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I hate lifting weights, but need to do some strength training.

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Bleacher Creature Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-14-10 01:05 PM
Original message
I hate lifting weights, but need to do some strength training.
I find weight lifting really boring and can never get into it. I also don't have the time to coordinate with others, so I can't really work out with anyone. I do belong to a gym, so I have access to equipment. My goal is to develop some lean muscle -- not to bulk up. Any thoughts?
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-14-10 01:38 PM
Response to Original message
1. I'm an amateur
and to the best of my knowledge, if it's lean muscle you want, then it's lighter weights and more reps.

I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will show up and give a more detailed answer.
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Raffi Ella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-14-10 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
2. I feel the same way about lifting weights.
"Just Do It" runs through my head on really unmotivated days...

I don't know if you've ever lifted to the point of seeing results from your efforts before but that's what I try to focus on, the results.

It's SO worth it, both looks wise and how your body will respond to demand when you've gotten stronger; After you work out consistently for just a few weeks you will start noticing the difference. That in itself is motivation.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-15-10 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
3. Why do you find it boring?
Is it the repetition, the environment, your mind wandering between sets?

As for lean muscle v bulk, that all depends on your body type really.
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Bleacher Creature Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-16-10 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Good question.
I think it's because I don't really no what I'm doing, so I get frustrated and lose interest. If I could figure out a good program to use, I think I would enjoy it more.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-16-10 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I have three personal trainer certs.
What would you like to know?
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Bleacher Creature Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-16-10 07:54 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. What should I do to get started?
My main activity is running. This time of year, I run about 15 miles a week. As it gets warmer (and lighter), I'm usually in the 20-30 miles/week range. I'm also about 20-25 pounds overweight, although you wouldn't know it just by looking at me. All I want is to do some strength training to supplement my running and to help with weight loss. Part of my frustration is that I go to the gym, pick out a few machines randomly or try and figure my way with the dumbbells, but I honestly have no clue. Should I hire a PT?
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-16-10 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. You *could* hire a PT, sure.
It's a matter of needing one or not, and of course the expense that would be involved. If you're looking for some strength training to add to a heavy cardo workload, I don't know that you really need one.

What you need is a routine, honestly. I can help you build one, you just need to implement and apply it. You're already familiar with the machines, etc, so you're probably already 25% of the way there.

Now, how often are you planning to hit the gym, how long can you be there and will this be consistent?
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Bleacher Creature Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Thanks!
I could commit to being at the gym 3 days a week for about 45 minutes (in addition to my usual cardio work) -- and if I could find a routine that I liked to do, I could motivate myself to keep it up consistently and indefinitely.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. You'll want a three day split then.
Break up your exercises by body group. Example, using a basic MWF schedule:

Mon: Triceps, chest, traps

Wed: Biceps, back, delts/shoulders

Fri: Legs, abs (I don't do ab work, but most folks think they need it)

You should be able to get in 3 sets of 8-12 reps for each body part in 45 minutes.

Now, do you have any machines in particular that you like? How about free weights.

(sorry it took me so long to reply to this...back to work post weekend and all)

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ZenLefty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Heh. I was going to recommend something very similar.
And I have no credentials whatsoever. :D

I've had real good results from a Push / Pull / Legs split. Push being anything where you're pushing, so chest, triceps and front shoulders. Pull covers back and biceps and rear deltoids. Legs is ... legs. What I like about this split is it's easy to remember, and somewhat easy to get creative.

Mr. Creature, everybody's different, and every body is different. It's a little journey to discover what works well for you and what doesn't. I've found I do well when I mix it up every once in a while. I try not to do the same training split longer than 8-10 weeks. I'll do Push/Pull/Legs for 8 weeks, then I'll do light/heavy/cardio for 8 weeks, then a 6 day split that alternates muscle groups on the same day, anything to mix it up a bit. 3 sets of 12 reps, 5 sets of reps to failure, heck, I've known guys to come in the gym and do 10 sets of 1 rep, benching over 400 pounds. It keeps the muscles from getting complacent, and keeps me from getting bored. And Mr. Flvegan definitely offers sage advice on the matter, he'll steer you right.
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Bleacher Creature Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-20-10 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. Please don't apologize!
You're doing me a huge favor, so take all of the time you need to respond.

I really don't have any machines that I particularly like -- other than maybe the lat pulldown and the chest press. My main issue is that I never know how much weight to put on.

The other thing is that I really don't like curls (they feel really awkward), although I know that working my biceps needs to be part of my routine.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Simple fixes.
How much weight to put on the machines? Enough that once you've pushed/pulled/moved the weight 8-10 times, you're tired and can only possibly do it two more times. Every set should be to exhaustion. Personally, I prefer a warm up set first. For example, for tricep pulldowns, I'll do a set of maybe 110 lbs. Get the muscles warm. My next two or three sets will be at 150 and I'll do the last one as a super slow or reverse (negative). Sadly, that's as high as my high pulley machine goes.

