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Mechanism

Resistance training - what do you do?

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I joined planet fitness and have been using the machines.  They have been very effective building strength.  But then I stumbled upon this post by TomB where he brings up the excellent point that:

 

"if you isolate a muscle group in a machine, you are hypertrophying the isolated muscle without equivalent development of the supporting muscles and tendons around that tissue and your overall musculature starts to malfunction. Meanwhile, with free weights when you lift a weight, you are exercising everything at the same time in the configuration meant to work that way - all muscles and tendons work together in harmony - you are not favoring any one subsystem over the rest - when you do arm curls with a dumbbell, you are using your hand, forearm, and stability muscles all over your body because the weight is functioning just as in nature, not isolated on a machine, but flying about freely (and so in a machine you are not using f.ex. stability muscles)."

 

I was wondering how bad it it is to focus just on using the machines plus a bit of biking and walking like I do, and would be interested in experiences and opinions on this, and interestingly, this also led to a search on my part where I found this thread providing a general description of one such free & body weights only routine:

 

"Pull-ups, pushups, light squats, triceps extensions, curls, shrugs, etc. All the standard exercises. Using dumbbells and body weight." [and] "strait arm planking."

 

What do you do for weight resistance, and have you found any good summary charts you like to use that lists the top 5 or so exercises and/or how to do them? 

 

"Pull-ups" - from that list was interesting - does anyone do this from how, and if so how ( what do you hold on to)?

 

I'm trying to get up to speed with my overall lifestyle intervention and so far except for building some muscle via the Planet Fitness machines, I've only focused on nutrition...

Edited by Mechanism

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Hi Mech,

 

You've obviously you've found my resistance routine, mostly involving body weight exercise and dumbbells. Regarding pullup (and chinups) - I do them hanging from a short section of wooden handrail I've screwed into the rafters of my basement man-cave. I recall Gordo recently posted a picture of a similar setup he'd just installed, but I couldn't find it easily. Gordo?

 

--Dean

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I do chinups and pullups on a $20 contraption I bought at Walmart several years back. Check their fitness section. It just sits on top of the trim board going across the top of a door. So if you have a doorway you don't mind leaving open all the time, and that has a trim board running across the top, this probably will work. It doesn't screw into the trim or anything, so no permanent attachment.

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My suggestions would be to go on with biking and walking as a lower body exercise. You might add some squats if you want to be a perfectionist, free body or with very light weights (up to 25 kg). More weight may compress the spine. This is to be avoided especially by the old geezers like myself. Leg press is an excellent substitute for squats and weight here may be more substantial (may be up to 100 kg if knees are good, I used to do 360 kg in my bodybuilding days).

 

Then I'd add upper body exercises. Pull-ups are very good for arms and laterals. Bench pressing is very good for arms and pectorals. Just add bicep curls and you have a complete set of upper body exercises, dips if you want to add some more free body exercise (lower pecs, triceps, deltoids). Abdominals if you wish, just a moderate amount or more if you wish a chiseled look.

 

Due to past injuries, for the upper body right now I'm only doing bench presses and bicep curls with dumbells. I have a bench and a few weight at home, so I train when I have time and not every day. Also, since I'm kind of in a prolonged rehab, so I am very careful to stop when I feel aches in muscles and bones and to resume just when aches have stopped.

 

I lift as much as I can with lots of warm-up with lighter weights. I maximize weights with 6-8 repetitions and up to 4 minutes of intervals. Longer intervals=heavier weights= more MPS= more muscle mass= sarcopenia avoidance AND strenghtening of bone structure=, osteoporosis avoidance but what really governs and should govern is to avoid injuries which might thwart training. My training sessions are not daily, frequency is 2 to 4 times a week, giving muscles time to recoup.

