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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
O.K. So I did some of the weight training I'm supposed to be doing today. Some of the exercises I have done before, some I have not, and most of them I used different equipment than I have in past. So, I'm not sure how to figure out the actual weight I am lifting. I tried to start out light today since I hadn't done some of the exercises before.<br><br>
The biggest question I have is about the leg press. I've always done leg press, but I used the machine. The machine I used had the weights that went up and down on pulleys or something, and I would push against a stationary surface and move my body up at a 45 degree angle along with the weights. So, it was really hard to figure out ACTUALLY how much weight I was doing.<br><br>
Today, I used the free weights machine where you are sort of lying down and you push the weights up (45 degree angle). I did not put any weights on it, though. It was pretty tough to do a lot of reps. So, how heavy is the sled itself? Does it vary? I know my legs are not that strong, but no weight? My quads are pretty strong, but my weakness on leg press is the glutes and hams (at least that's where I'm feeling it).<br><br>
The second question I have is about squats. I used the free weights machine instead of barbells because I was by myself. I put on 90 lbs., but the bar weighs something. I know in college when I worked out, the bar I benched weighed 45 lbs. with no weights on it. Does the bar on the squat machine weigh the same? Oh, and I now have a bruise on the back of my neck/upper back. There was a pad, but I think I need more padding!<br><br>
The others were pretty straight forward, as I did rows, lat pulldown (seated), lat pulldown (standing), and torso twists. I've done all those before.<br><br>
I might just have to ask the people at the gym, but I didn't know if they were pretty much standard or not.<br><br>
Any other advice on this subject would be appreciated. I know how to do strength training, and I make sure I'm doing each exercise correctly, but I'm also no expert.
 

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You could be madcap and ask someone at the gym to show you how to do a proper squat with free weights. You can start with a standard olympic bar, which weighs 45 pounds and go to your legs are at 90 degrees. Squats are a great conditioning exercise for your cycling muscles. For the full monty, add bench, cleans and deadlifts--you'll be reaching for a tin of Skol and some ammonia caps before you know it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
O.K. My friend who works out at my gym and had a personal trainer for a while said that the leg press is 100 lbs. with no weights. I don't feel SO bad now, but I have a LONG way to go!! That's what I was setting the machine on as well, so I'm guessing they are pretty close to the same.<br><br>
I think the squats bar is 45 lbs. as well.<br><br>
I have a long way to go!! On the squats, I'm doing a little more than my body weight, so I still have about 25 lbs. to go there. On the leg press, though, I'm not even at my body weight, and I should be at 2.5x! That's A LOT of weight! My rows are right where they should be, but my standing lat pull down needs to improve a bit.<br><br>
Well, at least I know where I need to focus! Does it make sense that I can squat more than I can leg press?
 

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<i>There is a great post in the 24 hr gym or whatever they call it on proper squat technique. Best advise concerning all strength training. Proper form!! if you are not sure ask. I wouldn't worry about working big endurance sets yet... start slow, get the hang of it. Build a little strength then go for endurance</i>
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I tried to do squats with free weights at first, but I had a hard time getting that much weight up over my head. So, I opted for the bar that was attached to a track. I didn't have to lift the weight, and it was safer if I dropped it. I do some bench, but I use dumbbells because my left arm is weaker than my right. Plus, I don't have a spotter. My MIL injured herself doing bench with no spotter. They had changed where you put the bar, and she missed it on one side. It hit her face. She's lucky she didn't shatter the bones in her face. She looked like she had been in a bar fight, though. I have done deadlifts in the past, but I have to really be careful with those.<br><br>
I was doing the squats with the bar plus 90 lbs. I was able to squat until my legs were almost at a 90 degree angle. I did 3 sets of 12, so it wasn't incredibly hard. There are lots of mirrors, so I make sure my form is correct while doing them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks! I checked it out. It looks pretty much like every other photo I've seen of squats. I think that's what I look like when I do them. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"> I'm really a stickler for form. SO many people at the gym use bad form (there was a guy there today, in fact) If I can't get it right, I just skip it until I can. I won't continue doing it wrong. I usually get DH to help me if I have trouble. I always start with little or no weight when I try a new exercise. That's what I did with the squats today. I started with just the bar, then I added weight once I got the form down.
 

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Kelli,<br>
it sounds like you are using the Smith. Does it have those safety catches you can set?<br><br>
if your bar is in the track, life gets really easy. Take a step. You know from step class. No risers. put said step a front foot lunge distance in front of the bar about 3 feet. Then stand on the step and reach back to get bar. When you squat down the track and the step combine to lock you in perfect position.<br><br>
Sounds like you are doing everything just right! <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif">
 

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3CP, I have a hard time with machines they seem like so much work to me. But I have very weak hamstrings and have been working on them too. These are a couple of exercises for the hammies that our coach has us do if you want to try them. You will definitely feel these the day after and they work the core.<br><br>
Lunge on the ball - place one leg behind you on a ball and squat. Squat does not have to be far out just low. Repeat on each leg 12 times.<br><br>
Step ups with weights -using heavy hand weights and a step about 24 inches high do 12 step ups for each leg. We repeat these in 3-4 sets.
 

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Ball lunges...just body weight or w/dumb bells?
 

