Weight and Resistance Training - Starting today.. with ~sigh~ machines




KicknKnit
06-06-2011, 10:51 AM
Hey all...

despite my best efforts, I cannot get anyone at my branch of the Y to show me how to use the free weights... also, I looked at the plates they have there and the smallest plate is 25... which means 50lbs plus the bar is the lightest I could lift. I know this is more than I can handle right now.

I have made a personal commitment to hit the machines twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and use my kettlebells once a week (Friday). I have a 10lb and a 20lb kettlebell as well as the copy of Body Sculpting with Kettlebells for women. I need to make it a habit to get to the gym to train because I don't do it at home. (Also, been paying a membership and not using the equipment for too long..)

My goal, at this point is to "lift" as much and as heavy as I can in the shortest amount of time on the machines....

For those of you who use the machines, what do you think are the best ones for as much of a "whole body" workout I can get? What are your favorites and why? I would like to be efficient at this. I'm hoping the kettlebells will add the stabilization effect that I would get from lifting free weights. The goal is to "graduate" to the free weights when I get stronger and more comfortable in the gym. (because intimidation is a bit of a factor here)

(does this make any sense?)

Thanks!


Tejas
06-06-2011, 11:02 AM
Why use the KBs only one time a week? The KB swing is an amazing total body exercise. Why not use the heavier weight and do 3 sets of 10, 3 times a week, if you can.

KicknKnit
06-06-2011, 11:16 AM
Why use the KBs only one time a week? The KB swing is an amazing total body exercise. Why not use the heavier weight and do 3 sets of 10, 3 times a week, if you can.

Honestly?

I "forget".

I'm hoping to set a routine where I get to the gym on a regular basis. I need to build a new habit and working out at home doesn't seem to do it.

My partner will be going with me to the gym and the plan is that we prod each other into going.

ETA: I could, though do the swings when I get home from the gym.. that would make it three times a week.


fitness4life
06-06-2011, 12:05 PM
kick - As a fitness trainer at my local Y, I'm appalled that no one effectively helped you with the dumbbells. That is what we are SUPPOSED to do! There should be a suggestion box somewhere around there. Write a complaint.

Do they have an assisted pull up machine? If not, Lat pull downs are efficient for upper body. Doing squats and lunges with small dumbbells in either hand are efficient for lower body.

The machines lack in challenging the stablizers - tendons and ligaments - and they only target one specific muscle, usually. Also, machines are criticized for exercising the body in ways that we don't normally move. For instance, when have we ever used our quads in the way that a leg extension machine has you lift? Be that as it may, it will still strengthen your quads.

My fav machines are assist pull up, lat pull down, hip flexor (5 ways to work your butt), pulley (used for tri extension, and so, so so much more), and pec flies-rear delt machine, but I use the others, too, when I have to.

Good luck! Try to lift 3 x a wk.

KicknKnit
06-06-2011, 12:26 PM
kick - As a fitness trainer at my local Y, I'm appalled that no one effectively helped you with the dumbbells. That is what we are SUPPOSED to do! There should be a suggestion box somewhere around there. Write a complaint.

Maybe I need to get more in their face. I've asked at the front desk who sent me to the wellness director.. who had left for the night.. so I emailed him at her suggestion. Then radio silence. They are notoriously disorganized there. Makes me crazy. When I first joined and took advantage of one of my three wellness visits I specifically asked "can you show me the free weights". and they guy says "oh no.. you don't want to start there. You could get hurt.. let's start you on the machines." I should have insisted. I'm probably not being my best advocate here.

Mostly I see women with the 3lb vinyl dumbells... no women on the free weights.. ever.

The machines lack in challenging the stablizers - tendons and ligaments - and they only target one specific muscle, usually. Also, machines are criticized for exercising the body in ways that we don't normally move. For instance, when have we ever used our quads in the way that a leg extension machine has you lift? Be that as it may, it will still strengthen your quads.


I had heard this and I do believe it... I really do hope to get there... I think a month or so after making exercising a habit, I'll start getting pushier .. maybe pay for a trainer.

Thank you for the suggestions.

Iianae
06-06-2011, 12:36 PM
WOW I think you SHOULD write a complaint into the "Suggestion Box"...your best advocate or not at MY "Y" they help you out if you ask...for sure!

