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  • #61
    Originally posted by DocDave View Post
    I do a lot of cardio but I am not losing that much weight. I suspect it is because a) I drink a lot of beer during the week - although I'm cutting that out and b) I'm taking in more calories than I'm getting out.

    My hope in doing some muscle strengthening is that I'd tone up and start to look better. I don't need to be busting out of my shirts and pants all over the place, but some definition would be nice.
    A few things I've learned over the last 4 years of lifting:
    1) I echo all the recommendations for SL5X5 or Starting Strength. They are both great programs for building basic strength. Just as others have said, focus on the movements, not just the weight you're moving; moving a lot of weight incorrectly will not benefit you in the long run.
    2) Don't buy too much into any one dogma. If anyone tells you "you can only squat low-bar... high-bar squatting is a waste of time" they are an idiot. There are many viewpoints out there from really strong lifters and all of them have varying points of validity. Keep an open mind.
    3) You may already know this, but it took a while for me to internalize it: loosing weight is not the same as changing your body composition. As others have said, cardio has it's place, but if you want your body to have a composition that looks good, you should prioritize lifting and diet over cardio (especially steady-state cardio).
    4) From my personal experience (and this may or may not apply to anyone else): prioritize squatting over deadlifting and prioritize overhead pressing over bench pressing.

    What ever you do, stay consistent, control you diet, and always be learning.

    Good Luck,
    papaholmz

    Comment


    • #62
      Hi all,

      First post on this thread and website, so bear with me. I'm not a big discussion board user, but I do enjoy lifting, so I thought I'd add my experience and thoughts. I compete in power lifting meets 1-2x a year. My competition lifts are Squat 518#, Bench 346# and Deadlift 551# (meet was in kilos so makes weird lbs)

      Here are some programs that I have experience with, and what I think they provide.

      1. Starting Strength / Linear Progression (LP)
      - IMO the best starting point for anyone new to lifting. READ THE BOOK. There is no substitute or discussion post that can cover the wisdom, illustrations and advice doled out in that book. Even though I have been lifting all my life, I am still using a version of this program because it's simple and it gets results. You can do a 2x a week variation of this by doing squats and bench on one day, and deadlifts and press on another. In fact, that's what I'm doing now because my work schedule is more demanding than in the past. I am currently squatting 410# 3 sets of 5, benching 285# 3 sets of 5, deadlift 445# 1 set of 5, press 165# 3 sets of 5.

      2. Texas Method - Many would call this a novice program, as opposed to starting Strength as a beginners program. Without getting into the details, this splits up the week into a volume and intensity day, with a light day in between. I use this program to ramp up before a competition. I find it generates great stength gains, but takes a lot of time in the weight room, a lot of eating, rest, etc. This program is available in the book Practical Programming and from a few other authors in e book format.

      3. 5/3/1 - This template has lower general volume than LP or Texas Method, but is useful for lifters who can't contribute as much time as others. I would still recommend LP for a beginner because you need practice the lifts, and for that you need more volume. Jim Wendler has several e books on the program available. I have had some really fun days with 5/3/1, but I think LP is better for consistent improvements.

      Those are the big three I have been playing around with for the past 4 years. There are many others. In college, I did the Men's Health variety of workouts for 4+ years, and while I was in shape (and younger), I did not see the tangible strength gains I've seen with consistent powerlifting. I went from 195# in 2013 to 215#, competing at just about 220# and fairly lean (which is largely a product of diet). My former internnet trainer, Martin Berkhan of leangains.com would tell you the same thing. He inspired much of the program I follow today.

      Rest
      I saw rest come up earlier, my take: if you are lifting to get stronger and grow, take as long as you need. For me, this is about 5 minutes between sets. Others need more. If that feels like it's too long, you need to get more comfortable with the concept that getting stronger doesn't require a cardio workout under the bar.

      Culture
      Unfortunately, I do "hog the squat rack", especially with 5 x 5 training days. 5 sets * 5 min rest + warmups and actual excerise time = 30 mins +. My recommendation: be friendly. I ask people if they would like to work in all the time, especially if they are staring at me akwardly. Gyms should be social places, where we can learn and support each other. Drop your opinions, up your support. Have fun. Take out the bluetooth headphones (guilty).

      Also, use chalk. If your gym doesn't allow chalk, find a new gym. That's from Mark Rippetoe and Starting Strength, but I love it so I'm using it here.

      Enjoy.

