So, I was inspired by all of you weight lifting goddesses over here and I finally decided to bite the bullet and step over to the free weight section of the gym. This inspiration was also paired with the fact that I was thoroughly displeased with the weight machines they have at the gym I signed up for over the summer (they're pretty much the only game in town) while I'm in Texas. They just didn't *feel* right. I'm not really sure that I accomplished much, considering I lifted pretty light as I knew my balance was WAY off (and boy, was it), but I'm proud. I did 2 sets, 10 reps each of bench presses with just the bar, the same number of bicep curls with 15 lb dumbbells, and the same number of shoulder presses with the 15 lb dumbbells. Then I moved over to the pulley machines for lat pull-downs and rows (should I figure out a way to do these without the pulley machines?). Now, all I need to do is read up in my NRLW book so that I can get more variety in my exercises and get some sort of routine going!
First and foremost, Congratulations on an amazing weightloss. I'm so glad you "bit the bullet" as you said and joined us on the "otherside" Was it difficult to do this? I really was for me. I actually had to ask for help from the director of my gym because I was so terrified to do this on my own. Even then I trailed behind him like I was entering something like a biker bar. Now it feels like second nature and I can't imagine my workouts or life without it.
I think your first upper body workout looks pretty good. Strength wise those bars weigh 45 pounds so this is what you were bench pressing for the first time and probably without a spotter am I right? I only do 65 but I also bench without a spotter. I'd rather choke than ask for help which is not a good thing. Shoulder presses and bicep curls with 15 is awesome. I also like to cable machine exercises such as the low row and cable cross.
As you begin to explore the free weight area you will also find that your everyday coordination will improve as well as your core strength. If you should decide to do some lifts using the Olympic bar you will want to also do some core specific training as well. Things like planks, rollouts, mountain climbers, and of course crunches.
You will also want to add some exercises for the lower body during future workouts. These can be done on the following day or on the same day so long as you are rest 48 hours between muscles groups. The NROLFW is a great book for ideas as well as www.stumptuous.com. I'm so glad you did this for yourself. Keep us posted on how you are doing.
I started doing free weights just a week ago and I am lifting a lot less than you do. [Picture me drooling with envy here]. I am going for the next round tomorrow.
Congrats on your amazing weight loss!
Dearest Schumeany: Yes, those are size 4 jeans hugging my posterior. Thank you for being such motivation!!!
Was it difficult to do this? I really was for me. I actually had to ask for help from the director of my gym because I was so terrified to do this on my own. Even then I trailed behind him like I was entering something like a biker bar.
Happy birthday, Lydia!
I had to laugh when I read what you wrote because it brought back a funny memory. Way, way back in the summer of 2001, when I was a total newbie in the gym and completely intimidated, I was in the weight room feeling like a fish out of water. One of the Big Guys walked over to me, dressed all in black, with multiple tattoos and piercings, a bandana, and silver dog chain. Here I am, fat suburban mom, convinced that I had broken some rule I didn't know about and that I was about to die.
He said: I've been watching you.
My life passed before my eyes.
Then he said he had been noticing how hard I was working in the gym and how much weight I had lost and told me to keep up the good work. He was a total sweetheart! I learned a big lesson that day: the Big Guys in the weight room are generally teddy bears and some of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet. Since then, walking into the weight room is going home for me, just like you said.
Start: 257 - June 1, 2001
Goal: 135 - May 12, 2002
Size 22/size 4
Lydia, no spotter here! I figured that if I started to get too tired, I just wouldn't try for another rep, since it was my first time. Next time my brother said that he would come and join me in the free weights, which is nice, although I don't know that I'll be much help to him as a spotter. Before, I usually split up my workout into upper body and lower body days, so that would mean that tomorrow I'll be doing squats and the like, without weights. I've been reading on www.stumptuous.com for a while now (she's so funny!), so I know better than to try squatting with weight my first time around. Oh, and transitioning over wasn't nearly as bad as I'd thought it would be (considering two of my former principals from middle and high school were working out in the same area), but then again I kept things pretty tame as far as potential for embarrassment. I stuck with exercises I was fairly familiar with. I tried doing some planks for my core workout, but I couldn't really tell if my body was straight or not. I asked my brother, but he wasn't much help... Haha. And I am VERY afraid of the squishy Swiss exercise balls. I just know I'm going to roll straight off of one of those.