Edited by mccoy

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BrianA - Brilliant!  A great idea, and thanks to your great suggestion I ordered one of these.  This review compared it favorably to some other models ( less risk of black foam smudge on wall, and greater stabilization and more room from doorway though a little tight in mandatory hand grip width position).  I am a better researcher than assembler but when it arrives I think I'll be able to put together and even found a youtube video on assembly.  We'll see how it goes.  Hope that's helpful to anybody else contemplating getting one...

 

Dean- yes, your thread was the source - a legacy of your wonderfully exhaustive posts  Got through a bit of it before but was a great reminder to go through the whole thing.  You are a bit older than me but otherwise very similar profiles and lots to learn from your experience.  

 

If you are not already on the spot via Michael R on your "crazy high" omega-6 intake ( me too, you are in good company though I cut back a bit [ definitely under 300 g nuts / day now and more like 200 grams-ish ] after reading his arguments and counter-arguments as a slight hedge)... now thanks to no good on my part you may also be labeled with crazy high protein intake ( just like me ) in this thread.

 

Mccoy - great examples.  The internet is replete with routines and it is helpful hearing a concrete example of a workable routine.  Have a home bike I have been using all along , and have some weights but no bench.  

 

I do enjoy going to the PF gym and though they also have free weights, benches, bands, etc., I have found that with shoulder strain and other strains I prefer using the lifefitness and/or cybex machines for my regular routine - I grew up with them but moreover allow me to hold a lot more weight / effort than free weights.  This is not a small point as I could only increase my BMI adding muscle -- the additional lean muscle tissue blunts post-prandial blood glucose excursions and increasing BMI this way (and also adequate muscle mass independently) in my range improves outcomes especially as one gets older.  So basically I am looking for "permission" from and evidence-based health perspective to continue enjoying using the machines as I have before except adding to my old routine using free weights twice weekly.  Does this sounds reasonable to allay TomB's concern that ""if you isolate a muscle group in a machine, you are hypertrophying the isolated muscle without equivalent development of the supporting muscles and tendons around that tissue and your overall musculature starts to malfunction." since I would do both?

 

I will have to find some online routine charts that parallel some of your excellent suggestions.  I am not familiar with all of them...

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I recall Gordo recently posted a picture of a similar setup he'd just installed, but I couldn't find it easily. Gordo?

 

--Dean

 

Yes, I think a pullup bar is the single most effective workout equipment you can have.  Preferably you want it right next to your bed - this will not allow you to have any excuses not to use it ;)

pullup1.jpg

pullup2.jpg

My wife and kids (even a 4 year old with assist band shown) can use it too.  Mine also has enough clearance to do muscle ups, and it can be used to do hanging crunches.

 

You can buy various ready to install pull up bar kits on Amazon.com (check reviews).  But I did my own cheap install using galvanized pipe from the local big box store with some various fittings, elbows, and scrap wood.  Even though it looks like a simple project, this took many hours, I had to fabricate a somewhat elaborate set of supports (made from 2x10s and 4x4s) to bolt into the trusses in the attic, working in very cramped space up there (this is at the peak of a vaulted ceiling) with little to stand on while I worked. The bar itself is 3/4" galvanized plumbing pipe all pipe wrenched together with flanges up in the attic. It supports my weight without flexing, not sure what its capacity is but probably >500 pounds.  

 

There are a lot of things you can do with a pullup bar:

14 Awesome Chinup and Pullup Variations STRAIGHT UP BACK: PULLUP WORKOUT

 

If you can't do many pullups, you can try the pullup shrug.

I always work my abs simultaneously while doing pullups, but there are lots of ab specific things you can do as well:

https://youtu.be/zUUuH-okLkw

 

Another good way to start:

https://youtu.be/CdtrfXK7bcg

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Wow Gordo, I had not idea a pull-up bar was so versatile.  I was imagining 2, 3, maybe 4 different exercises but these videos show an incredible range.  I have only so much upper body strength but with all those options I am sure I can find several to incorporate into my routine.  Thanks for the link, while Ms. Mechanism will likely veto something like this over our bed, I look forward to trying out my door-frame equivalent when it arrives!

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