When I started on the free weights it was mostly all buff men (some not so buff but still intimidating) and that could be why you don't see many women on them. Get in their face and WELCOME BACK!!!! YOU CAN DO IT!

JohnP
06-06-2011, 01:12 PM
In my opinion the odds that there is a person at your Y that can show you the proper way to do a deadlift or a squat is extremely low. Plus, if the smallest weight they have is a 25lb plate than the smallest jump in progress you could make is 50 lbs.

You mention they have dumbells? You can use these for a variety of free weight exercises that are not too difficult to learn. Lunges for example are a great lower body exercise that can be done with dumbells.

Finally - there is nothing wrong with machines.

indiblue
06-06-2011, 01:19 PM
In my opinion the odds that there is a person at your Y that can show you the proper way to do a deadlift or a squat is extremely low.

Hopefully this is specifically referring to her Y, given the lack of interest in teaching her proper technique and not Y's in general?

KicknKnit
06-06-2011, 01:43 PM
In my opinion the odds that there is a person at your Y that can show you the proper way to do a deadlift or a squat is extremely low. Plus, if the smallest weight they have is a 25lb plate than the smallest jump in progress you could make is 50 lbs.



The wellness director certainly looks like he's hit a few weights. He's not a small guy.. and he's usually very helpful.. the fact that I've not heard from him is honestly very surprising. He was the one shining light in that web of chaos.

With the machines, should I do more weight fewer reps? which is what I thought was the same idea with the free weights... thoughts?

JohnP
06-06-2011, 01:45 PM
Hopefully this is specifically referring to her Y, given the lack of interest in teaching her proper technique and not Y's in general?

Yes I was refferring to her Y specifically. Having said that - the squat and deadlift are not easy movements to learn. It's not a matter of simply "showing" someone how to use the free weights.

KicknKnit
06-06-2011, 01:48 PM
. It's not a matter of simply "showing" someone how to use the free weights.

Not sure if it's the same movement but I did take a few kettlebell classes and learned to squat with those... but not deadlift.

When I contacted the Y, I did also ask about their personal training which is different than their wellness sessions..

I'm headed there tonight.. if they don't have anyone who can/will work with me, they just need to tell me so.

fitness4life
06-06-2011, 10:28 PM
Holy frippin carp! I am horrified at your Y! Then again, our Y happens to be blessed with trainers who are not only certified, most of them are degreed as well.

I teach beginning weight training and we start with free weights. Like in The New Rules For Women's Weight Lifting, you've simply got to "train to train". The stabilizers, when they get strong, are what prevents us from hurting ourselves! You can more efficiently work the stabilizers with free weights than you can with machines.

Think if it. You strengthen one specific muscle with the machines. The muscle gets stronger yet the stabilizers don't as much. NOW, your body has an even bigger potential to injure itself because your muscles can pull more than your stabilizers can support!

I'm not super surprised, though. The Y can't pay well so the people who work there use that job until they get a better one. It's like a revolving door at our Y sometimes.

Definitely talk to the director. He needs to know he hired a doof.

indiblue
06-06-2011, 11:57 PM
Yes I was refferring to her Y specifically. Having said that - the squat and deadlift are not easy movements to learn. It's not a matter of simply "showing" someone how to use the free weights.

Totally agree. It's why I usually avoid deadlifts; they are incredible exercises but I don't trust my form.

fitness4life
06-07-2011, 12:16 PM
I suppose I don't find squats and deadlifts difficult because of my background. I learned how to properly do them years ago and yet I always check my form in the mirrors or grab another person to critique me.

The Y trainers are supposed to go around and check form for people without even being asked. It's not only safe, but it builds better client relationships and helps them spend more money on donations and classes, too. :)

Back to the OP, you can do the machines, but don't be afraid to learn on your own how to work with free weights. Always lift light for the first 3 weeks and work on form and preparing your stabilizers. Once you're confident in your form, and you can lift without feeling wobbly, then up the weight.

KicknKnit
06-07-2011, 12:28 PM
thank you everyone..

we did the "circuit" last night. I didn't realize they had that all set up. Pretty cool..

I tend to have anxiety in new situations. Already, I'm eyeballing the free weight section and I think, after a little time getting comfortable I'm going to start pushing for someone to give me the "tour"

On a side note: I observed some rather interesting behaviors in the machine area. (Cybex machines and bicep/tricep station.. yanno the bar/pulley contraption?)