      Comment


      • #63
        Another +1 for Strong Lifts. The app is really easy to use and has links to videos and descriptions of the lifts. I've done it a few times after some time off of lifting or after other programs. Stick with the schedule and add the weight as directed and you'll see results.

        Comment


        • #64
          Hello DocDave and other threads members. I've lurked around here for a bit, but this discussion inspired me to come out of the woodworks and join the fun. I was a competitive amateur powerlifter for about 6 years, but a year ago I gave it up. Sure I was "strong" but I was overweight, had terrible conditioning, had constant joint pain and could barely walk at times, and probably wasn't very healthy. Since then I've added in 3 days/week of MMA and substituted a lot of strength-specific work for hypertrophy/pump work. I may not be able to lift as much as before, but I feel (and look) a lot better. Anyway, this is probably too long, but I thought I would give you some advice based on what I've seen.

          Programming:
          A big problem out there is that a lot the advice is not going be relevant to you. For example, the high-volume bodybuilding programs are designed for people on steroids. Seriously, you would be amazed at how many male weight lifters use steroids, even casual lifters that aren't competitive bodybuilders. Also a lot of powerlifting programs are designed for lifting using gear, such as bench shirts and squat suits. If your goal is basic strength, the big compound lifts really are the way to go. These hit the most muscles in the least amount of time, and allow you to do the most weight. It has been mentioned already, but my favorites are Squats, Deadlifts, Press, Pull-ups, Bench Press, DB Row. The Starting Strength program by Mark Rippetoe and the 5x5 program (which is just a rip-off of starting strength) are great programs. They will get you very strong, but they contain a lot of lower-body volume, and not much upper-body volume. If you want to gain strength, but also look good (bigger shoulders, back, arms) I would follow this program, with similar principles but a little more balanced:
          http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/the-b...rkout-routine/
          (A note on this program, for strength work, I would change the sets/reps a little. I would go 3x5 on squats and shoulder press, 3x3 on deadlift, 5x5 on bench press, and 4x8-10 on rows and pull-ups)

          Progression:
          The adding 5 lb every workout can work for awhile, but eventually becomes exhausting. I would recommend the double progression method. Instead of picking a set number of reps, you pick a range, so 3x5 becomes 3x4-6 for example. You load weight on the bar, and try to get at least 4, but not more than 6 reps. If you are able to get all 3 sets of 6 clean reps, then you are allowed to add weight. You may find that some days you get 6 reps, then 5 reps, then 3 reps. Don't add any weight next time. You just keep at it until you can get 3 set of 6 reps with that weight before moving up. This way you add weight at your own pace, but still with some structure involved. Also, don't go to complete failure or you will burn yourself out. You should keep 1 or 2 reps in the tank after each set, unless it is the final set, and you really want to get that last rep. Eventually, this method will also stop working, but it will take you much further than basic linear progression.

          Rest Periods
          If your rest periods are too short, it is going to interfere with your ability to get stronger. When you first start out, you will only need to rest maybe 2-3 minutes between core lifts, but as you get stronger, these periods could easily grow to 6-7 minutes until you feel ready to hit the next set. If you continue using the linear progression or double progression methods for sets across (the same weight for all 3 sets), your workouts will indeed start taking forever and you will be occupying a rack for 45 min, and let's not even think about the Texas method, where you do 5x5 squats at 90% of your 5RM. I get around this by using the Wendler 5/3/1 template which cycles the weight that you use by week. I only get really heavy for a couple sets 2x/month, and the remainder is quality work, but doesn't require 8 minute rest periods. Something to keep in mind.

          Conditioning
          I get my conditioning through MMA training and weekly sprinting at the local high school track. I also take the dogs for long walks. I'm not a big fan of steady-state cardio. I find it boring, time consuming, and it just doesn't really agree with me. I know that there are health benefits to doing it, and some people really enjoy it, but just know that there is a law of diminishing returns with the more time you put into it. I came to the realization that a 400 lb deadlift is plenty strong, and I don't need to sacrifice my body so much for a 600 lb deadlift, the same can be true of steady-state cardio.

          Anyway, I could go on and on, but hopefully there's some helpful stuff in here. Best of luck.

          Comment


          • #65
            I second the recommendation below. I'm 53, healthy, and just got back into lifting the first of the year. The Stronglifts 5x5 program, modified to my needs, has worked great for me. Be safe. Learn good form.

