I spent years weight training on machines. The consensus here seems to be fairly well against that, even though I was pretty strong. (Lifted all of the stack on half the machines, lifted some of the lighter weight machines for that matter.) But that was years ago. But I'm still strong enough to effortlessly pick up a friend in giving a hug regardless of weight, etc.
What new habits should I be getting into? Free weights and body resistance, I imagine, but I wanted to ask. What should I be doing to ramp up and get in the right swing of things? Or are weight machines good, just not as good as free weights?
asked byJonathan_Hayward (53)
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on January 21, 2013
at 08:44 PM
Hey. I think that always, the bread and butter of your training should be heavy (4-8 reps), free-weight compound lifts (barbell overhead presses, cleans, squats, barbell rows, benches, squats, deadlifts) along with heavy (4-8 reps), weighted body-weight exercises (pistol squats, dips, chins, pull ups). Those should be the bread and butter of your lifting program.
Those exercises with those rep ranges using a progressive overload will give you real, usable strength and muscle density to go with it. This is muscle that doesn't get "flat" even when on a low carb diet.
To take your physique to the next level and for mostly vanity reasons, you can strategically add "pump work" to your routines using rep ranges from 8-15. These "pump exercises" are typically done with "isolation movements" (barbell/dumbbell curls, triceps extensions, lateral raises, cable rows, rear-delt flyes, etc). Pump work should be completed after you've done your heavy compounds.
Now, how to break up your workout is up to you, but when lifting heavy, your central nervous system (CNS) and nerve endings to the firing muscle group are taxed, so when lifting heavy it is always good to rest about 48 hours. Now by rest you can still workout, just don't do heavy lifting during this time-frame. A good way to break up your workouts is do two workouts A and workout B and alternate them every other day, so your doing heavy lifting a total of 3-4 days per week (ex M/W/F OR M/W/F/SU into T/TH/F repeat). You could start with A as upper body days and B as lower body days. Later on, you could move to A days as chest/shoulders/tris and B days as back/bis/legs. It's really up to you.
In every workout, begin with the bread and butter heavy compounds and, if desired, finish with the pump exercises to add in some muscle volume (only if you're eating sufficient carbs) and striations for the icing on the cake.
In addition, it is always good to do some cardio in whatever form you enjoy (walking, running, sprints, swimming, rowing, sports, etc).