Weight and Resistance Training - Good starting weights




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Shannon in ATL
12-08-2008, 12:06 PM
I do my exercising at home for right now, and am going to buy some dumbells to add to the ones I have. (I have 5lb and 8lb, they came with some aerobics kit I bought forever ago.) Any suggestions on a few basic sizes to buy? I know that everyone uses different weights on different things - I have a Weider home gym that uses the resistance cables and I use dramatically different amounts of resistance from exercise to exercise.

I'm also thinking about one of those pullup bars that hooks to a door frame, anyone used one before?


RealCdn
12-08-2008, 12:31 PM
If you can afford them, I'd go for adjustable dumbbells. I have a pair of powerblocks, but I think nautilus makes them as well. You're going to get a lot more flexibility and won't have storage problems with multiple dumbbells. The ones I have go from 5-lbs to 50-lbs. Oh, and I have a pull-up/chin-up bars, got it (of all places) at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I'm using it with an assistance band (and still not there yet), but it's quite easy to use.

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=16159433

nelie
12-08-2008, 12:36 PM
I can't do pullups yet but even attempting to will help you. If you have someone to assist you, you could do a quasi assisted pullup.

Adjustable weights could be good. I don't have any.

The weights I have are 5lbs, 8lbs, 10lbs, 12lbs, 15lbs and 20lbs. Although from now on, I'm not buying any more dumbbells, I'm only going to buy kettlebells because you can do a lot with them. I have a 15lb, 20lb, 25lb, 35lb and 45lb kettlebell which have filled in some of the weight gaps. I plan to buy another 20lb and 25lb kettlelbell sometime soon.


PhotoChick
12-08-2008, 12:43 PM
I have 8, 10, 15 (2 of each) ... I would love to swap them out for a set of adjustable ones, but at this point it's not worth the money. If I didn't have my gym membership, I'd consider it.

I also would love a couple of different kettlebell sizes .. but that's going to have to wait for a while.

At this point the 8lb weights are just too light for anything effective for me except maybe for holding on to for lunges. But if you're just starting out with weights, or just getting back into them, they might be ok.

Ok, so back to your question ... I'd get some 10lb or 12lb and at least one 15 and one 20 - I find I use the 20 and even the 25 at the gym for things like overhead tricep extensions and for stepups when I can hold the one weight in front of me with both hands.

.

Tomato
12-08-2008, 01:20 PM
I have 8,10,12 and 15 (a pair of each) but I sort of regret that I did not spring for adjustable ones from the very beginning.
But then again, I go to the gym so I can utilize the weights there.

JulieJ08
12-08-2008, 01:28 PM
OK, what about benches? I have NO room to leave one out. My coffee table is not sturdy. Are there collapsible ones that would go under a bed (and not a terribly high bed either)? Is one really necessary or at least really nice to have? I've done weight training before, but never at home. So I benched at the gym, and I've just never tried to do a workout without one.

Shannon in ATL
12-08-2008, 01:34 PM
I've wondered the same thing about benches... My coffee table isn't very sturdy either, though it is a good height for tricep dips combined with my chair. :)

I'm thinking maybe adjustable ones, if I can find them for a reasonable price... Unless I stumble on some individual ones for a great deal.

Anne, that is the same pullup bar I'm looking at on Amazon.com - is it hard to install?

Photo - silly question, what is a 'stepup'? What it sounds like I imagine? What do you step up on?

PhotoChick
12-08-2008, 01:43 PM
Benches - when I work out at home, I use a dining room chair ... I just face forward or back, depending on what I'm doing.

Stepup - pretty much what it sounds like. :) At the gym I use a bench for stepping, at home I use a dining room chair.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5mE3yAUre8

The hardest part is NOT using your back foot to push off with. I combat that by not going all the way down on my back step - just letting my toes graze the ground and then stepping back up.

.

nelie
12-08-2008, 01:48 PM
I bought a cheap bench, cost $50 and is Danskin brand. It folds up and is adjustable. It served us well when we had limited room and I'd feel comfortable using it for dumbbells. We upgraded to a heavy duty bench when we got our home gym system.

PhotoChick
12-08-2008, 01:52 PM
Actually, come to think of it, I have a step system with lifts ... right now it's under the bed. I could use it for step ups and other things. I keep forgetting I have it.

Huh. Go figure.

.

