Starting free-weights

(Denise) #1

Yesterday I did my first 12 reps ever on a Smith Machine at my gym. I was shown the right way to do the squats I’d been doing using a Swiss Ball for about 2 months, so I knew the form by using the ball had no ill effects on me, so I decided to try. The bar-bell is 45 lbs, but it was explained how I wouldn’t feel the full weight of that by using the SM. I did 12 reps only and really felt tired after that :wink: but loved doing them that way.

Today I will do more of my upper body using the “cables” which have been my fave since I joined the gym about 3 months ago come the 15th of this month. I do 4 exercises on that, but the arm-curls I started using free-weights.

Anyone else starting out with free-weights? I have some progress I can see, especially in my arms and shoulders, I don’t really see a lot in my back muscles. My legs are getting more toned, than my walking has shown, but the walking got me into weights/squats easier. I’m 69 and this is the first time in my life I stuck to a workout plan, not perfectly but not wasting my gym membership. Definitely room for improvement on getting there at the the least 3 times a week, not just the 2 in 7 days :wink:

(Edith) #2

I was doing body weight strength training for years and just recently decided to mix things up and use free weights. I’m only 1.5 weeks in and just got COVID. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: Right now walking upstairs to take a nap is about all I can handle.

I am looking forward to getting back to the workouts when I’m feeling better.

(Denise) #3

Body weight is something I tried as well (followed Mark Lauren) but I didn’t stick with it. Part of going to the gym was just getting out with people since things were finally opening up around here. I mean, they actually opened up way before I went to the gym, but I just was making excuses as I was so used to being alone and masked when I did got to store etc. It really felt like starting a new school, scarey and nervous but fell right in with it.

Get well soon Virginia, I’ve dodged Covid but attribute a lot of that to Keto, and just playing it safe, but I think luck has had a lot to do with it as well.

(Joey) #4

@Goldengirl52 Wonderful to hear. Congratulations for adding a new constructive habit to your health portfolio.

My years of strength training (and daily cardio) have produced marvelous results that carry over into everything I do in life. Slow and steady … you’re on the right track!

In my case, though, my gear is kept in the basement so I never leave for the gym.

Also, I actually had to buy the weights… so technically they weren’t free. :roll_eyes:

(Denise) #5

LOL!! So true Joey :rofl: I had a weight bench and 100 lbs of weights, gave them away because I wasn’t using them last Summer, arggg! But for me, I think it’s good I’ve used the gym because I’m retired and downright unsociable about going out of the house/apt. Once I get out there I’m my old self, friendly, smiling, chatting if someone wants to, but I so keep my distance, physically and mentally/emotionally. I’m always relieved to get back to my little mole-hole, LOL!

Thanks for the encouraging words on my life-changes, and can’t agree more on the slow and steady :wink:

(Edith) #7

Yes, I have his book called “You Are Your Own Gym.”

I prefer exercising in my basement, too. It is much easier than going to the gym. I may feel differently when I’m retired, though.

(Joey) #8

Being retired, my wife seems to like my absence when I go down to the basement :wink:
Then again, she has a gym membership, so she has her own way to “make the heart grow fonder” (or is it “lack of presence”?)

(Denise) #9

I may go back to my own at home too, but I live in a small apartment. There’s still room to do everything, but I’ll stick with this, hopefully one year, atleast, and then see what I think.

It would be neat if I truly get hooked so good that I could be sure of sticking with it on my own :wink: Save dollars, not have to worry what I wear etc :wink:

(Denise) #10

LOL :slight_smile: I know if I was married I’d want my “me time”. I still hope to meet someone to share my life with but have to maintain some of my independence and my mate would have to be pretty much the same in that area :wink:


Back is always hard, many different muscles and you hit them all different ways, plus, you only see it in the mirror. Backs are the most neglected group to hit for most, yet one of the most beneficial. Training the back and getting it as strong as possible helps your overall strength, fixes posture, helps low back pain etc.

Pull ups - assisted ones are fine!
Single arm dumbbell rows - can also be done on cable with low pulley
T-Bar rows - same, can also be done with cable on low pulley
Farmers Carries - pick up some heavy (for you) db’s and walk somewhere!
Reverse Hyper extensions - very effective even with only bodyweight!

All amazing back workouts.

(Denise) #12

Yes, that’s what the video was about I watched. What do you think of these 4, or were there 5 ;)?

I hope this is the right url :wink:

I was doing the single arm rows wrong, glad I watched this, hopefully he is right :wink:

(Allie) #13

I have that too :grin:


I learned it differently too but I will test this…
I only knew this for back, I liked the exercise enough, it only needed one dumbbell so I stuck to it. But Farmer’s carry is so very simple :smiley: I just don’t have enough weights for that, probably… (I have but I won’t take apart my barbell for it, I am lazy. There was some talking about their weights somewhere lately, well my barbell weighs only 7.5kg. It was heavy enough for me, I mean, 10-12 kg would have been better but 15kg would have been too much in the beginning).

