Author Topic: ladyweights for beginners?  (Read 16992 times)

Offline C C G

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ladyweights for beginners?
« on: July 10, 2011, 03:32:11 PM »
So, I *finally* joined a gym.  I had the induction today and my trainer girl asked my what my goals were...and I didn't really know what to say!  She is definitely the type to work you hard but obviously knows nothing about 'primal movement' etc. and muttered some conventional wisdom about 'toning' and 'low weights lots of weights' but I know that to be false and told her I wanted to do compound lifts, with heavy weights.

At the moment I find freeweights/bars a little scary, I'm worried that if I go heavy I'm going to drop the thing on my head! But I know precious little about the which weights machines in the gym are compound lifts and which are more isolated movements.  Presumably the leg press is good...!

My goals
- fat loss
- no or minimal bulking on arms, shoulders or wrists! Really, really.  Everyone always says 'do heavy weights' and then 'girls don't get big doing weights' but I have seen lots of girls (on my rowing team) get big shoulders and biceps by doing - guess what? - heavy weights!
- overall weight loss - part of the reason I'm going to the gym is because I'm thinking of starting coxing again, and to compete at the level I want to need to get down to about 105 pounds.  Last time this was achieved with a starvation diet, 1 hrs cycling a day and complete avoidance of any weights in fear of adding any kind of mass at all - not a pleasant 3 months and not a route I wish to go down this time!

My questions!  (I think I will do weights twice per week, intervals twice a week, pilates twice a week and vibe once a week)

- which weight machines are OK to use? any?
- which freeweights should I start with?  Squats? kettlebells?  Dumbells? Lunges?
- how many reps counts as 'low reps'? 5? 10?  Best way to do them - fast, slow, in sets of 5?  I read Art De Vany's essay on exercise and didn't really get it I have to say!
- vibration training - does anyone do this?
- compound movement exercises??!?!?!?!

I don't really need answers that I understand, more something that I can give to my trainer and she will understand it and show me how to do it!

thank you!

Offline lordmutt

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Re: ladyweights for beginners?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2011, 07:10:15 PM »
So, I *finally* joined a gym.  I had the induction today and my trainer girl asked my what my goals were...and I didn't really know what to say!  She is definitely the type to work you hard but obviously knows nothing about 'primal movement' etc. and muttered some conventional wisdom about 'toning' and 'low weights lots of weights' but I know that to be false and told her I wanted to do compound lifts, with heavy weights.

At the moment I find freeweights/bars a little scary, I'm worried that if I go heavy I'm going to drop the thing on my head! But I know precious little about the which weights machines in the gym are compound lifts and which are more isolated movements.  Presumably the leg press is good...!

My goals
- fat loss
- no or minimal bulking on arms, shoulders or wrists! Really, really.  Everyone always says 'do heavy weights' and then 'girls don't get big doing weights' but I have seen lots of girls (on my rowing team) get big shoulders and biceps by doing - guess what? - heavy weights!
- overall weight loss - part of the reason I'm going to the gym is because I'm thinking of starting coxing again, and to compete at the level I want to need to get down to about 105 pounds.  Last time this was achieved with a starvation diet, 1 hrs cycling a day and complete avoidance of any weights in fear of adding any kind of mass at all - not a pleasant 3 months and not a route I wish to go down this time!

My questions!  (I think I will do weights twice per week, intervals twice a week, pilates twice a week and vibe once a week)

- which weight machines are OK to use? any?
- which freeweights should I start with?  Squats? kettlebells?  Dumbells? Lunges?
- how many reps counts as 'low reps'? 5? 10?  Best way to do them - fast, slow, in sets of 5?  I read Art De Vany's essay on exercise and didn't really get it I have to say!
- vibration training - does anyone do this?
- compound movement exercises??!?!?!?!

I don't really need answers that I understand, more something that I can give to my trainer and she will understand it and show me how to do it!

thank you!

Not a gym expert but i thought i'd share one tip.....

Never use leg extension! i did and had a three month long knee injury, never again! researched it and yep it does nothing that 45 degree leg press doesn't.


