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3 day/week Lifting Routine suggestions

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Old 02-02-2014, 02:12 PM   #1
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Talking 3 day/week Lifting Routine suggestions

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for advice on a lifting routine that I can do 3 days a week at the gym. Either free weights (with either instructions or ideas on where I can get instructions) or machines.

I'm looking gain upper body strength and 'tone' my lower body (I have plenty of strength in my legs already).

I'm female, 6 ft, currently 256 lbs and want to go down to around 180. But more so I'd like to lose about 20% body fat.

Any suggestions or advice would be really appreciated.

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Old 02-02-2014, 02:27 PM   #2
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Always start off slowly so you don't injure yourself and familiarize yourself with the machines and techniques on how to properly lift weights. A great website is this one: http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html

It will show you how to do each exercise in the category of the muscle depending on what method you use (dumbbells, machines etc). It's a great site, it even shows you the proper stretching techniques.

The general rule is that you want to work on calves, quads, hamstrings, inner/outer thighs (hip adductors and abductors), back, core, pecs, triceps, biceps and shoulders. When I developed my routine, I started with the gym's machines, but used dumbbells for biceps. As I learned more, I changed up my routine to suit my needs and my body.

Check out the internet for ideas, I think it's always better to develop your own routine unless you're willing to pay for a trainer.

Last edited by Chardonnay : 02-02-2014 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 02-02-2014, 02:29 PM   #3
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As for the amount of weight, start at the lowest on your first day, if it's too easy, gradually increase, but don't overdo it. You want to struggle slightly on that last rep, but not pull a muscle.
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Old 02-02-2014, 04:40 PM   #4
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I highly recommend reading through a manual/book and following an actual program. Many women I know really like the New Rules of Weightlifting for Women. Rachel Cosgrove's Female Body Breakthrough is another good one (I do NOT recommend her new "Drop 2 Sizes" book though). And online, there's Nia Shanks' new "Lift Like a Girl" that I've heard lots of praise for.

Getting back to maintenance weight a pound at a time.
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:35 PM   #5
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I found this one on simplyshredded.com
It doesn't seem too complicated and has good explanations. Good luck

Mini Goals:
10% Down - 172 - Fall 2012
Normal BMI - 164 - April 2013
Next 10% Down - 155 - Fall 2013
5 Pounds left - 140
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Old 02-14-2014, 04:48 PM   #6
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I highly recommend that you explore "Starting Strength". The program starts with a routine of just three (3!) compound lifts that anybody can perform. Squat, dead lift, bench press. They are known as the "big three", and whether you realize it or not they form the foundation of all strength training. Those three lifts are how I lost my first 20 lbs on this journey, and it's lead me to become more and more strong and motivated. On days that I can't bear to even look at the elliptical, I still do at least a little bit of freeweights.

I'm a little geeked out about strength training, and I could talk about for HOURS! My friends are sick of hearing about it LOL.

Here is the wiki where I first read about it. Don't be intimidated by the tone of the writing, snark is very common in strength training articles for some reason. In reality, if you are serious and motivated the guys who write these articles are incredibly helpful and passionate about it.
Mini goals keep me sane...But I never forget the bigger picture!

Last edited by HelloNurse : 02-14-2014 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:40 PM   #7
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Lots of great suggestions already! As several of the other ladies mentioned, sometimes it's easiest to simply choose a pre-set program to follow when you're first starting out. Then, once you've gained a bit of experience with weights, you'll feel more comfortable tailoring your workouts to your personal goals. Sprints are another awesome piece to add to your fitness regime; they are faster/lower impact than jogging, and they burn a whole load of energy.

I posted a quick 'overview' of exercise selection in another thread a few weeks ago which might also help (Looking for exercise advice).

HelloNurse suggested Starting Strength, which is an awesome program that many lifting beginners have found success with. I will add two points to the suggestion: A) There is a constant debate within the fitness community about 'correct' form for the 'big' lifts; if the SS cues don't work for you, please don't hesitate to check on Google for other ways to approach the movements B) I have a personal bias here but I find that many lifting programs neglect the upper body 'pulling' side of things, and those muscles are often the weakest due to so many of us spending too much time sitting/hunched over - so in addition to the squat, dead lift, and press, I will add that it could be extremely beneficial to also include a row (or chin-up) movement into your program! I also really enjoy glute-specific exercises, and often suggest adding a daily glute component to your workouts (again, that's another personal bias).

The rep/set numbers look very confusing at first, but the 5x5 (lift a weight 5x, take a break, repeat for a total of 5x) has a few advantages for beginners. You're not likely to go too heavy too soon (which can end up damaging your connective tissues) and the set ranges are short enough that ideally your 'good form' doesn't deteriorate because your muscles have fatigued. However, it's OFTEN recommended that beginners spend the first 6-8 weeks in the 8-15 rep range, in order to force you to use lighter weights, learn the movements, and give your body a chance to adjust with a smaller chance of risk. I have no idea if that's true, but it's what many pros suggest.

'Compound' movements are just referring to lifts that require multiple different muscle groups. They tend to be the best 'bang for your buck' in terms of fat loss, and because so many different body parts are involved there is a lesser chance of fatiguing/injuring a specific muscle group. Beginners are often recommended to do 'total body' programs (that is to say, hit all 4 'sides' of your body each session) - in addition, women in particular will often do better with full body sessions as opposed to splitting your workout into different days for each body part.

Chardonnay suggested the same site I would, in terms of learning what the different lifts look like; exrx.net. Besides being fairly easy to navigate, it's also one of the few places that doesn't occasionally add pictures of the nearly-nude to keep readers' attention. weighttraining.com is also pretty ok - there are LOADS of other sites out there, but they can be a bit overwhelming when you're first getting into it.

But here are a few specific links for those 'big' lifts we were talking about earlier.

SQUAT: (I prefer the 'goblet' variation, because it doesn't hurt as much as using a barbell , and it really helps teach good form right off the bat)

DEADLIFT: (this is a really tricky lift to learn and has the greatest potential for injury if not done properly - PLEASE start with lighter weights until you're comfortable with the movement; some gyms also have something called a 'trap' barbell which looks like a giant metal ring - these are safer for some people to use, in terms of mobility and different limb angles between individuals)

PRESS: (either/both bench press or floor press - or even just push ups - which are horizontal movements, or a military/overhead press which is a vertical movement)

ROW/PULL: (again, horizontal -bent over rows- and vertical -chin ups/lat pull down- movement options)

And for extra points

HIP THRUST: (from the dude who really popularized the move)

Go slow, pay attention to form, be smart about the weight you try to lift, and most importantly HAVE FUN!

Disclaimer: I'm not a fitness professional or doctor, so please do your own research and make educated decisions. And possibly check with a health professional before starting a new fitness routine, etc.

Last edited by Defining : 02-15-2014 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:23 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by HelloNurse View Post
I highly recommend that you explore "Starting Strength". The program starts with a routine of just three (3!) compound lifts that anybody can perform. Squat, dead lift, bench press. They are known as the "big three", and whether you realize it or not they form the foundation of all strength training. Those three lifts are how I lost my first 20 lbs on this journey, and it's lead me to become more and more strong and motivated
Awesome. That's the 3 I'm starting with, too. I'm just calling them "old school" but they are the big 3. I've never had a real routine with weights but I'm looking forward to it becoming my "thing" rather than cardio which I will continue but only for 20 minutes at maximum heart rate. I really want to learn only what I need to do for me, no more, no less.
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