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Weightlifting women--questions


nevergiveup
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I would call myself casual when it comes to using weights.

For those of you who are serious, I have some questions:

Do you weightlift at home or at a gym?

If you do it at home, what sort of equipment do you use--do you own a squat rack or something similar?

 

And, this is because I wimp out and need motivation:  how much weight are you lifting?

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At home, but I would prefer the gym.

 

Me haz.

 

Me wants.

 

Me wants this too.

 

Me recommends.

 

I also have bands, a swiss ball, and a few other miscellaneous items. I've done various Beachbody programs and now I'm doing mixed martial arts and the weight training program from that book. Well, technically I'm nursing a hiking injury, but that's what I would like to be doing.

 

Dumbbell exercises vary between 17lbs and 30lbs. I'm only squatting 60, but I *just* got my barbell and I haven't done a deadlift yet.

 

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I've been lifting at a gym for almost two months :)

 

We have a bench similar to that third link at home, w a bar too heavy for me and lots of weights. We also have a few sets of dumbbells, a Swiss ball, an adjustable step, and lots of various bands.

 

I squat a whopping 35 lbs but deadlift 60 lb and bench press 50 lb :D Yesterday I leg-pressed 270 lb, the same amount my dh does :D

 

I have a tricky shoulder and cannot fully extend my arm above my head nor do fly-like moves with weight higher than 5 lb. Because of that, I work with a trainer. He's helping me get stronger all over while not hurting myself :)

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I've done it at the gym -- Squat just under 300 lbs and bench just over 100 -- but I really got kinda bored with going over there. I've been working my way through the startbodyweight program, which is tremendous fun.

 

Edit: http://www.startbodyweight.com/ -- the progressions really start very gently and are well illustrated. If you've done nothing, the beginner routine at the top here -- http://www.startbodyweight.com/p/some-sample-custom-programs.html -- might be better. 

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Forgot to say----I love, love the book linked above. In fact, I have it sitting next to me right now :). The trainer has introduced me to about half of the moves (with others that aren't in the book) so I feel more confident knowing which work for my shoulder and which do not.

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I do. I do it at the gym. DH is planning on setting up some equipment here, but to do that we have to clean out the garage which hasn't happened yet. Our gym has a computer program where they test you initially and then the system comes up with a program for you daily. I have my weights set to "Heavy". I don't deadlift because I'm nervous I couldn't do it right without a trainer. I squat 130 and bench 75. 

 

ETA: The book linked above is amazing. I read it from the library and then bought my own copy from Amazon. I'm not yet confident enough to go  all on my own, but  one day would like to try to.

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I work out at the gym. I get a free membership because I teach a class, though, and they have so much more equipment available than I would ever want to purchase and store at my house. Even back when I had to pay for my membership, it was a great deal. My kids were older when I started working out, so it was easy for me to go to the gym as I didn't have to worry about child care.

 

As far as how much weight you should be doing, that is going to be individual. Start with something light and if it's way too easy, go heavier. If I can do ten reps of something and not be exerting a lot of effort to complete that last rep, it's too light Sometimes, though, I will do a weight that I can only do 6 reps. I alternate. But if I can do over 10 reps with a weight, I consider it too light. Most importantly, make sure you are using proper form. Practice this with light, easy weights before you start going heavy. If you can't complete your entire set with proper form, you're going too heavy.

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http://www.fitnessblender.com/

They've got so many videos now that it's harder to find what you want/need.  But they do have a number of strength training videos that don't use much equipment.  You just need to search around and find the ones where it isn't the guy showing off his impossible strength. 

 

If I'm not using those, I just go to the gym.  I need an outing anyway.  The equipment at the gym tends to be much higher quality and therefore easier and safer to use than anything I could afford.  Free weights are cheap and small, but after awhile you build up to the point where you need ones that could break a foot.  And if you want to lift over your head, well, there's your head....

 

And I don't want a lot of equipment cluttering up our house.  Can barely walk around as it is.

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I bought a squat rack and olympic weight set off of Craigslist for $500. Love it. I also do The New Rules of Lifting for Women. I havent done it for 3 months and am restarting. 