Offline Talkurt

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Re: ladyweights for beginners?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2011, 05:11:16 AM »
I think if it were me i would start with Stronglifts 5x5 and just start with lower weight. The 24 hour fitness where i go has barbells preset with low weight. instead of a 45 lbs bar start somewhere around 15 or 20. Get use to the freeweight with something you know you know you can control to get over the fear.

Offline Bearso

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Re: ladyweights for beginners?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2011, 08:15:03 AM »
I second the Stronglifts 5X5.  Great program and easy to do.  I also agree that you should NEVER do leg extensions... Very bad for your knees...  I am not aware of any machines that are good.  Free weights all the way. 

Offline C C G

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Re: ladyweights for beginners?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2011, 02:46:40 PM »
thanks guys!  I will show the stronglifts thing to my trainer girl.  I did some little deadlifts today with barbells but she had me do 3 sets of 12 for each arm with a 5kg (11lbs) weight.  Too many and too light, I know it!  I am much better at explaining to those who believe in conventional wisdom how and why the paleo *diet* works, but with exercise, I don't really know how to explain to my trainer that I want to lift heavy, because I don't really know the rational behind it...

However I am a little concerned by the following sentence from stronglifts -

"You’ll pack on 25 pounds of raw, dense muscle your first year of StrongLifts 5×5… even if you have lousy genetics or have been training for several years"

I know I am being paranoid about muscle but I am only 5'1'' and really don't want to look like a short, stacked girl!

In other new - the vibe plate.  It rocks


Offline Bearso

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Re: ladyweights for beginners?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2011, 03:25:33 PM »
I think they were talking about guys who want to powerlift and get BIG.  I lost weight eating Paleo and doing Stronglifts.  I am on the smaller side at 5'7" and 150 pounds.  I have yet to see 25 pounds of raw pulsating muscles appear....  ;)

Offline Chris

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Re: ladyweights for beginners?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2011, 03:33:28 PM »
If you're concerned about gaining too much muscle, you could modify Stronglifts to be 3 sets of 5 reps (3x5) instead of 5 sets of 5 reps (5x5). You will have to life heavy, but the reduced volume will place greater focus on strength rather than muscle size!

Offline C C G

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Re: ladyweights for beginners?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2011, 03:36:54 PM »
hopefully it's a marketing line!  I would look pretty hilarious with 25lb extra muscle...

this from Art De Vany's essay on evolutionary fitness -

"You apply the technology by doing one long superset of ascending intensity to force the ST and then the IT fibers to drop out until only the FT fibers are left. I begin a set with a fairly light weight, lifting and lowering the weight slowly to prefatigue the ST fibers. Do this for 15 repetitions. Then, taking only enough time to increase the weight do 8 to 10 more repetitions at a faster speed. Increase the weight one more time and do 4 to 6 repetitions at high, but controlled speed. I also slightly increase the speed within each set of repetitions, aiming at the FT fibers near the end of each stage.

I pause between stages of the superset just long enough to change the weights and these 10 to 20 seconds is enough to regenerate the ATP and PCr to do the next set. By the third phase, the lactic acid is burning, but it will quickly be taken up because I don't do any more of that exercise and move on to something completely different. (This is an advanced technique. It takes conditioning and a tolerance for lactic acid to get to this stage. To begin, do only two stages of the superset, aiming for 12 and 7 reps. Then move on.) I may aim at 15 reps, 8 reps, 4 reps in each phase of the superset, but no one is counting; it is always the acid burn that tells me when to stop, not some preset target of reps"

I guess one can do this with freeweights?

@Chris - thanks for advice!

Offline Il Capo

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Re: ladyweights for beginners?
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2011, 08:49:37 AM »
hopefully it's a marketing line!  I would look pretty hilarious with 25lb extra muscle...

Every year thousands (millions?) of adolescent guys loaded to the gills with a muscle building magic potion consisting of testosterone and other hormones attempt to pack 25lb of extra muscle, from an average starting point of 5'9' and 140lbs.
The vast majority fail to gain more than 10lbs of muscle, if that. Some gain 25lbs of "blob" (mostly fat) which they then proceed to "cut" by losing 20lbs of mostly muscle and some of the fat.