1.) one woman hopped up on the leg extension (hamstrings) machine and was chatting with one of the wellness directors.. I don't think there was ANY weight on that thing.. she just whipped out 20 extensions with minimal effort in about 10 seconds.. She could have been just sitting on a chair swinging her legs... then she hopped off and ran back to her treadmill.. was this some sort of odd stretching behavior?

2.) a guy walking around with a weight belt and gloves (yes.. for machines) and sticking the pin in the highest weight in the stack for the tricep pulldown. Then used his entire body to slam those suckers down.. 5 times FAST and then dropped them. Then looked up and around to see if anyone saw his "awesome strength". He did the same thing on the bicep curl machine.

Suddenly, I didn't feel so stupid or lame.

Lydia227
06-07-2011, 02:21 PM
KicknKnit: Sorry to hear about your Y experience. I belonged to a Y when I began and had a good experience.

You absolutely without a doubt need to learn to use the free weights. I'm not going to go into my long lecture about it but lets just say it's knowledge you can take with you anywhere in any gym. Machines vary from gym to gym. Own the knowledge to lift and you can own your own fitness.

Avoid the front desk.

Walk up to the fitness director/wellness director and tell him/her to schedule you in for freeweight training. If they hem and haw...tell them you are bringing in your own personal trainer as a guest on your next visit. Your experience in trying to get help is simply unacceptable. :hug:

I hate to approach people for help too so I understand this is tough but really, it's going to be worth insisting over.

Once you learn the very basics...and I'm telling you that's probably all your going to get....study study study online. There are a lot of really great sites available for learning this that give you verbal cues to think about once you are in the gym...Crossfit has some good videos, Mark Rippetoe is another good one. Look in the library for his book: Starting Strength...the information is out there and it will help you to brush up on this before you spend money on a trainer.

My approach was the learn as much as I could on my own. Then, I outlined what I wanted the trainer to critique and to help me perfect. That way, I wasn't just "hoping" that they might hit the movements that I thought were important for my success.

Boy. I feel for ya. :(

KicknKnit
06-07-2011, 03:27 PM
Lydia, thank you.

I didn't see the Wellness director (who I emailed two weeks ago) in the Y at all last night. I will definatley hit him up the next time I see him.

Also, I've read a lot of Stumputous. I borrowed "New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women" from the library and currently working through "Weight Lifting for Dummies".

Any other suggestions?

JohnP
06-07-2011, 04:22 PM
Here is my suggestion for you to read. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/beginning-weight-training-part-1.html)

KicknKnit
06-07-2011, 05:04 PM
Here is my suggestion for you to read. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/beginning-weight-training-part-1.html)

Thanks!

mj5
06-15-2011, 01:22 PM
Are you sure you weren't at MY gym?? LOL! I have to laugh at the people who sit or lean on the weights as I am moving through my circuits, then complain loudly that they have been there "for THREE hours"...

CeciliaM
06-18-2011, 02:07 AM
Machines are a waste because it only uses one or two muscles. Free weights are best because you have to use your legs and abs too. I don't know what kind of gym you're at, but if it's available do a BodyPump class - Weights resistence that works and tones every part of your body. It also means you can't slack off. weights at least 3 times and week and combine with an aerobic exercises, like stepclass. Good luck.

KicknKnit
06-21-2011, 10:30 AM
well folks,

After a week off due to .. well a sick dog who kept me up for hours all week and a generally crappy feeling, I'm back at the gym

Did the machines last night.. and I know that they aren't the all over body work out, I do feel like I've done something.. my muscles are defiantely sore.. will do some kettlebell swings tonight for a little change up.

One thing I *did* notice last night were two women over in the freeweight section.. one was working out with a guy and the other was being shown the cable machine by one of the wellness people.

So, my goal now is to get into the habit of going to the Y and yes this will be machines for a while because my partner and I are going together and if we go and work into each other sets we actually go.. so until that habit of working out is formed we are stuck together like glue... after that, I'm going to work on transitioning to the free weights even if I need to chase someone down to get some attention.

Tejas
06-21-2011, 11:21 AM
:rofl: We must ALL go to the same gym!!!!