 

Why are you restarting? I've just started and I'm nosy.

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For those of you that are lifting and using the NROL book, did you have prior weight lifting experience? Were you carrying any extra weight or had been a non-exerciser to start with? Have you ever had professional instruction in weight training?

 

I really like the book and bought when it was recommended on the other thread. However, I've been lifting off and on since the mid "80's and know enough that at my weight and conditioning, that several of the exercises in the beginning routine need to be modified. I know the author's not big on form, but you can do some serious damage if your core is really weak, you've never done a plank, and you go straight for the prone jack knife on the Swiss ball. The modifications in the book are a bit more apparent in the book for things like push-ups, but there is no real discussion about modifying what you are not quite ready to do.

 

Just curious?

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For those of you that are lifting and using the NROL book, did you have prior weight lifting experience? Yes. Were you carrying any extra weight or had been a non-exerciser to start with? I've been working out for the past 4 years. I've lost over 100 pounds, but I'm still overweight.  Have you ever had professional instruction in weight training? No.

 

I really like the book and bought when it was recommended on the other thread. However, I've been lifting off and on since the mid "80's and know enough that at my weight and conditioning, that several of the exercises in the beginning routine need to be modified. I know the author's not big on form, but you can do some serious damage if your core is really weak, you've never done a plank, and you go straight for the prone jack knife on the Swiss ball. The modifications in the book are a bit more apparent in the book for things like push-ups, but there is no real discussion about modifying what you are not quite ready to do.

 

Just curious?

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I lift at the gym (YMCA) but only with my trainer (I take a group training class once a week) or occasionally with dh. I have only been doing it since August and had no previous experience so I don't attempt it on my own.

 

I don't do tons of weight. I can back squat about 75 lbs. and bench about 50 lbs. My trainer likes LOTS of reps though. I could do more if I was only doing a few reps, probably, but 6-8 sets of 10 starts to wear on you after awhile. Still, I do the least amount of weight in my group. We do lots of body weight exercises as well.

 

I will say that lifting has done a tremendous amount for my confidence, not to mention my muscles!

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Thank you, you amazing women, you!

I think part of why I wimp out is because I do not have the right equipment at home and worry about getting hurt (squats without a rack or chest presses without some safety bar).

Off to check Craigslist.....

 

Yeah, this is another reason I went for primarily bodyweight + modifications. I was getting heavy enough that I was genuinely concerned. 

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Thank you, you amazing women, you!

I think part of why I wimp out is because I do not have the right equipment at home and worry about getting hurt (squats without a rack or chest presses without some safety bar).

Off to check Craigslist.....

 

You can do a lot at home with minimal equipment, but a full length mirror in your workout space in really helpful if you are checking your form against a book or other instructions. For a beginner, you can get a lot of mileage out of bodyweight work along with dumbbells and a Swiss ball. Also, do your research when you purchase equipment like barbells and benches. A lot of the cheap benches are unstable and create more of a headache than you need. Go to a professional sporting equipment store, not a sporting goods shop, and talk to their knowledgeable staff. Get to know what a piece of good equipment is like, then scale down. I made due for a long time with a piano bench and then a Swiss ball after we ditched our crappy bench. Sometimes it's better to workout for a while, see what you like and what your needs are before going crazy on equipment. That gives you time to pinch your pennies and get what works for you.

 

Yeah, this is another reason I went for primarily bodyweight + modifications. I was getting heavy enough that I was genuinely concerned. 

 

:tongue_smilie: Smart girl. I was a bit shocked to discover the strength difference between my younger, much thinner self, and my older, heavier self that has no stomach muscles to help protect her back while lifting.  Bodyweight exercises with extra bulk can every bit as challenging as weighted workouts.

 

Kiana, I've loved seeing your story and what you're doing to get in shape. Thanks for sharing. It's inspiring.

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Kiana, I've loved seeing your story and what you're doing to get in shape. Thanks for sharing. It's inspiring.

