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Everything posted by TMedina

  1. Goals are ambiguous things. We brush our teeth with the goal of not getting cavities. Likewise, a fitness lifestyle could have a goal as simple as "staying active" or "I enjoy it". Above all else, document your workout. Make notes to yourself about how it went, how you feel, if you like exercise X, or don't, and why. Good luck! It sounds like you're off to a great start!
  2. Definitely consider a form check. When you lie down on the bench, are your arms perpendicular to your torso?
  3. The lower you go, the harder it is to keep your knees behind your toes - to keep your balance, you have to lean forward more. At some point, your chest will be curving around your knees *or* your thighs go really, really wide and your torso tilts forward at the hips. And I'm just not that flexible.
  4. How are you hurting your knees and shins? From the bar hitting your thighs and then rolling down? I re-watched the vid and it looks like your descent is pretty good - you're bending your hips and knees. It's the bar against your knees/shins, you might consider wearing long socks under your sweats, or neoprene calf wraps (that's what I use). And I think Wildross means: "you're showing lots of improvement" - it's a good thing.
  5. That's very kind of you to say, but that form took a long time to hammer out. And I'm still not convinced my lower body is right, but I'll have to work into the confidence. My take on the perpendicular position: I subscribe to the idea that it transmits the weight down along the forearms and into the elbows. Personally, I also have a bad habit of grabbing the bar and trying to pull myself up if my arms are perpendicular to the bar and ground. I found that by flaring my elbows back until it felt like my arms were parallel to the ground, that it was easier to push up and back when standing. As Jaymul pointed out, it probably contributes to my chest caving as well. It seems like keeping my arms at a 45 degree angle to the bar hits a happy compromise: I can slide my grip in or out to help tighten my back (as an aside: you don't need to pull your hands in close to tighten a back, but it helps "set the default", rather than trying to remember to keep your back tense while working on other parts of your form - at least for me it does.) It also helps keep my chest upright - the higher your elbows go (again, for me), the more you get a forward tilt to your chest. I should also point out that I'm using the low-bar technique, so my chest angles a bit - the more I lean back into the squat, the more I have to emphasize the shelf. If I was trying for a high bar, my torso would be upright, the bar would be higher, and you have to keep your arms perpendicular - you're not using the shelf, and it becomes wasted contortionism to work your elbows and up when you aren't even using the shelf to begin with. The direction of weight in a high bar is transmitted straight down in line with your back; a low bar transmits the weight straight down, but your back is at a slight angle to the bar. Does that make sense? ETA: I should be clear: I am *not* a coach, nor am I an expert by any means. There are many more folks on this board with far more experience than me - I can only report my experiences, and my opinions based on those experiences (drawn from a great deal of YouTube-ing and article reading. )
  6. As for the squats, they look pretty good to me, but I had to pick one or the other to review. And believe me, I get the idea of not wanting to go heavy until you get your form right.
  7. Deadlifts are one of the few things that you almost have to try to understand some of the nuance. Now that you know what to look for, you might try adding a little more weight - just enough to make it uncomfortable pulling with your back, which in turn forces you to: 1) keep it as close to your center line as possible, and 2) engage the legs instead of the back. How much do you barbell row?
  8. And your form is looking a lot better! You're lifting in your socks - good choice. It's hard to tell, but it looks like your back is tensing up before your thighs - that's not necessarily bad, but it can also be an indicator you're still engaging too much of your back during the pull, rather than taking the weight on your legs. You'll have a better idea as you add more weight to the bar - when you get out of your comfort zone, you'll quickly realize where you're starting the pull.
  9. You're familiar with the idea of "fighting the negative"? A slow drop in your DL weight could count as a negative repetition, which will fatigue your muscles every bit as much as a "positive" rep. That said, not all gyms are configured for outright dropping a loaded barbell, so it's a fine juggling act between a slow, easy return to start, and just dropping the bar. For the record: I don't drop the bar and have no experience in doing so, therefore I'll leave that topic to more experienced lifters.
  10. Thanks for the feedback - I'll have to tinker with the arm positioning a bit. Maybe a 45 degree to the bar, instead of nearly parallel.
  11. Sark, try this as a cue: when you're ready to bring your shins to the bar, focus on dropping your hips until your shins touch the bar - ignore your knees and shins completely. From your video, it looks like you bring your knees forward first, is why you're not getting any depth. That lack of depth, I think, is what makes your body shift to engaging the back more than the lower body. If you can, go through your deadlift using minimal weight, and in slow motion, eyes closed, to feel your body as you go through the steps. When you start to feel tension in your arms and back, how do your legs feel? Are your knees locked, or bent? How does your back feel? Is there a mirror near the platform where you can stop and check your form?
