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crace_lunker

Does my tentative new workout plan suck?

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Hi! I'm a relative beginner and I've been trying to work out smarter instead of just harder-- cutting out unnecessary stuff, making sure I'm taking care of everything that IS necessary, etc. With the help of Steve's post about building a workout plan, I think I know what I'm gonna do. BUT: I don't trust my own judgment. If anyone could tell me what's bad, wrong, or stupid about my tentative plan, I'd really appreciate that!

 

Here it is:

 

  • At least 10 minutes of cardio (probably on an elliptical) as a warmup.
  • Five exercises, as described in Steve's post, for a full-body workout. For each exercise: a warmup set at about 30% of the weight I want to do, then a warmup set at about 60%, then three normal sets.

 

For each muscle group, I'll rotate between various exercises. (I had been doing the opposite: combining different exercises for the same muscle group all into one day.) For now, those exercises will be on machines. I know the arguments against that, but this is what I'm most comfortable with for the time being, and I'll swap in different, better exercises down the line.

 

Based on which machines I've been using at my gym, here's what's in the rotation for starters:

 

  • QUADS: leg extension; seated leg press
  • BUTT/HAMSTRINGS: seated leg curl; glute machine
  • CHEST/SHOULDERS/TRICEPS: overhead press; vertical chest; tricep extension; pec fly
  • BACK/BICEPS: bicep curl; pulldown; lat pulldown; rear delt
  • CORE: lower back machine; ab machine

 

Aaaaaaand... that's it!

 

What did I get wrong? Am I missing anything important, or doing anything redundant? Are there exercises I should be doing more often, or could stand to do less often?

 

Also, is this too short of a workout? It sounds short to me, maybe just because I'm used to spending an hour on the elliptical, which I now gather has been a waste of my time. But I'm still a little self-conscious that I'm gonna feel like I'm walking in, briefly working out, and leaving.

 

Thanks SO MUCH for any advice!

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I was going to wait for someone else to chime in, but at a glance, I'd probably swap out the biceps curls and do some horizontal cable rowing instead, and probably wouldn't use the machines at all for core work (try front & side planks to start with). Personally, I'd also scrap the pec fly and tricep extension as well until you have a better base level strength/find those muscle groups specifically limiting your progress.

 

When you say 'pulldown' in addition to lat pulldown, what you talking about? And which machine are you specifically using for rear delts? Also, what are you referring to for the 'glute machine' and 'vertical chest''?

 

As soon as you are comfortable with this routine, I'd still recommend exploring the free weight alternatives (eg. hip thrust/glue bridge, goblet squat, DB bench, landmine press, keep the cable stuff for rowing/pulling for now IMO) - they offer much better 'bang for the buck' in terms of muscles worked & training more natural movements (ie. easier on your joints long term). I know that right now the machines are less intimidating, so I get why that's where you want to start out; but asap, you can also try swapping out for a few free weight options.

 

Like I mentioned in the other thread where you were asking about warmups, you can still do another 20-40min of elliptical after your weight workout if you'd like to spend some more time in the gym - as long as you're recovering properly, it's NEVER wasted time.

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On 2/9/2019 at 9:56 PM, Defining said:

I was going to wait for someone else to chime in ( @RisenPhoenix @Juni0r83 @Grumble @Gainsdalf the Whey ), but at a glance, I'd probably swap out the biceps curls and do some horizontal cable rowing instead, and probably wouldn't use the machines at all for core work (try front & side planks to start with). Personally, I'd also scrap the pec fly and tricep extension as well until you have a better base level strength/find those muscle groups specifically limiting your progress.

 

When you say 'pulldown' in addition to lat pulldown, what you talking about? And which machine are you specifically using for rear delts? Also, what are you referring to for the 'glute machine' and 'vertical chest''?

 

As soon as you are comfortable with this routine, I'd still recommend exploring the free weight alternatives (eg. hip thrust/glue bridge, goblet squat, DB bench, landmine press, keep the cable stuff for rowing/pulling for now IMO) - they offer much better 'bang for the buck' in terms of muscles worked & training more natural movements (ie. easier on your joints long term). I know that right now the machines are less intimidating, so I get why that's where you want to start out; but asap, you can also try swapping out for a few free weight options.

 

Like I mentioned in the other thread where you were asking about warmups, you can still do another 20-40min of elliptical after your weight workout if you'd like to spend some more time in the gym - as long as you're recovering properly, it's NEVER wasted time.

 

Thanks! This is helpful and I plan to take your suggestions, although not all of them immediately. (Still gonna stick with machines in the short-term.)