 

Hey, thanks a lot, I always worry that it's going to be bragging rather than how I mean it (which is as encouragement).

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I go to the gym.  I was doing Pilates and the machines at the "old people's gym" (seriously, I was one of the youngest people there), and my oldest wanted desperately to start working out.  My beloved Pilates teacher quit to stay home with her baby, so we both switched to the "serious" gym.  

 

Both of us signed up for six weeks of small group group classes with the trainers to teach us how to lift safely.  He went to a youth class, and I usually got the head trainer all to myself because we went mid-afternoon.  Frankly it was a life-changer.  I ended up doing the class for four months (just finished).  I'm much stronger and more agile, and I feel very comfortable in the weight room.  I'm still "cuddly" and have some weight to lose, but my muffin top is gone.

 

No regrets at all.  We went this afternoon, and I was able to ask the head trainer several questions, and DS came home and emailed his trainer a question and got a reply right away.  We feel like we have very good instruction and ongoing support there. 

 

Their equipment is really nice too.  Actually much better than the previous gym.

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Some backhanded encouragement:  I started lifting weights so as to lose weight.

 

I've only gained.

 

I suspect I've lost *some* fat in the process, but the scale doesn't have a clue.

 

However, I can lift things now.  There's something to be said for that.

 

Having muscle is a lot healthier than not having it.  So if you don't lose pounds, don't be discouraged. 

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Some backhanded encouragement: I started lifting weights so as to lose weight.

 

I've only gained.

 

I suspect I've lost *some* fat in the process, but the scale doesn't have a clue.

 

However, I can lift things now. There's something to be said for that.

 

Having muscle is a lot healthier than not having it. So if you don't lose pounds, don't be discouraged.

Agree! When I started lifting weights, I was not overweight, and I also gained weight. I see it as a sign that it's (building muscle mass) working. :)

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Some backhanded encouragement:  I started lifting weights so as to lose weight.

 

I've only gained.

 

I suspect I've lost *some* fat in the process, but the scale doesn't have a clue.

 

However, I can lift things now.  There's something to be said for that.

 

Having muscle is a lot healthier than not having it.  So if you don't lose pounds, don't be discouraged. 

 

Yes, this has been my experience.  I've lost some weight, but not as much as you might expect.  I've gone down several sizes though and look different.

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Yes, this has been my experience.  I've lost some weight, but not as much as you might expect.  I've gone down several sizes though and look different.

 

Yes.

 

People always underestimated my weight (because I was always muscular) but the amount by which they underestimate is much higher now. 

 

(it's great for winning things at the guess your weight booth)

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Yes.

 

People always underestimated my weight (because I was always muscular) but the amount by which they underestimate is much higher now. 

 

(it's great for winning things at the guess your weight booth)

 

This has been my experience as well. I have lost about 70 lbs. but because of the weight training, my body is much different. (I was NEVER athletic. NEVER.) Most people would guess I've lost closer to 100 lbs.

 

Also seconding the pp's suggestion of body weight exercises. Things like push-ups, burpees, etc. not only build muscle, they get your heart rate up. And I love, love, love me some kettle bells!!

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Some backhanded encouragement:  I started lifting weights so as to lose weight.

 

I've only gained.

 

I suspect I've lost *some* fat in the process, but the scale doesn't have a clue.

 

However, I can lift things now.  There's something to be said for that.

 

Having muscle is a lot healthier than not having it.  So if you don't lose pounds, don't be discouraged. 

 

I am so glad you posted this. I started putting on weight in college and around my junior year, my mom mentioned that she was using light weights at her classes and that she kind of liked it. Most gyms then didn't look like they do now. I went in search of a place to lift weights in our college town and found myself at a true body building gym and was one of only 4-5 women max that were lifting. It was a blast and the Pumping Iron  movies with Rachel McLish were making the rounds.

 

I loved how I felt, but stopped after nearly a year because I wasn't losing weight. :tongue_smilie:  I was so dumb. My dh recently pulled out photos from that time and I look smaller, shapelier, and stronger at 25 lbs heavier,but muscled. than I did at 115 as a freshman. Especially as we age, strength training is critical in strengthening our bone density and keeping us active. Thankfully, I have a scale that shows percentage body fat and lean mass. Last year, a year of relative inactivity cost me 4 lbs of lean muscle. That's bad. I am working to regain it.