The few who succeed are those who do follow a high volume AND intensity program (such as Starting Strength of 5x5) coupled with massive amounts of eating, strength progression and sleeping. They typically gain 30 - 50bs out of which 15-25lbs are actual muscle.

Now turning over to your case:

You simply cannot gain too much muscle. You can't go to sleep lean and wake up a bodybuilder. Even if you are getting more muscular than you wish, it will happen gradually and at that stage you can change your routine from a beginner oriented one to another one.

Get some muscle. You'll look all around hotter, lose bf% and become - in the words of coach and philosopher Mark Rippetoe* - a more useful person in general.

* some useful quotes from "Coach Rip"
Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general.

There is no such thing as “firming and toning.” There is only stronger and weaker.

The vast majority of women cannot get large, masculine muscles from barbell training. If it were that easy, I would have them.
Women who do look like men have taken some rather drastic steps in that direction that have little to do with their exercise program.
Women who claim to be afraid to train hard because they “always bulk up too much” are often already pretty bulky, or “skinny fat” (thin but weak and deconditioned) and have found another excuse to continue life sitting on their butts.

Offline Warren Dew

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Re: ladyweights for beginners?
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2011, 11:20:21 AM »
- no or minimal bulking on arms, shoulders or wrists! Really, really.  Everyone always says 'do heavy weights' and then 'girls don't get big doing weights' but I have seen lots of girls (on my rowing team) get big shoulders and biceps by doing - guess what? - heavy weights!
Most men simply do not understand what women mean by "bulky".  For that reason, I think you may want to take the advice from the men on this thread with a grain of salt.  I think I can understand a little better because I come from a dance background where excess upper body weight - even muscle - is a disadvantage.  However, I will illustrate with pictures so you can decide for yourself.

Here are photos of women from two very different types of weightlifting regimens:



The woman on the left is Krista Schaus.  She's a powerlifter, and has also entered some natural bodybuilding competitions - the kind that don't allow steroids.  Powerlifts emphasizes pure muscle strength.  A stronger muscle means a bigger muscle.  Notice how her upper arms are as big as her calves - the Greek ideal, for men.

The woman on the right is Marilou Dozois.  She is an Olympic weightlifter.  Olympic lifts emphasize a high degree of coordination to make use primarily of the larger muscles of the trunk and legs to achieve the lifts.  Notice how her arms are considerably slimmer than her legs - closer to what you'll find in Greek art for women.

Here is a closeup of Marilou Dozois' upper body:



Most of the men here will probably like both of their bodies.  I am guessing you will find Krista Schaus 'bulky' for your tastes.  I am not sure about Marilou Dozois.

If you feel that Marilou Dozois is a reasonable ideal to train for, tell your trainer you would like to do Olympic style lifts, but would like to stay away from the powerlifting.  If she is on the bulky side for your ideals, heavy weights may not be the right way to go; tabata sprints of some sort may be better.

Free weights are better than machines to make sure your stabilizers keep up with the large muscles.  Also, weightlifting is for building strength, not losing weight; don't be disappointed if it doesn't get rid of any fat that you're trying to lose.

Offline C C G

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Re: ladyweights for beginners?
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2011, 03:14:29 PM »
Thanks Warren and Il Capo for your responses.  I know most of the guys on here are fans of the 'crossfit chic' body but I wouldn't say that's what I aspire to, simply because I think that although it looks great on tall women (whose height carries a bit of muscle better) or athletic, lean girls (who don't have so much in the hips and bust department as I do), I don't think it will look great on me at 5'1'' and 38" hips.  I don't want to look wide...although I wouldn't say I was 'skinny fat' - I actually have quite muscular ex-dancers legs - visible calf muscles and quads that are too big for some trousers.

I plan on doing
2 x per week - free weights, 3 x 5.  Still not decided exactly which lifts but compound.  Probably not going to do any of Arts 12 reps/add weight/8 reps/add weight/4 reps stuff at this stage
2 x per week - pilates or yoga
2 x per week - vibe, 10 mins
1 x per week - tabata sprints on the bike
1 x per week - zumba dance class (45 mins)

reasonable?


