Originally Posted by Browncoat
You seem to know a lot about working out! I did a lot of it in college but I didn't really research it per se. Just watched and learned what proper technique was a dozen or so exercises and did them regularly.
These days I'm not so focused on getting max strength as I am with getting toned. Sure I want to gain some strength back, but I mostly just want to be healthy and feel good about the way I look. So hopefully I'm not being dumb about it, so I'll spell out what I do and maybe you can give me some tips.
So these days I do upper body work outs 3x a week. I enjoy them and it's something (baring injury) I can see myself doing for life... and not out of compulsion but joy.
I know I should probably mix up my exercises but I do the same exercises each of the 3 days now:
Bench press (flat) 5 sets of 6 reps (5x6), (inclined) 4-5x6, (declined) 4-5x6
Dumbbell Shoulder press 4x6 (should I do more sets and less weight here?)
Lying triceps extension 4-5x6
Barbell curl (biceps) 4-5x6
I've been leaving out back, forearms, neck and lower body.
I'll likely never do neck because I have a lingering injury when my wife and I were hit by a drunk driver 10-12 years ago.
Lower body I don't really do explicitly with weights, through I'm mixing in core exercises via Pilates/Yoga 2-3x a week.
I also do bike machine for 30 minutes a day, and I'm trying to get a good long speed walk/jog around the neighborhood every day. I feel like a slacker though being so gassed trying to jog up hills though.
So do you think I should rotate/change what I'm doing for my upper body? Do you think I should do something more in the gym to help my core out? Are leg workouts really help loose weight much overall? I naturally have a lot of muscle in my legs, so it's an area I felt like I could kind of slack in.
Anyway let me know what you think.
I did Olympic style lifting growing up. I have gone on and off lifting weights much of my life but the biggest hurdle has been my life in I.T. Crazy hours and not much sleep. Hard on a marriage and hard on getting into any productive healthy schedule. This leads to not much progress and injuries. The past half dozen years I have made changes that have helped both my marriage and my health.
Always been into trying out and studying new methods. Like many I would try to follow routines for athletes that were at a different levels thinking they know what they are doing. Big mistake. We know now that many of those athletes are on steroids, plus I have learned much more about the programming required for people at different levels.
I also personally know 1001 ways NOT to do things because I made the mistakes myself. Sigh.
Novices train differently from Intermediates who train differnetly from Advanced folks. They have different requirements to adapt to exercise. The most readable book on the topic is "Practical Programming for Strength Training" by Rippetoe and Kilgore. One can get similar information from reading Russian literature but I like the way these guys explain it. Rippetoe also authors a book called "Starting Strength" which is excellent. It covers just enough of the programing at the end. So I highly recommend getting the Starting Strength book in your case.
1) Almost anything works for novices or folks who have not worked out in a while.
2) It is generally thought that three days a week of full body routines with progressive overload should be followed until the gains stop. Doing sets of five are considered a good idea for creating strength gains. Some folks like 5 sets of 5. These days I like 4 sets of 5. I do a lot of pyramiding up to 5s, 3s and 1s because of my goals of lifting more weight. I am somewhat following a Wendler 5/3/1 program. I see nothing wrong with your sets and reps for your goals.
At some point in your training your weights will go up so high that you will not sufficiently recover before the next day of training. When this seems to settle out that the gains have stopped over two or three weeks you should consider modifying your routine in some manner. Maybe take a week off in between to start. Typically folks designate days as being of High, Medium, and Low intensities. This can be done by only using 100% weight on one of the days and lower percentages on others. Maybe change the rep range along with it. They may do Heavy Close Grip Bench Presses on Monday, Heavy Overhead pressing on Wednesday and Heavy Bench Pressing on Friday. You can still do the same routines but change the order to where your first exercise is that days Heavy movement. Then do the others with a lower percentage of weight.
3) At some point a person moves into the intermediate stage of their training progresses. The transition can seem subtle. This is usually when they split routines happen and folks start programming over a one or two week period so that they can properly recover.
There are a lot of benefits to doing Squats and Deadlifts. That said many folks do other things for their lower bodies like running or biking. So I get it.
I would not do anything special for forearms or neck in your situation.
I do almost no direct arm work due yo my other training. I get plenty of tricep stimulation from pressing and plenty of bicep stimutation from pulling.
Nothing wrong with doing these at the end though as you are. Close Grip Bench Presses are awesome for triceps. Rows and Pullups are great for biceps.
I think you do want to add rows and pullups to your training. At least rows. If we do just pressing it creates an imbalance in our bodies, especially shoulders. Injuries can result over time. It is a general rule that you should do as many pulling sets as pressing sets in the same plane of motion. Some folks will alternate these by doing a press and with little rest go to a row and then start the cycle again. You will find that doing Rows will actually increase your Bench Press.
I think that keeping the number of exercises low and mastering them is a good idea. Less is more if you choose the exercises wisely. Do a very slow and methodical progression of overload. You can switch to variations of movements when they get stale. That can help mentally. I do not believe in long hours at the gym. Warming up is essential.
Again this stuff can get religious real fast and there are many, ways to approcah this.