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Some backhanded encouragement:  I started lifting weights so as to lose weight.

 

I've only gained.

 

I suspect I've lost *some* fat in the process, but the scale doesn't have a clue.

 

However, I can lift things now.  There's something to be said for that.

 

Having muscle is a lot healthier than not having it.  So if you don't lose pounds, don't be discouraged. 

4 years ago I was a size 23W and weighed 272 pounds.

 

2 years ago I was a size 18 and weighed 215 pounds.

 

Now I'm a size 14 and weigh nearly 240 pounds. And I'm kinda hot. I'm still overweight, but working on it. My goal weight was 180 (yeah, I'm not short), but now I know that I don't care.

 

 

My weightloss journey which turned into a permanent healthy lifestyle involved throwing my scale out. Not too long into my weight training I lost a pants size and jumped on the scale with glee, just to discover that I had GAINED 7 pounds. I think I cried for an hour. After continuing to see improvement and continuing to be discouraged by my weight gain the scale needed to go.

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4 years ago I was a size 23W and weighed 272 pounds.

 

2 years ago I was a size 18 and weighed 215 pounds.

 

Now I'm a size 14 and weigh nearly 240 pounds. And I'm kinda hot. I'm still overweight, but working on it. My goal weight was 180 (yeah, I'm not short), but now I know that I don't care.

 

 

My weightloss journey which turned into a permanent healthy lifestyle involved throwing my scale out. Not too long into my weight training I lost a pants size and jumped on the scale with glee, just to discover that I had GAINED 7 pounds. I think I cried for an hour. After continuing to see improvement and continuing to be discouraged by my weight gain the scale needed to go.

Totally agree that the scale needs to go.

I do not weigh myself nor do I look when at the doctor's office (and I tell them not to tell me!).

Wish there were more reliable at home body fat measurers.

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Totally agree that the scale needs to go.

I do not weigh myself nor do I look when at the doctor's office (and I tell them not to tell me!).

Wish there were more reliable at home body fat measurers.

 

well, I have calipers, a bodyfat scale, and I used the circumference method the navy uses as well. since they were all within 2% I assumed I was close enough. 

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Totally agree that the scale needs to go.

I do not weigh myself nor do I look when at the doctor's office (and I tell them not to tell me!).

Wish there were more reliable at home body fat measurers.

 

I've heard there are if you happen to have $500 laying around.

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I've done it at the gym -- Squat just under 300 lbs and bench just over 100 -- but I really got kinda bored with going over there. I've been working my way through the startbodyweight program, which is tremendous fun.

 

Edit: http://www.startbodyweight.com/ -- the progressions really start very gently and are well illustrated. If you've done nothing, the beginner routine at the top here -- http://www.startbodyweight.com/p/some-sample-custom-programs.html -- might be better. 

I like their graph, I'm not officially following their program but have ended up doing something similar on my own. I was doing a bodyweight program last year with higher reps and sets but my progress was a bit slow so now I'm trying lower reps and going through progressions quicker.

 

I did weightlift before and really enjoyed it, I had a squat rack with bench and 300#+ of weights but we were running out of room in the basement and I felt like doing bodyweight work more so I sold it(which was kind of funny because the guy assumed it was dh's). I had went a couple of years ago to get some training on some olympic moves but after going through it I felt less sure of doing it on my own and decided bodyweight was more my speed. I like being able to just throw it in my day and there is an unlimited amount of things one can do, you will never get so strong that you run out of moves to challenge your body. I wouldn't mind going to the gym for a few exercises, mainly deadlifts and weighted squats but it isn't worth taking the time out of my schedule for just a couple of exercises. 

