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    Work out getting stale

    So I started going back to the gym for a little less than a month and am in a good habit and rythm now. Now that that part is achieved I need to increase my focus and effort while in the gym. I am going a good 3 days a week for at least an hour. Sometimes I get in a second session but that is usually cardio or kayaking the lake. I have been doing my old "whole body" routine because I wasnt sure if I would make it more than twice a week. Now I need to work more exercises in and put htem in a proper grouping. Something I havent done in decades. I do have a back issue I am working around. Basically fused vertebrae that can lead to muscle spasms or pulls if I am not careful. Strength helps it a lot. Not just core but overall. If my legs and shoulders are stronger then I rely on my back less. My motivation is just to reduce back issues that have started cropping up again and also to get better overall strength for a week on the Appalachian trail that I have planned with my daughter this summer. And hey, of that makes me look better in a tank top for my Mexico vacation in September I wont complain either.

    So, how do you guys group your exercises? I am assuming I will have 3-4 sessions a week. I want to make at least one of them body weight stuff so that I can do it at home in case I cant make the gym. I think I have plenty of core stuff there. So its the 3 gym sessions I want to work on. Doing the identical routine 3 times seems like I could be focusing more. should I do something upper body, core, legs, upper body? I could do legs at gym and core at home or gym.

    #2
    You’ve got a few different options. At first are you someone that wants it planned out or can be more go with the flow? I’ve gotten to a point that while I have a primary objective I adapt based on equipment available and how my body is feeling that day.

    In general when on a shorter number of days there are things you can cut out like arm specific days and core specific days. Your core gets plenty of work if you incorporate a proper back day and compound movements.

    If I had three/ four days I’d prob do something like this:
    Day 1 - legs to include squats but excluding dead’s
    Day 2 - chest and triceps
    Day 3 - back and deadlifts
    Day 4 - shoulders and biceps

    That lets you space out heavy squats and dead movements. On day 4 you may not even need biceps and could add in the core work since most good back days will incorporate a lot of biceps.

    Comment


      #3
      In general supersets and alternating in other exercises are your friend. You can even split the parts a part to be fresh. Aka superset chest with curls. I usually throw in smaller accessory work in on leg day between squat sets like forearms, good mornings, etc.

      Comment


        #4
        I highly, highly, highly, highly recommend looking into Wendler 5/3/1 and downloading a Wendler tracking app to calculate your weights for you. Buy the book(s) if you can. A typical Wendler week is four workouts - squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press.

        Make sure you focus on good form and range of motion before trying to get heavy. Get coaching or video yourself as necessary to tweak your form.
        Ben

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by LesserBlackDog View Post
          I highly, highly, highly, highly recommend looking into Wendler 5/3/1 and downloading a Wendler tracking app to calculate your weights for you. Buy the book(s) if you can. A typical Wendler week is four workouts - squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press.

          Make sure you focus on good form and range of motion before trying to get heavy. Get coaching or video yourself as necessary to tweak your form.
          So Some things to consider with a program like this is having a spotter in my opinion. Going to maxes etc or low rep heavy programs it’s good to have someone. Just some food for thought. I know I’m not a big fan of asking for random guys at the gym to spot.

          Also standing overhead presses I believe are in the program. In general I’d advise against that for someone with back issues. Often people overcompensate with standing presses to lift more. If aesthetics are part of your goal. It’s better to brace and isolate the muscle.

          Comment


            #6
            You can bench from a squat rack with safety bars in a pinch. Bench is the only lift where a spotter would be nice IMO - on squats you can just set up the safety bars or use rubber plates and teach yourself to just dump the weight.

            TBH I only use a spotter or bench in a squat rack when testing my 1RM, which is pretty infrequent. Maybe once every 3-4 months.

            This is another good reason to start on the lighter side - so that by the time you get heavy, you should be experienced enough to know when you’ve maxed out and not take that next rep, and experienced enough to know how to dump the plates if you do end up failing a rep. Or roll the bar off you (I’ve done that before, and OUCH. But it works).