I never found the perfect exercise for triceps though. It was fine in the beginning when I had tiny weights (I have 3.25kg dumbbells :D) but then it put some weird pressure on my joints…? I tried various exercises since and none was really comfortable.

(Denise) #15

Right, we have to find the right one for us. I wanted something free-weight for my back muscles as nothing I was already doing with cables seemed to have an effect. I can do the 45 on the Smith Machine but w/o it I would never be able to. I can see how an exercise is noted for hitting certain muscle groups but I was surprised to know that squats also work your abs.

I don’t like changing weights on dumb-bells or bar-bells either. I see there are more expensive types like I’ll show below, but me affording those or getting any for home use is way off in the future for now :wink: PS forgot the link but I think I would buy this one if I go back to Home-gym workouts:
Dumb bells

(Denise) #16

Yes, I got the digital on my kindle and glad to have it because Mark’s exercises can be done w/o any extra tools as you all know :wink: Simple and effective and if they are good enough for our military, they’re good enough for me :wink: Hoo’ya!!

(Bob M) #17

Pretty much everything works your abs. For instance, if you’re doing a bench press, you should tighten your hamstrings and core to give you more stability while doing the press. Even if you’re doing something like one-arm curls, your core should be tight so you can keep the body still while concentrating on lifting your arm smoothly and with only a brief stop at the top and a slow descent.

Of course, way back when I started, no one called it the “core”, but you used it all the time. I got so strong that I could put a 45 pound plate on my chest and do decline sit ups. (Not sure I would recommend that today, but that’s what we did back then.)

(Allie) #18

The biggest game changer for my back muscle development, confirmed by my chiropractor and all of the shirts and sports bras I’ve had to replace, hasn’t even been lifting, it’s been the rowing machine. That works every single back muscle as well as core, legs and shoulders.

Whatever you do though, it’s not just about moving the weight as that’s not what makes the difference, it’s about actually feeling the muscles working as you move the weight so a lot of the time it’s the mental connection to the muscle that’s not what it should be.

(Denise) #19

I know exactly what you are talking about Allie! I’ve done this before but don’t practice it. I will start doing it, and it does feel like a mental connection, and goes along with listen to your body! Thanks so much for the reminder :slight_smile:

I’ve been doing the cable-row, it’s one of my faves on that cable machine. I totally forgot about that working the back, in fact the only thing I was shown was how to do it so I don’t injure my back. They said to pull back (into position) using my legs, not my back, and lean back as I do them. What do you think about that form, was that good info I got? I can also check for a video to show you how I am doing them:
this looks like what I do except I lean back more and don’t arch my back. If this is right, I’m doing them wrong Cable Rows

(Denise) #20

This guy has a closer form that I was shown @Shortstuff:


Wow! I didn’t know such easy to change dumbbells exist - but even if money wouldn’t be so precious to me now, I wouldn’t spend much on it, probably. It’s not THAT hard to change my weights, I am just super lazy and try to avoid it :smiley: But I can do it easily, at least for my barbell with the best way to keep the weights on, it clicks while the second best is screwing the holder object aaaaalll the way and the third can’t even keep them well, they jingle and move and it’s just annoying.
And I like to adjust the weight subtly, like adding 0.5kg sometimes… More like 1kg but I can do 0.5 if I want to.
But it may be a good idea for some people indeed… I probably could use a set and only would use my normal ones when I need bigger or subtler weights - and I have 3 dumbbells anyway (and my 3.25 and 2kg one piece ones) as it’s needed to avoid changing the weights between exercises. I need to take apart only the barbell but not completely, some weight stays on.
it’s really no big deal, it has the best stuff, the clicking one I only find a few years ago and now I want another but the shop had supply problems - but I still find it a chore. IDK why I am this bad with this specific something. I have similarly unliked but no big deal activities that have to be done and I do them if they are as quick as changing weights. I change weights too but I do my best to avoid it and do some inner whining about it sometimes.

Oh, core. My weak point. I can’t do anything that involves that, I am not sure how I can walk with being that extremely weak. My plank (very normal version) time is 5 seconds. I can do exactly 0 normal push ups. Abs exercises are so pitiful I just avoid them, I know I would need some but I can’t improve, apparently.
Yeah I need to pick up that thing too but the last thing I need right know to face I am weaker than a kitten. Other muscle groups? I feel normal for a lazy untrained female (well I have read articles about the average girl being able to lift huge weights but considering my healthy male SO can’t even go near those and I started with a tiny fragment and I wasn’t some particularly fragile bedridden one, I doubt it). Nevermind I lift since years, lazily and with breaks though but I am stronger than before.

I am sorry I write this much here but it psyche me up, I wanna do it more seriously now!