  12. I don't think he has been attacked. I do think we went to some length to point out why someone might have, or perhaps did, take offense to what he said. And why. I'm not questioning his motives; in fact, I'm perfectly happy to grant that he was completely and utterly sincere in his desire to be helpful and encouraging.
  13. First off, welcome! Second: you have a lot going on, so I suggest committing to making small life changes, one at a time. Between working full time and chasing a perpetual motion machine, you don't have a lot of time or energy to try making massive, sweeping changes in one go. Small changes to your diet are usually the easiest place to start - what do you normally eat? If you can spare five or ten minutes out of your day when you first wake up, you can start an extremely simple beginner's body-weight program. And by simple, I mean one or two exercises that you start working on to develop a comfort level with - but without leaving you exhausted for the rest of your day.
  14. Although I have to admit, that probably is my expression after I try deadlifting an extra set of plates.
  15. Given how active SpecialSundae is on this board, and the forum overall, it's a little flippant - and dismissive - to lecture her on what would, and wouldn't, feel better in what is ultimately a very personal quest. Hell, downright condescending. I'm pretty sure SpecialSundae knows all about hard work go get where she is now. I constantly read threads like this, and peruse articles, and watch videos, looking for minor improvements to my form and technique. I would feel silly if a minor oversight, or an easily correctable improvement was holding my (squat, bench press, deadlift) back by a substantial amount. For that matter, I found a magical bullet for my barbell row in an Alan Thrall video. While I didn't see a significant improvement in my performance, I did have a "Eureka!" moment about what I was doing wrong and not feeling the exercise in the right place. It's less about a magical fix and more about an epiphany that improves, instead of holding back.
  16. You do get more bang for your buck doing compounds. Biceps tend to be vanity exercises (in my opinion) - as you progress with the complex "compound" exercises, your biceps will grow/increase in power. But you necessarily see the size/definition that you do in bodybuilders - folks trying to develop size/definition. They tend to not play a large role in other exercises, but they're fun to flex in the mirror. Triceps are more universally engaged, so you can see benefits to other exercises by adding supplemental training, particularly at the beginning of a new exercise. If you want to isolate the bicep and train for power or increasing general weight, treat it like breaking any other plateau - use concentration curls with a heavier weight and aim for one or two reps until failure, or use negative contractions to force the muscles to adapt outside of their comfort zone. If you want size and definition, you should look less at increasing weight and more at volume - more reps per set at lower weight. You can also try different exercises that target the same area to create a sense of "muscle confusion" which can also spur growth/performance. (term stolen unabashedly from the P90X guy)
  17. I'm not suggesting not wearing the sweats - I wear neoprene shin/calf warmers because I have sensitive shins and don't want to chew them up on a bar. Re: diameter: the 45 pound weight plate is roughly 17 3/4", or 45 centimeters - you might want to measure, the next time you go in. How tall are you? Re: bending at the waist versus the hips. Try bending over to touch your toes - where do you feel the tension? In your lower back, or in your hamstrings? Watching the video, at the 25 ~ 26 second mark, your set-up was pretty good in my opinion. At the 27 second mark, you round your back as you begin to pull - which suggests you're pulling with your back, rather than standing up and lifting with your legs/hips. At the 35 second mark, you begin another pull, again with the rounded back. Does "squatting to the bar" make more sense? Watching your squat video, I know you can drop your hips - in the deadlift, your back should remain neutral, while your legs/hips do almost all of the work.
  18. A couple of points: wear flat shoes. You're wearing what looks like running shoes and that's going to throw off your form overall. I wear Vibrams - I know some folks have advocated barefoot, or in socks. Basically, avoid any shoe with large amounts of cushioning; you want to be as flat and as stable as possible. 2. Sink your butt. From the video, it looks like you're bending from the waist - you need to bend from the hips, keeping your back as straight as possible. 3. When you "bring your shins to the bar", you're actively bringing your knees forward to make the connection with the bar. Try this instead: sink your hips until your shins make contact. 3a) Be sure you're starting with about an inch of space between you and the bar. It's hard to gauge with baggy sweats, I know. If your gym has a mirror, practice sinking your hips. On the deadlift, your arms and upper body should be neutral, not actively engaged in the pull. EtA: opinions differ, but Rippetoe wants the bar to remain in constant contact with your body so you're actively pulling it up your shins and thighs. That makes it easier to keep your arms/shoulders/upper back neutral, or actively neutral holding the weight, while you stand up.
  19. Welcome! Nerd is mostly a state of mind, and absolutely not a requirement.
  20. 90 pounds on the bar, 135 pounds total. Video 1, Set 2, 5 reps Video 2, set 3, 5 reps Video 3, set 4, 5 reps
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