            I have limited shoulder mobility and chronic shoulder injury so I’ve just removed the OHP from my program altogether.
            Ben

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by LesserBlackDog View Post
              I have limited shoulder mobility ... so I’ve just removed the OHP from my program altogether.
              I'm in the same boat, what do you do to work your shoulders/triceps/whatever else OHP does?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Alex.C View Post
                I'm in the same boat, what do you do to work your shoulders/triceps/whatever else OHP does?
                Benching works the anterior parts of the shoulder, deadlifts and other pulling movements work the posterior part of the shoulder. Plus accessories to bench and deadlifting, including dips, pull-ups, chin-ups, and rows. IMO doing heavy overhead stuff isn’t necessary to build shoulder strength.
                Ben

                Comment


                  #9
                  thanks guys, some stuff to look into for sure. I need to see about how many excercises to work into a more specific day. Like figuring out what chest and triceps day will actually look like.

                  Supersets...I have used them in the past. Right now I am doing short rest intervals. 30 seconds usually. Just for avoiding boredom sake, if the gym is empty I have done supersets with no rest between sets.

                  I do have to say that the gym isnt what I would call fully equipped. The only free weights are a dumb bell set and some plates on the Smiths machine. At 5' 11" and a soft 160, I dont push a lot of weight around so those are actually enough for me. The biggest problem is bars. There are none. I usually use dumb bells anyway because they are safer without a spotter. If you cant push it up you just drop it to the side. No getting stuck with a bar on your trachea. It also helps me make sure I am not overcompensating on on side or the other because each has to push its own weight individually. It also gives me a little work int he stabilizing muscle groups that a machine definitely wont give me and a bar minimizes. But I digress. Lets just say I am OK with dumb bells. The setup does kind of rule out dead lifts in the traditional sense. I suppose there is probably a dumbbell variation. I will check.

                  For machines it is just this...
                  leg ext/curl
                  smiths rack
                  row/pulldown combo
                  single pulley cable station
                  a press machine that actually adjusts for bench, incline, and shoulders
                  a few treadmills, bikes, and some of those no impact running machines

                  no stair machine unfortunately. that would help me a lot for trail training.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by LesserBlackDog View Post

                    I have limited shoulder mobility and chronic shoulder injury so I’ve just removed the OHP from my program altogether.
                    I have this problem with my knees and struggle to find leg day stuff. I typically just go walk the big hills around me while carrying a loaded pack. I absolutely cant do leg curls. the popping and discomfort is too much even with very low weight.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by idvsego View Post
                      I have this problem with my knees and struggle to find leg day stuff. I typically just go walk the big hills around me while carrying a loaded pack. I absolutely cant do leg curls. the popping and discomfort is too much even with very low weight.
                      If you have knee pain or injury I would suggest you try to get it rehabbed by a physical therapist (medical insurance can cover this if you get a referral from your PCP). Then get a knowledgeable trainer to teach you proper squat form. Done with proper form, squats will actually protect and enhance your knee health by strengthening the muscles that support and control the tendons, ligaments, and other structures of the knee. The squat is the granddaddy of all functional human movements so don’t neglect it or you’re going to be missing out. Leg curls are meh, whatever.

                      I’d probably do goblet squats with a DB or KB rather than a Smith machine. You want the stimulus of actually having to control the “bar path” by stabilizing and engaging your core. The squat, like the deadlift, is a lift that should engage your full body. The Smith machine restricts your range of motion and does the work of stabilizing the weight for you, which might be ok if you’re a bodybuilder focusing on making one particular muscle or set of muscles bigger, but is counterproductive if you’re trying to develop functional strength, stability, and long-term health as most strength athletes and amateur/recreational lifters are trying to do.

                      DB lunges would be another accessory/alternative to the traditional squat. If you’re really ambitious you could ease yourself into pistol squats (single legged body weight squats) or you could always stick to plain ol’ bodyweight squats.

                      As for deadlifts, I’d probably recommend single leg DB/KB deadlifts as an alternative if you don’t have a barbell. DB/KB cleans and snatches will also engage the posterior chain similar to deadlifting. If you do a DB/KB clean and squat complex you could actually get your posterior and anterior chain both engaged in lieu of traditional squatting and deadlifting.
                      Ben

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by LesserBlackDog View Post
                        If you have knee pain or injury I would suggest you try to get it rehabbed by a physical therapist (medical insurance can cover this if you get a referral from your PCP). Then get a knowledgeable trainer to teach you proper squat form. Done with proper form, squats will actually protect and enhance your knee health by strengthening the muscles that support and control the tendons, ligaments, and other structures of the knee. The squat is the granddaddy of all functional human movements so don’t neglect it or you’re going to be missing out. Leg curls are meh, whatever.
                        my squat form is pretty decent. it doesnt hurt my knees or back. Its one of my favorite lower body excercises because it hits so many groups. Extensions and curls just put a very focused stressor on the knee and it isnt good.



