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Old 01-08-2013, 04:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Going to start lifting, give me advice

I got a weight bench for Christmas. I'm pretty sure it's just a bench with a bar/weights, I honestly don't know much about it since it's not at my place (too lazy to set it up).

I want to start lifting. I already do a crazy amount of calisthenics and running/cycling. I'm 5'6" 135-150lbs and about 5-7% body fat to give you an idea. I may be limited in equipment but I want a bigger chest and I want more muscle on my arms. Where do I begin?

Currently, my routine is:

Day A: 150 incline push ups, 150 decline push ups, 150 diamonds, 150 wide, 50 pull ups

Day B: 4.5-5 mile run, 1.5 mile walk, swiss ball workout (abs/obliques/chest)

I'm keeping this running/swiss ball routine the way it is, but I'd like to plan a routine that still allows me to do the push ups because they feel good as hell. Is lifting two days per week enough? I'm probably going to cut down on the push ups. One of the reasons why I want to start lifting is because it takes a while to do those push ups.

Anyway I probably eat about 2k calories/day, I eat a high fat & high protein diet, eggs, peanut butter, turkey, beans, fruit, not much red meat, etc. I don't really want to increase body fat. Is it possible to increase muscle mass without increasing body fat?

How do I figure out how much I should even bench or whatever? I'm totally new to this, so any advice is welcomed.

Last edited by StealingYerMail; 01-08-2013 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Does it include DBs? If not, you will be pretty limited on exercises. Can't really tell you too much, till we know everything your able to do.

BTW, I HIGHLY doubt you are at 5-7%, your most likely 11-12%.

It's generally possible to gain muscle without fat, but typically you will stall faster and progress slower.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you want to get bigger and weigh more, you simply just have to eat more. Eat clean, but you need calories in order to gain muscle. That is usually the case with people with your body type. High metabolism usually makes it harder to gain muscle. Just eat a lot of good carbs(vegetables, whole grains) and protein packed foods.

As for exercises. You have the basics down, as far as chest/triceps. I think you can do a little better though. I personally go to a gym so I have more equipment to choose from. If I was in your position, This is basically how I would probably do it.

I would probably have 3 different workout routines for 3 different days. You need to let your muscles rest in order to heal properly and grow. You could also do every muscle group 3 days a week and do cardio on your off days. I do a different muscle group each day but it is personal preference.

Muscle group 1: chest/triceps
-Bench press: 5 sets, as much weight as you can do for 6-10 reps each
If your bench can go on an incline, do more of those over flat benching because those will make your chest bigger by working your upper chest.
-close grip bench press, will get your inner chest. wide grip does outer chest.
-close grip press with less weight, keep your elbows by your side and lower the bar down anywhere from the bottom of your neck to your nipples. This will get your triceps
-pushups, you seem to have all those down though, change up your hand positions
-bench dips for your triceps

back/biceps- Back workouts are important to make you look bigger and thicker. Almost all back exercises will work out your biceps at the same time so you don't need to focus on them so much.
-standing reverse grip barbell rows
-pullups, palms away as well as palms towards you.
-parallel grip pullups are a really good excercise for your lats.
-barbell curls
-before you do your bicep specific exercises, this is a good back workout. Take your barbell off the bench. Put one end up against a wall and weigh it down somehow. Put weight on one side, straddle the bar. Grab the bar with your hands together like a baseball bat, bend your knees, keep your back straight, and pull it up towards your chest. These are good for upper back.

Shoulders/traps- doing shoulder workouts will make your shoulders look broader and give you a fuller appearance.
-standing barbell military presses
-with a close overhand grip on the barbell, stand straight up, keep the barbell close to your body and use your shoulders to lift it in front of you as high as you can, (usually your chin) while lifting your elbows up as high as you can. Kind of like if you are pretending to be a chicken flapping your wings
-wide grip palms away pull ups
-with less weight, standing, keep your arms as straight as you can the entire time. Lift the barbell up in front of you till it is above your head, then lower it slowly. Try not to go all the way down.
-for your traps, do shrugs with the barbell. Simply let the barbell hand in front of you in your hands(whichever grip you want) and lift your shoulders

I hope this wasn't too long for you but I have become pretty passionate about working out and loved it when people gave me advice so I figured I would help out.

Here is a great website for you. I would focus on the exercises and workout programs rather than the supplements. - Huge Online Supplement Store & Fitness Community!
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't normally like to offer opinions and suggestions about work related topics outside of work, but since this is MCB and I really like the community; I thought I would give some basic advice.