As to curls, they are awkward. My wrists won't do barbell curls on a preacher bench, so I have to use an EZ bar. Try this (but don't tell anyone else about it, as this is one of flvegan's famous secrets): if you have a low pulley machine, attach a single hand handle to it. Stand so that the pulley is to your side, your shoulder facing it. Handle in hand, your hand is palm-in, at your side. Take one step backwards. Without moving your elbow or shoulder, curl the weight up in front of your body, crossing it. Slowly return your hand in front of you. Repeat. It's 1. not as awkward; 2. incomparable for isolation, which means that, 3. you can't cheat.

Secret #2: I also like what I call the "softball curl" on the pulley machine. Basically, stand with your back to the pulley, with the handle in your hand. Position yourself as if you were just about to pitch and underhand softball, with your other hand bracing yourself on your knee. Again, without moving the rest of your arm, curl the handle/weight up. Slowly return. This particular curl, you should find, allows you to actually move a higher amount of weight, thanks to changing your center of gravity.

Now, find that rope attachment they use for tricep pulldowns. Attach that to the low pulley and bang out some hammer curls. Two hands, each gripping an end of the rope, facing each other directly in front of you. Now you're working your brachialis!

The last thing I like during my bicep workout is to hit the dumbbells and "run the rack" curling both arms at once. I'll start with the 75s, curl them 12 times. Then replace and immediately grab the 65s. 12 curls, replace. Immediately grab the 55s for 12...and on down to the 5s. By the time I hit those, my arms are absolute jelly and I'm practically in tears. What's funny is that inevitably someone will walk up at that point and see this guy with big arms barely squeaking out reps with 5 lb dumbbells and start wondering.

Next question (sorry again that I took so long to reply...I spend too much time in GD when I'm on DU, I know)?
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City of Mills Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-01-10 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Awesome secrets
I'm gonna try out some of your arm techniques tonight...how much rest do you take between say, your hammer curls and "running the rack"? I feel like my arms are so weak after one exercise and I won't be able to lift adequate weight during the next one, but if I rest too long, I 'lose the pump'. I don't know what's better... is 3 minutes between excercises too much? too little? I know it probably varies by person...maybe I just need to get a feel for it?
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. Listen to your body.
I usually don't rest much between sets, unless I'm doing supersets or gearing up for something like running the rack. I'll probably take a full minute/minute and a half before tackling that. It helps me focus on what I'm about to do and psyche myself up to convince myself to finish it.

If your form is at all sloppy, you're using too much weight. There *is* something to be said for doing cheats to break a plateau or just as a quick change up to the usual workout. But, if as the norm, your form isn't precise then you probably have too much weight.
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City of Mills Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. My arms are sore today!
Wow, I tried your cable secret...very effective! I didn't even get a chance the work the dumbbell rack, will have to add that in next time...my forearms wore out too quick!
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #18
20. To help build those forearms
try this at the very end of your workout. High cable pulley, grasp the handle as if you were going to do a single hand tricep pulldown. Pull the cable taut by bringing your elbow down towards your hip, palm facing the machine and away from you. Curl just your hand (at the wrist) down, keeping the rest of your arm immoble. Alternate hands for sets.

You WILL be surprised at how much weight you can move with this simple exercise, and it's VERY effective.

The cable curls that I do were an amazing discovery*. The guy that owns the gym came over the second or third time he saw me doing them and asked me to show him exactly what I was doing. After 6 months, there were 10 guys or so that were doing it. They were all appreciative and mentioned how sore they were but how effective it had become for them.



*Not that I "discovered" it, as I'm sure others elsewhere have also stumbled over it before me. I had just never seen it done that way and it came naturally to me.
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-16-10 10:01 AM
Response to Original message
4. I love doing it, but I don't do it in a vacuum
I work out alone in my basement. We have a TV down there, with cable and a VCR, so I watch something, the more mindless and visually entertaining the better. What works best is the usually awful movies shown by SyFy on Saturday nights. I record them for exercise purposes later.
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City of Mills Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-01-10 12:15 PM
Response to Original message
14. Great thread
Flvegan super-helpful, as always. Like the OP, I hate lifting weights. I consider myself a hard-gainer, I'm small framed, I'm about 5'6" 155lb guy (where the weight is, I don't know?). I never seem to make any size gains in my upper body - not looking to be a bodybuilder, just would like to add on *some* lean muscle and size. My problem with weights is I don't feel like I'm using the right amount...I feel like I use too little weight, but when I try to go heavier, I lose good form. Plus I probably don't hit all the muscle groups I need to. I probably need to develop a regular routine. I go to the gym on average five nights a week, and at this point mostly work my cardio, spinning/running/elliptical.

Another concern I have is diet - I don't think I consume enough calories and protein, and I wonder if I'll ever gain muscle with the amount of cardio I do. I'm open to using stuff like whey protein to supplement but I don't want to overdo it, and I don't want to just consume large amounts of calories and end up adding weight around my waist (where I tend to get it) as I'm also working on revealing the killer abs I have under my lower ab fat :)
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. The old rule on protein is 1 gram per pound of bodyweight
if you're looking to put on muscle. The real rule is in the types of protein. If you're looking to use a supplement like whey, you will get what you pay for. Look for a protein mix that's comprised of a few different proteins like one containing whey, egg and soy. They burn differently and it does make a difference.
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City of Mills Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-02-10 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. That makes a lot of sense
I'm going powder shopping after work, I'll look for a mix that has different protein sources...
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