            Originally posted by LesserBlackDog View Post
            If you're just starting out with lifting I would recommend that you focus on learning the fundamentals - compound lifts that engage all your core and stabilizing muscles and help you build strength in a balanced way rather than just hitting very targeted muscle groups.

            Take a look at the Stronglifts 5x5 program, which is a good introduction to basic power lifting (squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, and rows). Throw in some triceps dips and pull-ups and you've got a pretty complete full-body workout. I recommend you use a trainer, a buddy, or just video yourself lifting early on so that you can nail your form at lighter weights before you develop any bad habits that could lead to injuries further down the road.

            Once you get comfortable with the basic forms and movements and develop some base strength, you can branch out to more specialized lifting styles, like Olympic lifting or bodybuilding, if you want.

            A basic lifting program should take no more than 30-45 minutes per workout. 2 workouts per week might not be quite enough... 3-4 times would probably be more ideal.

            Comment


            • #66
              [MENTION=13399]DocDave[/MENTION] lol. I had semi-forgotten about the post then it made it to the main page and reminded me. I was curious what you ended up choosing. Sorry!

              Comment


              • #67
                No reason to be sorry [MENTION=9424]Jrbrownie00[/MENTION]. I think your post/comment is exactly the kick in the ass I need to get off the couch more and actually get in to the gym

                Also, some great feedback from [MENTION=12234]Ebolarama[/MENTION] and [MENTION=13807]papaholmz[/MENTION] to get me going in the right direction. There are definitely no excuses now for me.

                Comment


                • #68
                  If you're only looking to tone up a bit, maybe look into Beachbody's P90x3 to start. Best of all, all the workouts in the program are only 30 mins long.
                  Personally, I still currently do their 2 upper body workouts due to the short time needed and it's enough to keep my current strength without bulking up unnecessarily.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Don't mean to be a jerk, but the word 'toning' needs to be removed from fitness language. It's not a thing. You can't tone a specific muscle or even your body in general.

                    What people use the word toning to describe is losing fat and/or adding muscle to improve body composition. There are a million ridiculous 'toning' programs out there but not a single one of them will be more effective than lifting weights. Also, you're not going to pick up a barbell and accidentally look like The Rock or The Mountain a few months later.

                    If you're seriously overweight and have a considerable amount of fat to lose then definitely prioritize cardio while cutting (caloric deficit). Lift weights too to learn the basics.

                    If you're at a decent body composition but just want to improve the fat-muscle ratio then lift heavy weights. Cut or eat at maintenance until you're lean enough to be happy and then either eat at maintenance or bulk. Mix in HIIT cardio or similar workouts to keep your heart healthy but don't overdo it. The weights are what will make you look good.

                    TLDR - Muscles aren't toned. They are built by lifting heavy weights and eating right. They are revealed by continuing to lift weights and eating right (less) to shed excess fat. It's simple but often complicated unnecessarily.

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      I'm probably too late to the party. However my 2 cents. Oh, as qualification, I'm a strength coach part time. I'm an advanced intermediate lifter myself.

                      I take all my detrained novices and start them on a linear progression. 90% of the time it's the Starting Strength model. The other 10% are odd ball one off cases that still mimic most of the SS model with variations. While I disagree with Rips stance on conditioning and mobility, I've found his linear progression for novices is the best for most people who are novices.

                      If you don't have access to a good strength coach who understands the compound movements and the importance of a low bar squat for a novice, then buy Rips book. It'll save you a ton of time and experimentation.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Back to the top with a bit of a fair warning: Tendinitis is a jerk.

                        Both shoulders.

                        Which wouldn't be a major issue if I didn't have my annual PT test coming up in a couple weeks. :\
                        https://www.professorhorseyhead.com

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Reviving this semi-old thread for a quick question:

                          Has anyone tried the fitbod app? If so, I would welcome your thoughts on pros/cons, etc.

                          I just finished 8 weeks of strong lifts. I liked it a lot, but I want to work out 4-5 times a week rather than 3. (And no, I'm not going to do 1-2 cardio only days.) A friend recommended fitbod, and I thought I would solicit your feedback, too.

                          Thanks in advance.

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Haven't tried to app but I'd be wary of it.

                            How old are you? Be careful with program selection because depending on how intense your next one is, you may need more time to recover. If you're actually lifting with high intensity, 4 days is a nice sweet spot since there are a number of great Upper-Lower style programs to choose from.

                            What are you immediate goals? Strength or size or both? That will partly impact where you're going next. What are your lift numbers? That also may matter.