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Yep, scales are stupid. I decided 4 weeks ago to stop weighing and measuring. I plan to measure in 2 weeks but I don't know if I'll weigh. It seems that the scale is not currently my friend. I need(ed) time to focus on the things I could control, increasing strength and endurance, without getting hung up on weight fluctuations making me forget what healthy means and too often ones number on the scale isn't the best indicator. 

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I've done it at the gym -- Squat just under 300 lbs and bench just over 100 -- but I really got kinda bored with going over there. I've been working my way through the startbodyweight program, which is tremendous fun.

 

Edit: http://www.startbodyweight.com/ -- the progressions really start very gently and are well illustrated. If you've done nothing, the beginner routine at the top here -- http://www.startbodyweight.com/p/some-sample-custom-programs.html -- might be better. 

OH, I just checked there again because I'm at the top of my rep range on deep squats but not able to move onto pistols. I found the Bulgarian Split Squat and Shrimp Squat, neither of which I've done so I tried those out, I'll have to throw those in with my squats. I'm about as far off from the shrimp as I am the pistol, I kept slipping my handing and dropping it.

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I've done it at the gym -- Squat just under 300 lbs and bench just over 100 -- but I really got kinda bored with going over there. I've been working my way through the startbodyweight program, which is tremendous fun.

 

Edit: http://www.startbodyweight.com/ -- the progressions really start very gently and are well illustrated. If you've done nothing, the beginner routine at the top here -- http://www.startbodyweight.com/p/some-sample-custom-programs.html -- might be better. 

 

Thanks for these links. I've got a new routine printed out that I'm about to start.

Is there a video of his stretches anywhere? I have a hard time figuring some of them out from the description and photo.

 

ETA: one other question: are you supposed to be doing the same number of planks as other reps? (ie, 4,5, 6) or just one plank of x duration? I get that you go up in seconds each new session for the plank. I am assuming that these are done as a circuit, though, so the plank would go in with the rest of the circuit, but am not sure. ETA2: Now I am more confused and wondering if they are to be done as a set (ie all your squats) with a rest between sets. That's how I ended up doing them today, anyway!

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Fwiw when doing a circuit I just go through all the exercises once, trying to do ones that are opposing muscle groups back to back to minimize breaks.. Each circuit then consists of 1 set of each exercise.

 

That's what I initially thought about startbodyweight, but then I had second thoughts. I was wondering if there was something about tiring out a particular muscle group that he was going for. The beginners set has a 60 sec break between sets, which seems long if it's a circuit, but about right if it's the same muscle group. I wish I knew more about the physiology of this. I will ask one of the trainers at the gym I go to. Several have masters degrees and it's a gym where people doing rehab are sent in addition to us community folks.

 

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That's what I initially thought about startbodyweight, but then I had second thoughts. I was wondering if there was something about tiring out a particular muscle group that he was going for. The beginners set has a 60 sec break between sets, which seems long if it's a circuit, but about right if it's the same muscle group. I wish I knew more about the physiology of this. I will ask one of the trainers at the gym I go to. Several have masters degrees and it's a gym where people doing rehab are sent in addition to us community folks.

 

60 seconds doesn't seem long to me, especially when doing exercises that are in that rep range, meaning they are HARD for you. Really I don't time anything, some exercises I can do nearly back to back but some require full out effort and I always take a good size break, alot of these are full body moves and involved. My thought is to just go for it again when I feel that I can give it a good effort.

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When I do circuits, I do the 4 or 5 different exercises (8-12 reps, depending) without a break in between. That 60 seconds between circuit sets is long enough for me to catch my breath, get a quick drink of water, laugh at myself, and get into position to start again.

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That's what I initially thought about startbodyweight, but then I had second thoughts. I was wondering if there was something about tiring out a particular muscle group that he was going for. The beginners set has a 60 sec break between sets, which seems long if it's a circuit, but about right if it's the same muscle group. I wish I knew more about the physiology of this. I will ask one of the trainers at the gym I go to. Several have masters degrees and it's a gym where people doing rehab are sent in addition to us community folks.

 

 

Sorry, I didn't have internet this weekend. It's not a circuit. It could probably be done as a circuit but that's not how he set it up. Planks it's just one plank per workout.

 

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