Meg, I didn't think I was very strong at all, so this is news to me! I guess those months of inferior machines at the YMCA back home did *something*. Oh, and that is too funny about the tattooed guy. If someone told me that they'd been watching me, I think I'd probably have jumped to the same conclusion you did...
Location: Lyin' in a puddle of sweat on the floor.
Lindsey, good for you! I've been working with dumbbells at home, but am feeling pretty nervous about going into the free weight room at the Y, which we just joined, and trying to learn to use a barbell (with other people around, lol). I'm sure it will be fine, but in the meantime I'll have butterflies till I get it over with!
I just saunter off to free weights whenever I feel like it. Ya know ... I've had my form corrected on a few machines but NEVER while doing free weights like I was taught here at 3FC and stumptuous.com.
That's because NO ONE is goin' mess with a woman who drinks beer and eats toast as a bedtime snack. I just had to put that in there Susan. Just kidding.
I dislike machines that:
1. Lock one into a fixed range of motion, particular one that is not suited for a person's individual biomechanics. This could lead to injury.
2. Remove the need for exerciser to stabilize themselves. This could lead to injury in the real world when the person actually has to lift something and stabilize themselves at the same time.
3. Encourage a sit down workout.
With some exceptions on #3, the freemotion machines pass these tests.
Also, not all "bad" machines are always bad:
Even if they don't pass my personal litmus test, some machines are helpful in rehab situations or if you are a competing bodybuilder, then the high amounts of isolation starts to make sense.
Also even the evil smith machine as discussed in other threads has uses, but I wouldn't let anyone I cared about squat with the damn thing.
I love the Freemotion equipment. It was how I began strength training and I still use many of the machines in my rotation. Let's see, I use chest, shoulder, lats, bicep, tricep, hamstring, and squats. I generally don't use the quad because I get enough of that from the squat.
I've discovered that these machines helped me to build some base core muscles. It's really important to maintain a nice posture, sit tall with shoulders squared, while on the benches to feel the benefit of the exercises on your core muscles as well as the muscles being worked. I didn't always notice it so much during the exercise but oddly enough on the drive home in my car. I just suddenly began sitting a little straighter when I was relaxed and standing a little taller with shoulders squared when walking. Just another one of those happy surprises about how your body can change
Another great thing about these cable machines is that they teach you the correct line of movement but within your own natural range of motion. In my opinion they are a nice blend between machines and free weights. Go ahead and use the Freemotion equipment. If you are uncertain about how to correctly execute the exercises ask for demos. Seriously. And don't be embarrassed. When I learned how to do these the guy actually had to stand behind me and execute the movement with me. Yep, I'm that uncoordinated.
I have seen some really bad form on these machines and it really negates the effort. Just remember, sit tall, shoulders back and chin slightly up. Much like with free weights.
As a side note I think my favorite one is the lats. Such a great stretch and it targets the area really well for me.
One further kudo for FreeMotion machines (our gym finally got them about six months ago) ...
... you can grip the handles in positions that are much easier on your shoulders than a traditional machine grip. On a typical LifeFitness machine in my gym, your hands have to hold the grips in one fixed position, often one that stresses the rotator cuff. Plate-loaded Hammer Strength machines, which have angled, supposedly ergonomically correct handles, are an exception to the usual machine setup.
FreeMotion grips allow you to rotate your hands to find a grip that doesn't impinge on your rotator cuff. A simple hand adjustment can turn a painful exercise into a comfortable one. I can't do a BB bench press because of the hand position, but by using DBs and angling my hands, I can achieve the same result without pain. FreeMotion equipment allows you the same freedom of hand position, invaluable for those of us with shoulder issues.
Start: 257 - June 1, 2001
Goal: 135 - May 12, 2002
Size 22/size 4
I just Googled those FreeMotion machines and they look pretty neat. I think way back when I went to 24 Hour Fitness they had the FreeMotion Cable Cross machine, but that's about it.
I'm intimidated somewhat by the pulley/cable machines at my gym, simply because I see the handle bars and the weight stack, but have no idea what exercises to do on them. Maybe later this afternoon I'll explore the interwebs to learn more.. haha.