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3CP,<br>
The bar on the smith machine should weigh in at 10lbs <i>IF</i> it has pulleys or straps attached to it. If not it is probably the 45 lbs. I would caution to be careful doing your squats in the smith machine though. B/C the bar has to travel on that track it may put your back in a bit of a compressed state. They are perfect for the step squat mentioned above though. If you cannot get the bar over your head for barbell squats use the squat rack, along the wall of the gym, it racks the bar at whatever height you need, then you step back to do your squats.<br><br>
Nice work by the way, too many people are scared of the squat for no reason, and it is proven to be the exercise that activates the most muscles of any exercise possible.<br>
Gym rule number 1. If your not squattin your not lifting. keep it up
 

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*snorts* Those guys crack me up. They have super heavy weights they can't handle and use momentum and muscle groups that shouldn't be used in the exercise to lift the weight. Grunting loudly the whole time, typically.<br><br>
I had to try not to laugh at the gym yesterday. This guy was doing bicep curls - going super fast and rocking his body so his back could get in on the action. I wonder if these people know that doing the exercise faster does not mean you're stronger-- you need to stay in control of the weight. If you're stronger, you don't need the momentum of going fast-- and you sure don't move the rest of your body so that pressure is taken off the bicep.
 

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I am sold on free weights, especially dumbbells There are a ton of variations when using dumbbells for squats. You can hold them down at your side, up on your shoulders, or if you want to engage your arms and upper back at the same time as your legs, hold two dumbbells vertically together slightly in front of your chest while you do your squats.<br><br>
I do like the Smith machine for bench press though those I've taken to doing with dumbbells while lying on a stability ball. I lie on it at my shoulders which forces me to engage my core and glutes while doing flys and presses. Works good for lying overhead triceps too. Like free weights, I am sold on the stability ball too. At my next yard sale my bench is going.<br><br>
Agreeing very much with other posts about "rockers" at the gym: the slower the better. I might lose my man card for saying this but I think slower with higher reps for weights and plyometic exercises without weights are what endurance athletes should be doing even if they seem "girlie" compared to the standard lift as much as you can with 8-10 reps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yes, that's it. I don't know if I get the step thing, though. The bar is 3 feet behind me and I'm standing on the step? Shouldn't the weight be over my feet? I'm thinking I wasn't squatting far enough, so next time I'll use less weight and just try to squat farther down and do more reps.<br><br>
I can do those at home! Yippee! I was going to do the step ups anyway. I saw a woman doing the one leg squat on the same machine I was using, but the ball sounds like more fun. I have a ball at home that I use for core work. Thanks!<br><br>
No pulleys on this one, just the track and the safety catches on the sides. It definitely weighs more than 10 lbs. Can you find a photo of the step squat. I just don't know if I get it (I don't want to do it wrong). I don't think my gym has a squat rack. They have a rack with a bunch of barbells on it for storage, but they don't have a rack against a wall. That's where I was confused and gave up on that one. It is a small gym. I'm not afraid of the squat -- I know it is going to be the best exercise for my cycling!<br><br>
Thanks for the tips. I may try using dumbbells for squats instead. I think it would be easier for me. I just really don't like that bar on my back! I feel like I have more control over what my back is doing if the weight is not there. I will also try doing bench and fly on the ball. I always do them on the bench with dumbbells. I can do them on the ball at home! Even better! In fact, I can do lots of these exercises at home now! I have dumbbells at home, but that's about it.<br><br>
Yes, the "rockers" are hilarious! This guy yesterday was doing a machine really fast and abruptly. It was obvious he had too much weight. I get compliments from guys every now and then because I have pretty strong arms, and I use free weights instead of the machines. I also have good form (DH taught me back in college how to do everything). If I start to lean back even the slightest bit when doing bicep curls, I know it is time to stop or reduce the weight.<br><br>
I am SO sore today!! I know -- it's a GOOD sore!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yeah, we have those. Not many at my gym, though. I like the atmosphere. Most of the guys are older or they are pretty humble. I can't stand the grunters! My gym is mostly women (at least when I'm there). I usually have the free weight area to myself unless a woman has a training session. It rocks!
 

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<br>
I do like the Smith machine for bench press though those I've taken to doing with dumbbells while lying on a stability ball. I lie on it at my shoulders which forces me to engage my core and glutes while doing flys and presses. Works good for lying overhead triceps too. Like free weights, I am sold on the stability ball too. At my next yard sale my bench is going.<br><br>
quote]<br><br><br>
extra points for douggie fresh!!!<br><br><br>
no you want the weight over your hips. your feet, on this type of squat should be a giant step in front of you<br><br><img alt="" src="http://exercise.about.com/library/graphics/wide-leg-squat.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"> can't find a good video of the step squat (lots of bad form on the online video's). Put the back edge of the step where her heels are. I'd even say 2-3 inches farther than her heels are. See how her heel is slightly behind her knee? You want to be lined up.<br><br><a href="http:/b%3E:window.open('http://www.onlinesports.com/images/gia-we150.jpg',%20'contact','width=700,height=500,toolbar=no,status=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=yes,resizable=yes'%3Cimg%20src='http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wink.gif'%20/%3E;%20void%200;" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://www.onlinesports.com/images/gia-we150.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a> Typical squat rack set-up looks something near this. Lift your weight, take a step back, squat. These almost always are up against a mirror...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I get it now except are you standing ON the step or IN FRONT of the step? There is no rack at my gym, so I can't do that.
 

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Another good reason to take that bar off the back of your neck is that you can hurt you neck that way. IMHO, any exercises that put a bar on the back of your neck or pull a bar down to the back of your neck (e.g. lat pull downs behind your head) are just dangerous.<br><br>
Maybe the 'roidhead experts can get away with it but all it takes is being a little tired to get seriously hurt.<br><br>
BTW, if you think you are off-balance, out of position, etc. it's your body telling you that it's not doing the right things. Good for you listening to your body. Pull up those toes, keep that lower leg perpendicular to the floor, hinge off your knees and feel the burn! Use your imagination to feel like you are sitting down in a chair and you'll have the right form.
 
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