                            Generally speaking, you could look into the 5/3/1 variants from Wendler (which are fantastic), the nSuns 4-day 5/3/1 variant, Fierce 5, PHUL, etc. The most important elements are balance and progression. SL has a major balance problem because it's overly focused on squats. In your next program, make sure you're keeping a decent balance between vertical pushes/pulls, horizontal pushes/pulls and leg pressing/hinging.

                            If you want to evaluate Fitbod, look at how the workouts are structured. Do they make sense in terms of what's contained within each day? Ideally you'd want to be doing 1-2 high intensity lifts (typically bench, OHP, squat, DL variants) per day and then 3-5 accessories to support continued progression. After only 8 weeks on SL you almost definitely still have linear progression gains left so make sure the app has a defined progression system that will allow you to progress weekly.

                            Otherwise, check out one of the reputable programs above.

                            Any program can work as long as it includes the core lifts, has a defined progression system and maintains decent balance between the back and front of your body.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Originally posted by mooseontheloose View Post
                              Haven't tried to app but I'd be wary of it.

                              How old are you? Be careful with program selection because depending on how intense your next one is, you may need more time to recover. If you're actually lifting with high intensity, 4 days is a nice sweet spot since there are a number of great Upper-Lower style programs to choose from.

                              What are you immediate goals? Strength or size or both? That will partly impact where you're going next. What are your lift numbers? That also may matter.

                              Generally speaking, you could look into the 5/3/1 variants from Wendler (which are fantastic), the nSuns 4-day 5/3/1 variant, Fierce 5, PHUL, etc. The most important elements are balance and progression. SL has a major balance problem because it's overly focused on squats. In your next program, make sure you're keeping a decent balance between vertical pushes/pulls, horizontal pushes/pulls and leg pressing/hinging.

                              If you want to evaluate Fitbod, look at how the workouts are structured. Do they make sense in terms of what's contained within each day? Ideally you'd want to be doing 1-2 high intensity lifts (typically bench, OHP, squat, DL variants) per day and then 3-5 accessories to support continued progression. After only 8 weeks on SL you almost definitely still have linear progression gains left so make sure the app has a defined progression system that will allow you to progress weekly.

                              Otherwise, check out one of the reputable programs above.

                              Any program can work as long as it includes the core lifts, has a defined progression system and maintains decent balance between the back and front of your body.
                              Thank you for the feedback. That's... a lot to consider. I am what you might consider a "casual" when it comes to working out. I go to the gym for the sole purpose of burning calories and (hopefully) avoiding obesity.

                              A couple of thoughts: (a) one of the things I really liked about stronglifts was squatting 3x a week. I'd like to keep squatting at least 2x a week. (b)I try to be conscious of variety among push/pull exercises. This morning was my first workout with fitbod, and I felt it trended very pull-heavy. First workout though, so I'm withholding judgment. (c) One of the things I'm curious about with fitbod is what the plan looks like 2, 3, 4 weeks down the road. When working with a program, I really like to look weeks in advance to see what's coming up. I haven't figured out a way to do that yet with fitbod (or whether it is possible). (d) 8 weeks on SL was a little short, and I definitely was on track with steady progression. But I took last week off for vacation and stuff and decided that the break would be a good opportunity to transition to something new at 4x a week.

                              Again, thank you for the feedback.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                No problem. So to simplify it then...

                                If you like the idea of the app and want to try it then there's no harm. Do it and see how it goes for a few weeks. Just take notice of progression - it should have a way to increase your intensity/volume every week. Either the weight your lifting (especially on big lifts like bench, squat, OHP, DL) should increase weekly in either intensity or volume, assuming you completed the prior week without missing any reps. Balance is key, but honestly you'll be thankful for a program that leans pull heavy over push heavy.

                                If you decide it isn't for you, I'd look into Upper-Lower options. They are very basic at the core and typically look like:

                                Upper = 1 horizontal push, 1 horizontal pull, 1 vertical push, 1 vertical pull compounds + 2-4 isolation accessories (ie. arms, rear delts, abs, etc.)

                                Lower = 1 hinge (DL variant typically), 1 press (squat variant typically) compounds + 2-4 accessories (ie. curls, lunges, etc.)

                                But again the progression is what separates them.

                                If your goal is to just burn calories then ultimately it won't matter much, but if you want to also build strength and size then progression and balance will matter a lot. So try your app and see how it goes. If it doesn't work, check out r/Fitness on Reddit - the Wiki has a long list of programs you can research.

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