Free weights are better than machines to make sure your stabilizers keep up with the large muscles.  Also, weightlifting is for building strength, not losing weight; don't be disappointed if it doesn't get rid of any fat that you're trying to lose.

How the hell am I supposed to get rid of any more fat?  I eat 1500 cals a day, any less and I'm constantly lethargic, even on 60% fat.  Tabata?  I was going to do it once a week but perhaps I need it twice.

Offline Warren Dew

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Re: ladyweights for beginners?
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2011, 10:14:56 AM »
How the hell am I supposed to get rid of any more fat?  I eat 1500 cals a day, any less and I'm constantly lethargic, even on 60% fat.  Tabata?  I was going to do it once a week but perhaps I need it twice.

You are in no way overweight, and personally I think you are already at the ideal fat level for your body.  However, if you really want to lose even more fat, I suspect the most direct route would be cut out the remaining fruit and that one square of dark chocolate from your diet.  And yes, I would do Tabata twice a week.  Others can correct me on this, but I am under the impression that Tabata can be done safely every day.

Offline Talkurt

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Re: ladyweights for beginners?
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2011, 11:04:42 AM »
also, if im correct, lifting weights will get you to a lower fat level by increasing your insulin sensitivity.

Offline Chris

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Re: ladyweights for beginners?
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2011, 03:08:48 PM »
You are in no way overweight, and personally I think you are already at the ideal fat level for your body.  However, if you really want to lose even more fat, I suspect the most direct route would be cut out the remaining fruit and that one square of dark chocolate from your diet.  And yes, I would do Tabata twice a week.  Others can correct me on this, but I am under the impression that Tabata can be done safely every day.

I'd say that, like any activity, over time you can train to do something more regularly. In fact, Dr Tabata had his test subjects train 6 days a week. For someone new to the training, it'd be better to gradually increase the number of days of training you do, giving your body more time to recover to the additional stress.

I plan on doing
2 x per week - free weights, 3 x 5.  Still not decided exactly which lifts but compound.  Probably not going to do any of Arts 12 reps/add weight/8 reps/add weight/4 reps stuff at this stage
2 x per week - pilates or yoga
2 x per week - vibe, 10 mins
1 x per week - tabata sprints on the bike
1 x per week - zumba dance class (45 mins)

reasonable?

How the hell am I supposed to get rid of any more fat?  I eat 1500 cals a day, any less and I'm constantly lethargic, even on 60% fat.  Tabata?  I was going to do it once a week but perhaps I need it twice.

CCG, looks good! Are you incorporating any days to total rest?

You may need to increase calories IF you're starting to feel lethargic again. The extra training should spur your hunger - especially for recovery from strength training! Just something you may need to consider.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2011, 03:24:59 PM by Chris »

Offline C C G

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Re: ladyweights for beginners?
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2011, 04:34:47 AM »

You are in no way overweight, and personally I think you are already at the ideal fat level for your body.
thanks Warren.  I agree with the first point but not with the second!  I'm 118 lbs at 5'1'' - ideally for coxing I'd like to get down to 106 lbs but I think that is unrealistic and probably not healthy for me.  So, the goal is 24.5" waist - a 1" loss.
The chocolate I eat has 1g of sugar per square.  I eat one square at breakfast and another at lunch.  I think it is not so much the sugar as the extra 100 calories!  I have given up nuts though.  They are far too easy to snack on!  Perhaps I will have my berries only on the days I do tabata :(

I plan on doing
2 x per week - free weights, 3 x 5.  Still not decided exactly which lifts but compound.  Probably not going to do any of Arts 12 reps/add weight/8 reps/add weight/4 reps stuff at this stage
2 x per week - pilates or yoga
2 x per week - vibe, 10 mins
2 x per week - tabata sprints on the bike
1 x per week - zumba dance class (45 mins)

reasonable?

CCG, looks good! Are you incorporating any days to total rest?

[/quote]

Yes.  The pilates and voga are only 45 minute sessions and not particularly taxing, so easy to do on the same day as vibe, sprints or zumba.  Or before weights!