Weight and Resistance Training - Need Some Advice From People Who Know!




miss_elisha
09-27-2005, 10:31 AM
I've added a weight machine to my home gym, and I absolutely love it! The only problem is, my legs aren't strong enough to do most of the leg exercises, even on the lowest setting! :o I feel like such a wimp!

The exercises I can't do include any of the ones with the ankle strap and reverse leg curls. I can't do any of the strap exercises with my arms either, but I know other exercises I can do to build up my arms, and feel more confident about my knowledge when it comes to my arms. With my leg muscles I'm pretty much clueless.

Are there any exercises you can recommend to strengthen my legs, with or without the machine?

Other equipment in my home gym includes freeweights, an elliptical, a stairclimber, mountain bikes, jogging shoes, countless videos... I know not much in the way of strength machines, but I don't think I should need another machine, and I can't really afford anything anyway. Perhaps a barbell and a bench, if those are necessary.

Also, I have a weak and sensitive lower back that I am currently trying to build up (with some help from another thread here), but I still need to be careful when lifting weights/working out.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. :strong:

~Elisha


RobertW
09-27-2005, 10:56 AM
How about Stiff-legged deadlifts and Full Squats? They should help strengthen your legs and are better than leg curls anyway.

You might start working on full squats without any weight. The deeper you can go on these the more the back of your legs will be involved.

miss_elisha
09-27-2005, 02:23 PM
Robert, thanks for your suggestions! I've never thought of squats as leg strengtheners, I guess I've just always considered them butt toners! Are lunges good too, then? Are there exercises I could do on the machine that are more beneficial, or should I just stick to upper body exercises on the machine and find other ways to work my lower body?

And before anyone asks, I do have freeweights, and I realize that they are better for me than the machine, but I never use them. The machine I use. It's just a lot more enjoyable for me. So I figure it's better to work my muscles on the machine than to not work them at all.

Anyway, I feel really dumb asking this: what's a deadlift?

I've been reading the LWL forum and I've seen the term a lot, but I'm not sure exactly what it is.

Can anyone recommend any good websites where I can find some leg-strengthening routines? I never know which ones to believe, there is so much variation of what works and what doesn't. I don't want to do something wrong and end up hurting myself.


RobertW
09-27-2005, 03:08 PM
Miss elisha: Dead Lifting (http://jva.ontariostrongman.ca/DL.htm)


Deadlifts are a fantastic exercise, well worth incorporating in anyones routine.

lilith9
09-27-2005, 05:33 PM
I've never thought of squats as leg strengtheners, I guess I've just always considered them butt toners! Elisha, you'd be surprised how challenging squats can be! I havent done them for years, actually, but since Robert is saying they're better than the leg curls (I have a Bowflex) maybe Ill start doing them again.

Also, I dont recall them doing much for my butt (I hope Im wrong, tho!) but they made my upper thighs-- the quads, if I remember the term correctly-- hurt like you-know-what.

good luck, elisha!

lilith

Mel
09-27-2005, 09:03 PM
Hi elisha :wave:
Take a look at Krista Scott Dixon's site:Krista Smash (http://www.stumptuous.com/weight.html)

Another good source of exercises with little videos showing the correct form is (http://http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html)

And here's a thread further down the page (http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=65309) all about exercises for strengthening your back.

Do you have a stability ball? They are inexpensive, extremely versatile and don't take up much space. There are lots of ways you can use it for your back (supermans, hyperextensions), for your quads (wall squats) and for your hamstrings (lying ball pulls).

Mel

miss_elisha
09-27-2005, 10:25 PM
I do have a stability ball! I forgot about that, because I never use it! I find that, despite the name, it's never really stable. :lol: I know that means I need to work on my balance, and the muscles required to balance the stupid ball, but you can't get too much work done if you keep falling off! ;)

Perhaps I should dig it out and just try some easy exercises on it, like sitting and not falling to start with.