Before taking anyone's advice, make sure you know who your advice is coming from, and what are their credentials to give that advice. For example, if you wanted to know how to make a badass brass marker; I'd talk to WALZ, chpinstone, etc. If I offered you advice on how to make a brass marker please feel free to point and then laugh in my face.

My credentials:

B. Sc. Honours Kinesiology
M. Sc. Exercise Physiology
Crossfit Level 1
NCCP Level 1 Olympic lifting coach
Certified Kettlebell Instructor (RKC, Agatsu)

Here's my advice:

-Go see a certified weight lifting coach. There are a ton of guys in a ton of gyms that look great, and may be strong BUT who lift incorrectly. They may get away with it for awhile, but bad form will lead to injury eventually. If you replicate their technique or programs no one can guarantee the same results for you. Your safety should come first.

-You already did the right thing by starting with your bodyweight (callisthenics). Too many people start off trying to lift a bar when they can't even move their bodies through space correctly. Well done.

-Figure out more precisely what your goals are and write them down so you can objectively measure progress. Trying to "see strength gains" or "increased mass" is hard because it takes time and is subjective to your observation on any given day. If you forget where you start and that makes it even harder.

-Having a bench at home is great, but be careful. You have no spotter so it'll be hard to safely lift heavy. I can't count the number of times I've been in a public or private gym with a client where there's someone yelling out from under a bar as their pinned to the bench. Funny but also dangerous.

-There is a lot of misinformation in the fitness industry and tons of gym guys that know what's what. It's hard to sift through it all and time consuming. A certified weight lifting coach has done all that research already and can pass on what he knows works through experience and objectively measured results. Normally sessions aren't that expensive either and you only need a few for them to show you how to safely lift.

-If you want to look like a body builder, workout like one. If you want to have overall fitness then please don't lift like a body builder. Body building and sculpting is a sport and those guys are some serious athletes. Much respect. But like any sport, they condition their bodies for a specific goal.

Not to sound like the old man yelling at the kids but if your going to do this, it's going to be part of your life and you should enjoy it. Physical activity should be fun and if you're not having fun don't do it. I know you were probably looking for more specific advice, but that advice should come from a professional consultation from someone face to face who knows your medical history and baseline fitness levels. Best of luck and from what it sounds like you are headed in the right direction.

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Old 01-11-2013, 10:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Also one of the most important things, is that the gains come SLOWLY

But that's the healthy, long term way to put on strength and size.

You'll get "newbie gains" right at the beginning, where you'll put on quite a bit of size within the first 2 to 3 months, then after that it comes very very slowly

But that's ok, don't shortcut it. It takes years and years of near perfect diet, lifting and an incredible amount of dedication (which I certainly don't have) to get those bodies that show up on the cover of Men's Health

Education, dedication and patience are probably the best tools

Education - learn all about different programs, seeking advice and different points of view. Diet, lifting schedules, cardio schedules, you'll have to try 10 different things before you find the one that works for your body

Dedication - it must be a priority in your life in order for you to be successful doing it

Patience - regardless of what you see on the informercials, it doesn't take 90 days to get the "perfect body", it takes years. Yes you will get results, but it takes years to fully realize your body's true potential. Sometimes, you may try a certain diet or schedule that won't work, so you must have the patience to try something else. Conditioning is VERY personal, and what works for one person, may not work for someone else.

And subscribe to the Hodge Twins... all this is just advice... you do what the **** you wanna do!!!

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Old 03-13-2013, 07:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies.

Basically I started a lifting routine this week.

But I've been active with the weights for about a month. I started out doing super light weight (I'm still doing relatively light weight) to try and get my form down to the best of my ability. It seems like a lot of form comes down to stabilizing yourself with your stomach, not jerking the weight and breathing properly. I haven't seen a certified trainer but I do plan to once I get more familiar with the weights. My stomach is really strong from running/cycling/hockey and when it seems to me that when my back feels off it means I ****ed my form up. Everyone says the importance of your abs is to stabilize your body so you don't wreck your back. True? I'm also trying to keep the weight moderate so as to not break myself.

I want to generally increase muscle mass and increase the weight I lift. That's the goal for now.

I spent a couple of weeks trying different compound exercises, seeing what I liked and what I didn't like. I really hate regular squats.

Anyway, this is the routine a fitness board helped me make. I realize there are a lot of beginner programs out there, but I'm far from out of shape and with a cut back on running I'm trying to do moderate weight with high intensity. Everything is two seconds down, two seconds up.