 

What are the benefits of doing cable rows instead of bicep curls and of not doing pec flys and tricep extensions? (I've found that workout advice sticks better when I understand the reasons for it, and I'd like to eventually be knowledgeable enough to make adjustments on my own.)

 

These are approximately what I meant by various machines, not necessarily the exact same machine:

 

Pulldown: https://www.fitnessrepairparts.com/equipment_files/145299-lat-pulldown.jpg (with adjustable bar-- I tend to use a horizontal one)

Lat Pulldown: https://cdn10.bigcommerce.com/s-qtce6r5p/products/4214/images/12571/S9LATP__51609.1492177648.500.500.jpg?c=2

Rear Delt/Pec Fly (same machine, facing a different direction): https://www.precor.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/S-Line_Rear_Delt_%26_PecFly_rev B.png?itok=TGH5om_k

Vertical Chest: https://i5.walmartimages.com/asr/5b8fed12-bdda-40cc-8521-a894dd239412_1.b85d1ee4407e630046bff963ebed7d67.jpeg?odnHeight=450&odnWidth=450&odnBg=FFFFFF

Glutes: https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-n88j1q/images/stencil/1024x1024/products/10086/29458/909ab-kick-glute-plate-load-tko__55776.1523013602.jpg?c=2

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1 hour ago, crace_lunker said:

What are the benefits of doing cable rows instead of bicep curls and of not doing pec flys and tricep extensions? (I've found that workout advice sticks better when I understand the reasons for it, and I'd like to eventually be knowledgeable enough to make adjustments on my own.)

Bear in mind that I'm not a fitness professional, trainer, health professional, etc. - I just read too much on the internet.

 

But, the basic movement categories are:

Upper Vertical Pull (eg. lat pulldown / pull ups)

Upper Vertical Push (eg. overhead press / landmine press)

Upper Horizontal Pull (eg. inverted rows / cable rows)

Upper Horizontal Pull (eg. push ups / chest press)

Knee Dominant (eg. squat / leg press)

Hip Dominant (eg. deadlift / hip thrust / glute kickback)

Core (eg. RKC & side planks)

 

There are a few others like anti-flexion/rotational movements as well as loaded carries - but that's the bulk of it.

 

I suggested the row in place of bicep curls because 1) you were missing a horizontal row and 2) bicep curls are mostly motivated by aesthetics rather than strength goals for most beginners, and IMO your time would be better spent on bigger movements. Plus, the row will still use your biceps to a certain extent anyway.
 

In general, my personal bias tends towards full body workouts and multi-joint lifts for beginners - isolation exercises become more useful once you have some more experience, and can identify which muscles are holding back your lifts specifically. I hold a similar position on aesthetic specific lifts - they are absolutely ok, but IMO it's better to leave them off the table until you have a good base of overall strength before focusing on particular body parts. So, it's just my personal bias: feel free to ignore. One of my other personal biases errs towards higher frequency (ie. going to the gym more often) with shorter workouts - that way you can give your muscles more stimulus with less fatigue; again, feel free to take or leave it, but that's also why I prefer pared down workout routines rather than repeating the same kind of movements in the same workout - gets you done faster!

 

For example, the leg press is a multi-joint movement and will typically put less stress on your knees in comparison to the knee extension machine, and leg curls are alright but you can also hit most of the same muscle group with your glute machine (which I'm assuming is used for glute kickbacks, by the look of it).

 

The tricep, fly, and rear delt specific movements are also all isolation exercises - that's not necessarily a bad thing, but they would be categorised as 'accessory' lifts in my perspective rather than a main focus. That is to say, you still need the main upper lifts (as detailed above), and if you want to do these others in ADDITION (not instead of), that's cool.

 

The 'pulldown' machine you linked to is what most people would recognise as a lat pulldown machine - and the 'lat pulldown' machine you showed is effectively the same kind of movement, but with less natural joint movement. If you only want to do one so that you're not repeating yourself, use the horizontal bar one.

 

I think it's great that you want to really understand the reasons behind your workout structure, but you may be biting off a bit more than you want to chew at first - speaking from personal experience, it's easy to get caught up in the details, and it can get overwhelming when you're first starting to create your own routine. And again, bear in mind, I'm not AT ALL an expert - so you'll need to experiment and figure out what works best for YOU.

 

At any rate, 'hope some of this helps!

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Thanks!!!

 

Totally agree about that last bit. Truthfully, what I REALLY want is to simply be told what to do so I can just go do it-- but since I can't afford to work with a trainer consistently, I'm left to cobble together my own workout with the help of internet advice. Rather than let the perfect be the enemy of the good, I'm just doing what seems to make sense for now and hoping I can tweak it over time as I learn more and as my goals change-- but I do hope to gradually learn more and eventually know what I'm doing :)

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