JulieJ08
12-08-2008, 01:59 PM
Benches - when I work out at home, I use a dining room chair ... I just face forward or back, depending on what I'm doing. .

Huh, I wouldn't have thought of that. I guess you're only talking about an incline press then? (not supine).


Stepup - pretty much what it sounds like. :) At the gym I use a bench for stepping, at home I use a dining room chair.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5mE3yAUre8

The hardest part is NOT using your back foot to push off with. I combat that by not going all the way down on my back step - just letting my toes graze the ground and then stepping back up.

.

Wow, a dining room chair seems so high for that. And hard on the chair :dizzy:

PhotoChick
12-08-2008, 02:01 PM
Wow, a dining room chair seems so high for that.The higher the step, the more it works your glutes. :) I have ulterior motives.

I never actually thought about it being hard on the chair - but I have these old, solid maple chairs that were my g'mothers. They're pretty darned sturdy. The only thing is I have ot move them either to the living room rug or upstairs on the carpet. Because they have felt tips on the legs and so they slide on the hardwoods.

.

JulieJ08
12-08-2008, 02:08 PM
The higher the step, the more it works your glutes. :) I have ulterior motives. .

Oh geez, and I was just noticing this morning that my butt is getting even flatter. Well, not flatter, just flat ;).

I never actually thought about it being hard on the chair - but I have these old, solid maple chairs that were my g'mothers. They're pretty darned sturdy. The only thing is I have ot move them either to the living room rug or upstairs on the carpet. Because they have felt tips on the legs and so they slide on the hardwoods.

.

My chairs are sturdy. I was thinking more of the finish.

My butt-building may have to take priority over my chair's finish ;)

sportmom
12-08-2008, 03:48 PM
The FIRM sells a step that is standard height when flat and then when you extend the foldable risers is like 24" high - about a coffee table I would say, but shorter than my bench. I use that for risers. You can get it (with some dvds) at Target or probably many other places. It would fold away for you. It's big - you could probably lie on it as well. I use mine for step-ups and, oh yeah, you can feel it. I felt like I had buttock rods the whole rest of the week from just one session.

WaterRat
12-08-2008, 05:54 PM
I have a step from when I did step aerobics at home (not a pretty sight!) and still use occasionally for step ups with the risers. I could never use a chair as I cannot put that much weight on my knee. I have trouble even getting out of the swimming pool on the ladder. That last step over the drain rail is too high to have my knee carry the weight.

My home weights go up to 12. I'm considering adjustable eventually. Right now I'm using the gym more so I just use what I need from the several free weight areas. I don't have a bench at home, nor do I have room for one. We have a stationary bike, plus the step and some dumbbells.

BabyFatGone
12-08-2008, 06:39 PM
I use my treadmill for step ups. Not as high as a chair, but with 20lbs weight stepping up 5-6 inches kicks my butt!

Mel
12-08-2008, 09:09 PM
At home, I use a stability ball instead of a bench. You can't step on it, but it is otherwise very versatile. I also have a Reebok step from back in the step aerobic days. I find that really useful both as a bench, and a step.

Mel

RealCdn
12-09-2008, 12:40 AM
Anne, that is the same pullup bar I'm looking at on Amazon.com - is it hard to install?

Yes, that's the one. It's easy to install, with one concern. You really need a door frame approx. 1/2" wide. I didn't have one in the basement (where I wanted to use it). The only really suitable door frame was less than 1/4" and I really didn't feel secure with it (although it did hold). So between the laundry room and the bar I took of the thin trim and attached a 2x4 to the beam. It doesn't look pretty, but it's definitely secure. What I should have probably done is replace the trim on the bathroom door. However, that just seemed like more work (and painting the trim), so this seemed easier.

At home, I use a stability ball instead of a bench. You can't step on it, but it is otherwise very versatile.

I do the same with a stability bar. I only do dumbbell presses though because I'm not that stable on it, and not sure that doing barbell presses would be safe (no spotter).

Shannon in ATL
12-09-2008, 11:47 AM
Wow - I don't know if I'm balanced enough to do dumbell presses on a stability ball... Sounds pretty cool though...

I found an adjustable Bowflex dumbell set that I want, so I'm saving my Christmas money for them. I picked up a $35 set last night at Target that has plates that you can take on and off to total up to 30 pounds, so I'm going to use that until after the holidays. I'm also going to try to use my Weider more, make the compound exercises I want to do work instead of the assortment of isolation exercises on the demo dvd.

