Weight and Resistance Training - Newbie Question on Arm Weight Lifting

09-21-2011, 09:37 AM
Hey everyone,

I'm very new to weight lifting and I have been focus on my arms since I sadly carry SO MUCH fat there. I have heard about muscle memory and needing to switch up routines so your body doesn't get used to what you are doing so I wanted to ask real quick if my routine so far seems okay ...

I go to the gym nearly every day (might be 1 day on the weekend that I don't go and I go for a long walk instead). I do 35 minutes on the elliptical, sometimes super HIT other times not so much as I'm totally exhausted from the day before.

About a week ago I started adding in weights for my arms. I do the weight machines every other day as I don't want to go overboard and kill myself. I do lateral pulldowns, fixed pulldowns, seated row, chest press, tricep extension and bicep curl. Those are the only weight machines I have tried so far.

I guess my question is - is doing the weights every other day a good way to keep your muscles guessing since it's not day after day?

Any advice? Also - since I am not doing any weight machines for legs yet - does anyone know if elliptical workouts build muscles in legs?

Thanks so much everyone!

09-21-2011, 11:52 AM
as an FYI, the pulldowns, the rows and the press do not work your arms, they are for your back, lats and chest.. so youre basically doing Upper body, not just arms. Why arent you working out your legs? I discourage you friom being dependent on the machines for strength training.. using free weights is SO MUCH better, for you, and strength and muscle development. The machines usually force you to move your body in 2 dimensional space, and our bodies dont move that way.
Also, focusing so much on your arms/upper body, because "that is where your fat is"... well...... its not going to help you lose fat from your arms, AT ALL.... in fact, training them so much may actually make your arms bigger, untill you lose the fat thats covering up the muscles. You lose the fat through diet.

09-21-2011, 12:26 PM
Congrats on starting to lift weights! It's fabulous exercise. You are right to give yourself a day off in between lifting--your muscles grow from *recovering* from lifting, not from the lifting itself.

I wouldn't worry about your muscles adapting to the exercises--that's why you keep adding weight every time (or almost every time) you work out.

And mkroyer is right that a. you should look into ditching the machines and doing free weight exercises! The seated rows and the lat pull downs are fine, but it would be better to do chest presses and military presses with free weights. (And if you're doing rows, pulldowns, chest presses and military presses, you don't need to bother with bicep curls or tricep extensions).

And b. lower body lifting is crucial! It burns way more calories than anything else, increases your muscle mass, and will generally be excellent for your metabolism and body composition. But ditch the machines and stand up: do squats, deadlifts, and lunges.

09-21-2011, 06:29 PM
I prefer free weights because the strength gains transfer over to the real world better, but machines are better than poorly executed free weight exercises. Most people in my gym have atrocious technique, and it is hard to figure out how to train free weights with out an experienced lifter helping you.

As mkroyer pointed out you can't spot reduce with weight training. I lose fat from wherever I last put it on.

Good job adding weight training to your regimen.

09-22-2011, 11:39 PM
Thank you everyone for the advice!

mkroyer - I know I can't target an area and lose weight in my arms by doing arm workouts but I figured it would be important to try to tone and firm the area, thats why I've been trying to focus on it.

I don't know why I haven't done leg workouts yet - maybe because after I do the weights I get on the elliptical and I'm afraid it would make my legs EVEN more tired than they already are .... but I DID do 3 different leg machines today so I will start doing that with the arms now.

I dont want to make my arms bigger but I feel like I can't neglect them - I really want to help firm/tone the area.

I'm way too embarrassed and have no idea how to do free weights so I'm a little discouraged that everyone is saying that thats way better than the machines. Machines cant be bad for you though, right? Lots of people use them - they are better than nothing? I hope?

09-23-2011, 12:47 AM
Honestly, the machines are a little better than nothing, but free weights are so much better.

We get that the free weight side of the gym looks a bit like a strange and hostile land, but go check it out. You can learn. :) I'd recommend watching videos on youtube and practicing the form at home. That way when you go the gym you can do your moves with confidence!

(Squats, deadlifts, lunges, crunches, dumbbell presses, chest presses, lat pulldowns, rows.)