I'm doing this ABxAxBx

Bench Press [5x5] - using dumbbells if I don't have a spotter
Overhead Press [5x5]
Powercleans [3x5]
Skull Crushers [3x12]

Deadlifts [3x5]
Cleans [3x5]
Dumbbell Rows [3x12]
Pullups [3xF]

Am I going to kill myself or see gains if I keep this up? This is my first week with a truly planned routine and I feel amazing. My triceps are a little sore but all of my other muscles feel used but not fatigued, if that makes sense.

I do have some post work-out questions, though.

Both the A and B days have taken ~60 minutes not counting warm-up. When I'm done I want to eat and lie down, but I feel like I could have done more weight, even if I struggle with the last rep or two. So I take it I shouldn't add weight. I also usually don't sweat, at least not profusely, but my heart rate is elevated and I'm very warm. Like I said, my muscles feel very used the next day but I feel like I could be doing more reps or exercises. What I'm getting at is that I don't have enough experience to know if I've "done enough." How do you tell? The one thing I do know is that 80 pounds doesn't feel like 80 pounds did one month ago, so I'm guessing I'm doing something good.

I think part of it is that I'm actually afraid to increase the weight for some exercises. I have been doing the OHP, bench, and deadlifts for a couple weeks now. As soon as I tried them I liked them. With those I'm not afraid of adding weight since I feel confident in my form since I've been doing the motion for a couple of weeks.

Last edited by StealingYerMail; 03-14-2013 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:46 AM   #7 (permalink)
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there is nothing more that I can recommend than to read Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe

Read it, learn it, educate yourself and dont listen to anybody at the gym or your friends. I dont care how their bodies look or what they claim to know. Your body does not work the same as their body. You need to educate yourself and that is THE definetive book to do so.

This is the program I recommend to most people starting out. It is all from Rippetoe's program.

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Old 03-15-2013, 10:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by gainman View Post
there is nothing more that I can recommend than to read Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe

Read it, learn it, educate yourself and dont listen to anybody at the gym or your friends. I dont care how their bodies look or what they claim to know. Your body does not work the same as their body. You need to educate yourself and that is THE definetive book to do so.

This is the program I recommend to most people starting out. It is all from Rippetoe's program.
Without ever reading that until now, that is basically what I did when I started out.

I would never tell a beginner to do what I do now at the gym.
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Old 03-16-2013, 11:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by gainman View Post
there is nothing more that I can recommend than to read Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe

Read it, learn it, educate yourself and dont listen to anybody at the gym or your friends. I dont care how their bodies look or what they claim to know. Your body does not work the same as their body. You need to educate yourself and that is THE definetive book to do so.

This is the program I recommend to most people starting out. It is all from Rippetoe's program.
I have that book and I've been using it. I'm not too inclined to just shove weight on the bar every work out, and I know that Rippetoe is/was a powerlifter. I'm currently taking a break from running so I've been trying to do moderate sets / moderate reps / moderate weight with short rests, rather than just go for brute power. I think Rippetoe also advocates a half gallon of whole milk per day; I'm eating a lot and my body fat is around 10-11% now but I'm not letting it get higher even if that means less strength gains. I'm sure I won't get as strong doing this but at this point I think doing anything at all and focusing on form will help me increase my muscle mass. My back and chest are starting to look noticeably different.

That said, that book is where I learned about the powerclean. I was using a cheap barbell set and bought a cheap Fitness Gear 300lb set from Dick's last night. The bar is total crap but the weights are nice, I even got an extra 5lb plate. The powerclean motions are a lot easier with the Olympic bar, I don't feel like my wrists are about to snap. It feels a lot safer.

Anyway, I'm also going to real gym tomorrow to make sure I don't wreck myself with deadlifts or powercleans.

Why do exercises like shoulder shrugs and upright rows get so much hate?

Also I have to say, starting with the weights is fun as hell. This might be total crap, but I feel way more regulated in terms of chemistry and hormones than I ever have before. I feel awesome, like my muscles need to be doing this.

Last edited by StealingYerMail; 03-16-2013 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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From what I understand, upright rows put your shoulder joints in a more injury prone position then other exercises, similar to what you may have heard about behind the neck presses and pulldowns.

Never heard anything negative about trap (shoulder) shrugs before. I like to go "heavy" on them, and have never had any issues as long as I have warmed up correctly.

Glad to see your using caution when lifting.

While weightlifting can be a fairly safe, even beneficial aspect of your life, it can also be very easy to injure yourself if you don't take the care to do it properly.

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
-Sir Winston Churchill

Last edited by PBRevolution; 03-17-2013 at 09:01 AM.
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