I did read the thread about back exercises, and would like to incorporate some of those into my routine as well. I admit that I've never been consistent with strength training, so I don't really have a routine at this point. And when I do manage to do any sort of resistance work it's typically only my arms. I know I need to change that, and I want to. I want to find a total body routine that works for me, and I feel that at this point I am ready to make a more serious committment to not only losing fat but building muscle.

Mel, that Krista Smash link would not work for me. It's ok though, as I see that it point to www.stumptuous.com/(something or other), and I saw that site recommended somewhere else here on the board. I'll have to investigate it at work tomorrow where I have a high speed connection!

Thank you all for your help! This is one area where I need all the help I can get!
~Elisha

RobertW
09-28-2005, 08:35 AM
Elisha, you'd be surprised how challenging squats can be! I havent done them for years, actually, but since Robert is saying they're better than the leg curls (I have a Bowflex) maybe Ill start doing them again.

Also, I dont recall them doing much for my butt (I hope Im wrong, tho!) but they made my upper thighs-- the quads, if I remember the term correctly-- hurt like you-know-what.



I would say that is a good sign if you are feeling them more in the legs than butt; you are probably staying upright rather than leaning forward and turning the lift into a "good morning" like most lifters do. If you are also going well below parallel you should be feeling it in the back of the leg as well as the front. Deadlifts will do plenty for your gluteal development if you hit them hard.

If you are flexible enough to properly rack the bar (rest it on collar bone while grasping with hands) I think deep front squats are a great exercise. Olympic lifters use these extensively to develop their leg strength. I am really trying to work on these, although I have a long way to go to develop enough hand and wrist flexibility to properly rack the bar.

Cable work and leg curls have their place for advanced trainees "honing" there physique, but IMHO, the most productive path is to first build muscle with basic lifts like the squat, dead, row and overheadpress.

Mel
09-28-2005, 08:53 AM
Robert- from the sounds of it, she doesn't have a rack or a full bar.
Front squat are incredibly difficult for women. To do the without pain, you have to have either hypertrophied front delts or fat. wrapping a towel around the bar helps, but in my experience, makes it unbalanced and hard to pay attention to the squat.

If you are have troubles racking on front squats, learn to do it on a smith machine first. Believe me, it's still a very challenging exercise and your quads, hams and glutes will still get the same workout. hold your elbow high and place the bar across your upper front delts- not your collarbone. Once you start going heavy, the collarbone can't support the weight. Cross your hands in front of you (elbows high so the bar stays on your delts and doesn't roll to your biceps). unrack it, and hold the bar with your hands crossed.

Deep hack squats hit the muscles in exacly the same way for anyone who can't get the hang of front squats.

Mel

RobertW
09-28-2005, 09:27 AM
Thanks for the advice Mel. I am using very modest weights on the front squat (140-160#), and I have good front delts (I am a rabid OHP'er) so the resting the bar isn't an issue for me: it is the hand position. I can't hold the bar and keep my elbows high enough, so I am doing them with my arms crossed. Since I eventually want to do powerclean+pushpresses I really have to develop the flexiblity to properly rack the bar. For bodybuilding purposes doing them with your arms crossed is totally fine, although O-lifters frown upon it.

It does amaze me that some people can comfortably rack huge weights (600#+). The first couple of sessions with 140# left me with a bruised feeling on my collarbone, but now everything is fine.

Ilene
09-28-2005, 11:17 AM
I found this site a while back and it has many butt and thigh exercises that can be done at home with little or no equipment...

http://exercise.about.com/cs/butthipsthighs/l/blbutt.htm

I LOVE lunges for butt and thighs, side lunges, split lunges, back lunges all hit different parts of the leg and of course the squat with it's many variations also is excellent for strengthening the legs :strong: ...

Ilene
09-28-2005, 11:21 AM
I just found these sites with great descriptions of leg exercises :

http://www.physicalmag.com/index.php?p=9&a=3057

http://www.insidetri.com/train/cts/articles/2520.0.html

http://www.binghamton.edu/athletics/strength/legs.pdf