I did stepups yesterday on the Weider bench, and they were harder than I was prepared for. :)

PhotoChick
12-09-2008, 11:55 AM
OH the first time I did stepups I thought ... psha... how hard can that be?

Uh huh. Kicked my a$$. Literally. :)

.

Lydia227
12-09-2008, 12:45 PM
The step ups will become easier. Really. I promise. But when they do you can just use those new adjustable dumbells, place them on your shoulders and feel that challenge all over again. :devil: The best part is it makes everyday stepping up into places surprisingly graceful. You will not need to grap onto something to hoist yourself up and inside somewhere. In my everyday activities I have to step up and into my pantry about twenty times a day and I always get a kick out of how easy that is now. Lets here it for strong glutes, hamstrings, and quads. :carrot:

Another good bench exercise for the legs is the split squat. http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Quadriceps/BBSingleLegSplitSquat.html

PhotoChick
12-09-2008, 12:53 PM
In my everyday activities I have to step up and into my pantry about twenty times a dayAs a photographer, I do a lot of stepping up and down too, and it really helps to not have to hold on to anything any more. When I've got 2 camera in hand, a bag over my shoulder, and need to just step up on a chair or whatever ... it's SUCH A huge difference.

When I first started working out, it was because I wanted to be able to keep doing my job for a long time. I never ever ever realized how these changes were going to make my job so much easier over the long haul.

It's so amazing to me every time I go out to shoot now, how different it feels.

.

Shannon in ATL
12-09-2008, 03:23 PM
Yeah, the stepups I did yesterday were weight free and as I did them I thought to myself that once I got used to these I would add weight and how much fun that would be.:dizzy: I don't have to stepup in daily life as much as I used to when I was in the restaurants every day, but I do it often enough that not having to hold onto something will be nice....

My hamstrings or hips or something are really tight - I can't lean over and touch my toes without bending my knees, even after exercising for an hour. Sometimes after a lot of yoga I can get down to where I can wrap my hands around my ankles, but not consistently. What can I do to increase flexibility there? Oddly, I have a great roundhouse kick - I can squarely hit the bag with the top of my foot/ankle at forehead height.

Does what I did last night look good? Any suggested changes or additions? Too much, too little?
-squats using the squat bar on the Weider, 2x15
-15 pushups, rest, 10 more pushups
-standing row with middle pulleys on Weider, 2x15
- 10 more pushups
- stepup - 2x15
- lateral pulldown (seated), Weider 1x15
- reverse grip lateral pulldown (seated), Weider 1x15
-chest fly, Weider, 1x15
- shoulder press, Weider, 1x10 - hurt my shoulder pretty bad so I stopped
- french press, Weider, 2x15
- ab crunches, Weider, 30
- oblique crunces, Weider, 30
- tricep dips, 20

In looking back at that, I don't know how that only took 35 minutes. I don't think I rested enough... I need to go into this with a plan written down so I have a focus instead of being all spread out...

I can definitely feel today that I worked out yesterday - I did 45 minutes of kickboxing after the above as my cardio, so got more legwork in there, too.

PhotoChick
12-09-2008, 03:28 PM
Here's what I did yesterday. I'm moving to logging in my Excel spreadsheet so I can keep better track.

12/8/2008
Upper Body
Dumbell Bench Presses 10x2 3/12
Wide Grip Lat Pulldowns 50 3/12
Military Presses 15x2 3/12
EZ Bar Barbell Curls 30 2/10
Overhead Tricep Extension 15 3/12
Chest Press Machine 35 3/12

Cardio Treadmill mixed / 5k 30 mins

The first number is the weight, then sets/reps. I do between 45-60 seconds rest between sets, depending on how shaky my arms feel. :)

And I always finish with 100 of something for my core - last night it was a combination of ball crunches, oblique crunches, leg lifts, and 2 20 second planks.

.

JulieJ08
12-09-2008, 03:41 PM
My hamstrings or hips or something are really tight - I can't lean over and touch my toes without bending my knees, even after exercising for an hour. Sometimes after a lot of yoga I can get down to where I can wrap my hands around my ankles, but not consistently. What can I do to increase flexibility there?

How often are you stretching them, with what stretch, and for how long?

