; otherwise, there'd be no room for bodyweight exercises. The only other things in the room are a small TV and a big stereo. I have an Olympic bar and a standard bar, a couple of dumbbell handles, and an assortment of weights, plus some odds and ends (xertube, stability ball, and I'm picking up foam rollers and a balance board this week). All it lacks are mirrors, which I'll put up as soon as I find some big cheap ones on Craig's List.

It used to be a junk room that bothered me every time I walked by it. Now, it's the calmest, most organized and peaceful place in my house. I love my new room! It's the GlamaZone.

07-06-2008, 01:46 AM
I'm not sure why you are substituting exercises that you have the equipment to do.

If you didn't have the equipment, then yes, those substitions would work (although I'm not a big fan of bench dips because they the stress put on the shoulders is a risk/reward type of thing). Pushups are always a great exercise, however, if your trainer wanted you doing pushups instead of chest press, he would have programmed pushups. I'm sure he had a reason for doing so.

07-06-2008, 09:55 AM
I don't have a chest press and the big machine won't do seated rows. I can do the triceps rope, though. I didn't know about dips stressing the shoulders, so that's great information.


07-06-2008, 11:08 AM
I like dips unless you already have shoulder issues. If it hurts...don't do it. One of the advantages of dips is that you can make them easier or harder and involve more muscles than just your triceps. Rope pushdown or overhead pulls are really an isolation exercise- great for the tri's but only for the tri's unless you are using such a heavy weight that it also becomes an ab exercise (and 20 pounds on a cable shouldn't stress your abs).

With bench dips you can vary your hand position, put your feet together or apart, put your feet up on a stability ball or a second bench, use one leg, hold a dumbbell in your lap. The variations are endless. BUT...when my shoulders were fragile from too many heavy bench presses, dips were out of the question.

As for seated row, why do them if you have dumbbells or a bar? And yes, you can SIT on the floor with your feet braced and use a low cable. My preference is really for unilateral exercises with each side done separately using the same weight. If one side of your body is stronger, it will inevitably "take over" and do more of the work so that the net effect is even less balance and symmetry. I think dumbbell or long bar one armed rows are preferable to a two armed seated row if you are picking only one of these exercises to do.

Push ups are great! One of the reasons that many trainers don't include them in programs is because of gym layouts and cleanliness. Very often, in a machine oriented gym, there really isn't anywhere to do floor exercises. I've worked out at gyms where my reaction to getting down on the floor to do push ups was YUCK! I'd never ask a client to do this, it's filthy down here! And I have a high tolerance for dirt and dust :lol: Aside from the issue that if you workout at peak times in a crowded gym, you are just plain in the way if you are doing anything not on a machine or a bench. I don't like those kinds of gyms, but I think they are the norm.


07-06-2008, 08:19 PM
Hmm, yes. The stabilty balls in my gym are kept in a place where there is no room to use them! (Also, right outside the men'd locker room - but that's another issue!) You have to take the ball and go somewhere. The best place is of course the aerobics room, which is seldom in use when I'm there, but it's upstairs, not a big thing, but a nuisance. Why not keep them there? There's plent of room. I'm not sure this building was designed to be a gym. All of the cardio equipment, the aerobics room, some large machines, and a whole free weights set up are upstairs! There is another free weight area downstairs, as well as the more traditional machines and a large cable setup. I just don't understand the upstairs at all. It's open in the middle, and they've hung the TVs for watching while you do cardio there. But they are too small and thus hard to watch, at least if you have eyesight as bad as mine. Just a diversion about a strange layout. Resume your discussion. :)

07-06-2008, 11:55 PM
That's interesting about the stronger side taking over. My upper body is okay, but my lower body is weak on one side and, since the PT pointed that out to me, I started noticing how much of my weight I carry on my left side.

As indicated by my user name, this is not the first time I've been down the road of health and good choices. But I've learned so much every time. This time, I think I've learned the most -- last time I did veggies, but looking back over 2-year old Fitday records (which I did the other night), my diet was also loaded with processed diet foods; now I focus on whole foods. This time I've gotten interested in lifting, thanks to this sub-forum, and I've learned more about my body than I ever knew before.

I'm 46, so I'm glad to be learning these things now. I feel that I am building a foundation now for good health when I'm 60, 70, 80, 90... and beyond!