                        Originally posted by LesserBlackDog View Post
                        I’d probably do goblet squats with a DB or KB rather than a Smith machine. You want the stimulus of actually having to control the “bar path” by stabilizing and engaging your core. The squat, like the deadlift, is a lift that should engage your full body. The Smith machine restricts your range of motion and does the work of stabilizing the weight for you, which might be ok if you’re a bodybuilder focusing on making one particular muscle or set of muscles bigger, but is counterproductive if you’re trying to develop functional strength, stability, and long-term health as most strength athletes and amateur/recreational lifters are trying to do.

                        DB lunges would be another accessory/alternative to the traditional squat. If you’re really ambitious you could ease yourself into pistol squats (single legged body weight squats) or you could always stick to plain ol’ bodyweight squats.
                        I will look into those. I have done some variations of barbell squats and have mixed feelings about them. I will keep looking though.

                        Originally posted by LesserBlackDog View Post
                        As for deadlifts, I’d probably recommend single leg DB/KB deadlifts as an alternative if you don’t have a barbell. DB/KB cleans and snatches will also engage the posterior chain similar to deadlifting. If you do a DB/KB clean and squat complex you could actually get your posterior and anterior chain both engaged in lieu of traditional squatting and deadlifting.
                        This isnt the first time someone has suggested working in deadlifting. Guess I need to get on that. Thanks.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Sounds like my gym and yours are similarly limited. I have access to a treadmill and dumbbells up to 50 lbs. Here's what I do these days.

                          Day 1:
                          5 min warm up run
                          Three sets of Javorek dumbbell complex x6 reps of each movement (I love/hate this motherfucker, lots to read here http://www.istvanjavorek.com/sample-exercises/ and here http://www.istvanjavorek.com/page2.html). No rest between each movement, 1 to 2 minutes rest between each set.
                          Three sets of Jump squats x15, push ups x15, ab complex x45, planks 30 seconds. No rest between each movement, 1 to 2 minutes rest between each set.
                          Stretch

                          Day 2:
                          5 min warm up run
                          Superset three sets of dumbbell squats x10 and dumbbell deadlift x10
                          Superset three sets of dumbbell benchpress x10 and dumbbell bent over one arm row x10
                          Superset three sets of dumbbell overhead press x10 and dumbbell upright rows x10
                          Superset three sets of weighted sit ups x15 and supermans 30 seconds
                          Stretch

                          Day 3:
                          3.5 mile run
                          three sets of pullups to failure/max reps

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by thedrake View Post
                            Sounds like my gym and yours are similarly limited. I have access to a treadmill and dumbbells up to 50 lbs. Here's what I do these days.

                            Day 1:
                            5 min warm up run
                            Three sets of Javorek dumbbell complex x6 reps of each movement (I love/hate this motherfucker, lots to read here http://www.istvanjavorek.com/sample-exercises/ and here http://www.istvanjavorek.com/page2.html). No rest between each movement, 1 to 2 minutes rest between each set.
                            Three sets of Jump squats x15, push ups x15, ab complex x45, planks 30 seconds. No rest between each movement, 1 to 2 minutes rest between each set.
                            Stretch

                            Day 2:
                            5 min warm up run
                            Superset three sets of dumbbell squats x10 and dumbbell deadlift x10
                            Superset three sets of dumbbell benchpress x10 and dumbbell bent over one arm row x10
                            Superset three sets of dumbbell overhead press x10 and dumbbell upright rows x10
                            Superset three sets of weighted sit ups x15 and supermans 30 seconds
                            Stretch

                            Day 3:
                            3.5 mile run
                            three sets of pullups to failure/max reps
                            nice breakdown. thats a lot more than what I am doing but something to work up to. Thanks!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by idvsego View Post
                              nice breakdown. thats a lot more than what I am doing but something to work up to. Thanks!
                              That's one of the things I like about this work out, it's really flexible. Messing around with the number of movements, order of movements, weights and number of reps allowed me to find a good starting spot and from there I've settled into the workout I wrote down. I should also say that I miss a lot of days because of other commitments. It's no big deal, I just keep track of which work out I did last and when I have a chance to work out again, I do the next work out on the list.

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