I started out *very* inflexible, and Monday I actually touched my forehead to my shins (doing that forward stretch, sitting on the floor)! I was kinda stalled at the same flexibility in my hams for a long time, and then recently it improved again. Kinda like weight loss ;). But I really work the heck out of my legs and hips, yoga stretching wise.

Sometimes with those forward bends, if you're not careful, you're stretching your back more than your hams. If you have a hard time not doing that, try lying on your back, and then raising one leg to vertical to stretch your hams. While you're inflexible, use a strap over the sole of the foot because you won't be able to reach the toes/foot to grasp them. This pose forces you to keep your back straight (don't lift up off your shoulders). See:

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/483

With the forward bends (standing and especially sitting), I hold a good long time. Used to be 20 breaths (which would be over a minute), then 30, then 45. I'm up to 60 breaths now in the sitting forward bend. But I focus on stretching different aspects during that time, including the back.

PhotoChick
12-09-2008, 03:50 PM
If you have a hard time not doing that, try lying on your back, and then raising one leg to vertical to stretch your hams. While you're inflexible, use a strap over the sole of the foot because you won't be able to reach the toes/foot to grasp them. This pose forces you to keep your back straight (don't lift up off your shoulders).Oh that's a great tip. I need to start doing that. Thanks! :)

* off mumbling to myself looking for those damn straps that I know I tucked under the bed with my old Reebok step stuff *

.

RealCdn
12-09-2008, 08:04 PM
I'm horrible at evaluating good/bad workouts. I've been using Power Training to build mine recently. What I did today took me 75mins including the rest time.

1: One-arm Dumbbell Snatch - 35t/5, 35t/5, 35t/5, 35t/5
2: Forward Lunge - 55t/5, 55t/5, 55t/5, 55t/5
3: Romanian Deadlift - 160t/5, 160t/5, 160t/5, 165t/5
4: Side to Side Push-up - 5, 5, 5, 5
5: Bent-over Row - 140t/5, 130t/5, 130t/5, 130t/5
6: Dumbbell Alternating Press - 35e/5, 35e/5, 35e/5, 35e/5
7: Negative Chin-ups - 5, 5, 5, 5
8: Seated Russian Twist - 25t/5, 25t/5, 25t/5, 25t/5
9: Four-point Plank - 45sec, 45sec, 45sec, 45sec

I think it looks more impressive than it was. :D

Shannon in ATL
12-09-2008, 09:19 PM
Julie - I'm not stretching long enough, I know. I do a lot of standing forward bends, but usually only the ones in the yoga routines that move quickly to something else. I don't do a lot of the sitting bends because I usually can't bend sitting. I do have straps - I need to use those. I just did the vertical leg raise for the first time on Sunday - another yoga video, this one was a Rodney Yee AM video that actually holds each pose for longer. It sounds like you have a yoga routine of your own without videos, right? I think to increase the flexibility I need to do that sometimes instead of going so fast. On the standing forward bend - I read that you can put a book under your feet to raise your heels as a beginner step in the forward bend, I've also read put a strap under your feet and do the bend. What do you think would do better for the hamstrings?

Photo - do you work different parts of the body on different days?
Anne, it does look impressive! :)

PhotoChick
12-09-2008, 09:25 PM
Photo - do you work different parts of the body on different days?Yeah. I alternate upper body and lower body. Although, technically the lower body stuff is a little more whole body than the upper body, if that makes sense.

ON lower body days I do squats, deadlifts, lunges, stepups, leg presses, etc.

Then I do core work every day, even on non-lifting days.

.

JulieJ08
12-09-2008, 09:54 PM
Shannon, yeah, I pretty much cobbled together my own routine, and it's changed over time too.

I don't know about using a strap with the standing forward bend. Seems like that would encourage a lot of pulling and back-rounding. Do you have yoga blocks? I think I would use those by your feet. Even a chair - rest your forearms on the seat, and concentrate on keeping your lower back unrounded. I find it helps a little to think not so much of trying to reach the floor or your feet, as to think of lifting your seat higher. That seems to encourage more of the hip flexing instead of the back. Same tip when doing Downward Facing Dog. Which, by the way, is also great for the hams if you try letting your heels drop.

I know I never realized this, but most people who aren't naturally flexible or not trained don't have more than 90 degrees of flexion at the hips, if even a full 90. It seems like we do, until you take out the rounding of the back! The supine stretch really shows you how much flexion you have truly from the hips.