Weight and Resistance Training - Intro, and a question about grip, wrists, and forearms




erin9598
06-22-2012, 04:36 PM
I should introduce myself here because I haven't actually been to the forums for several months and was not doing any kind of resistance training then. I joined here last year sometime and started trying to lose weight AGAIN. It wasn't that I was unsuccessful at keeping weight off, it was that I had been unsuccessful at losing it at all after my son was born 8 years ago. In fact I quit smoking and used it as an excuse to eat more and packed on even more weight. I initially lost about 20 pounds and then just sort of worked on some lifestyle changes without really trying specifically to lose weight and somehow lost another 10. I initially spent awhile breaking my addiction to diet soda, then started working on mostly eating clean, and have increased my personal activity level through fun things like more scuba diving, kayaking, etc. I didn't lose much weight although I think my overall body composition has changed, so I can't really complain too much. Of course I am sure it wasn't just the cardio and endurance of those activities. I helped work in the shop a day or two a week and spent a lot of time lifting numerous scuba tanks, filling them, climbing up and down with them to load them onto a truck or boat.

I finally decided a couple weeks ago it is time to kick things into gear and get into the gym. Even at 211 pounds currently and still at least 60 pounds overweight, I now have nicely rounded shoulders and can see the definition of my biceps and triceps when moving. I used to lift many years ago, but always thought cardio was the way to go to lose weight so I haven't tried it again. Unfortunately, it took me too many years of going to the gym for a couple months and getting on the elliptical for 90+ minutes at a time before I realized that this just wasn't going to work for me. All that cardio alone and not eating clean but trying to "diet" got me was a nice round shape.

After a few months of doing nothing more than climbing up and down while holding a 30lb scuba cylinder in each hand a couple times a week, as well as being generally active in life, I looked at myself in the mirror and realized I think my body actually looks better and more sculpted than it did 12 years ago at 30 pounds lighter. My waist is now a full 11 inches smaller than my hips (although I attribute a lot of that just to simply eating clean). I have dropped a couple of clothing sizes although I still have a long way to go. I look better, feel better, and have way more self confidence. I realize that a lot of what I was doing was essentially functional excercises and things like stepping up into the truck with tanks was like stepping onto a bench with dumbbells.

I started off with a body part split of chest/tris, back/biceps, and leg shoulders, repeat then take a day off. It is what I had always done before but now it seems a lot of the current info says it might be too much. I will probably continue as is since I feel so fabulous physically and mentally and then I can make changes gradually to see how they work. I don't have any interest at all in sprinting toward the finish line here and could care less how long it takes me to lose the weight as long as I am working towards being as healthy as I can be. Weight training is obviously the way to go for maximizing my results since in 2000 when I was doing it, and before I got pregnant with my third daughter, I was 160 pounds in a size 6.

The biggest problem I am having at this point is that my grip strength and wrist strength seems to be awful, which surprises me after carrying all those tanks. Of course they were danging from my hands actually pulling on my wrists rather than having me push against them. I can easily hold 30 pound dumbbells at each side with them hanging, but I cannot push even close to that amount of weight upward without serious burning in my forearms. After lifting my forearms feel pumped and swollen so I am hoping they will catch up, but it gets frustrated trying to do something like dumbbell flys and not being able to feel it at all in my chest before my wrists give out on me. Does anyone have any advice on working through this problem? Is it something I can expect improvement on soon or will it take a great deal of time? Is it possible that it is a problem with my grip technique itself? Interestingly they don't bother me doing things like dips and pullups, but pushups are a killer on my wrists and I can't get through a single one even on my knees. It isn't like I have some injury type pain, they actually FEEL weak and I want to make sure I don't do something wrong trying to fix it. :dizzy: Thanks for any help you can provide.


jamsk8r
06-23-2012, 02:56 PM
First, I would look at technique. For overhead or DB flyes, bench, any of that, grip the bar, wrap the thumb (no monkey grip), try to keep your wrist straight and keep the weight of the bar over the forearm when going overhead or benching. You don't want the wrists just flopping back with the weight of the bar resting on the knuckles or fingers.

Try wrist wraps or tape your wrists (snug but not so tight you cut off the circulation) for support when lifting...that should help alleviate the pain.

Since you say push-ups are causing you pain, I wonder if wrist flexibility is an issue. Lay your palm flat on the floor or on a table top, whatever, can you get your forearm into a vertical position without the heel of your hand coming off the floor/table? It should look like an "L". If you can't, then try some stretching in your warm-up and then again after your workout, to improve that. In the meantime, you can try push-up handles or use dumbells that don't roll to do push-ups. If you can't do knee push-ups, just snake it/fake it till you get stronger, that will get you out of the sticky bottom position, just finish with a nice strong/straight plank position at the top, or do push-ups on the wall to start, moving to a countertop or bench when those get easy, and work your way down to doing them on the floor. Also try keeping the elbows down closer to your ribcage, not straight out to the sides...45 or less is what you're looking for there.

Hope that helps. Congratulations on all your progress so far! If you're feeling good on that lifting schedule, go for it. I find my lifts/workouts go to crap if I go more than 3 days in a row without a rest day now, but when I first got into it, I wasn't lifting heavy enough to really take much of a toll, so I could go six days and just do the one rest day a week.

Veela
06-24-2012, 12:06 AM
Back in one of my initial attempts to lose weight I worked with w personal trainer who was constantly surprised and somewhat frustrated by my weak arms stemming from my weak wrists so she recommended I do exercises to strengthen them. Using really really light weight (I started with a can of mandarin orange slices) doing wrist curls to gradually build up strength for lifting.

For pushups because I have severe tendonitis in both wrists I can't place my hands flat on the ground it just causes a flare up of the injury. To fix this I use dumbbells on the floor and grip them while doing the push ups. It keeps my wrist nicely inline with my arm and avoids any strain or injury. It only works if you have dumbbells that are not round (hexagonal,etc.) so that they don't roll away from you.

It is also really important not to work on keeping your wrists straight for all exercises so that you don't injure them. Let them move out of alignment with your arm and you are just asking to get injured.
I have a lot of similar issues to you