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Thread: tweaking current gym routine to progress to free weights page

  1. #1
    xixstar's Avatar
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    tweaking current gym routine to progress to free weights

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    I'm new to strength training and my only experience is using the weight machines at the gym. I plan to move over to free weights and have the Starting Strength book on reserve at the library. But honestly, I'm very intimidated by even approaching the free weight area of the gym since I'm on the heavier side.

    So, with that in mind, what can I do with my current weight machine circuit to build strength and confidence so I can cross over to the other side?

    Right now, I'm set up on a basic machines routine as determined by the fitness trainer at the Y that includes about 10 basic machines (leg press, lat pull down, arm curls, leg lifts, etc - I don't know the real names yet). The machines are setup to instruct me to do just 1 set of 8-12 reps. If I hit 12 I can increase the weight for the next time. During my previous membership (2 years ago?), my routine was set to 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps which really took forever to complete so I do like how fast the 1 set each is.

    So since I do want to keep doing the machine circuit for a little while longer, should I adjust the sets/reps or just go on as is? Also does the speed at which they're done matter much? The machines beep if it thinks you're going too fast but usually I just base lifts on breathing in and out speed.

    My goals: overall health benefit, basic strength increase, and plan to lose 50-70 pounds. I'm a 30-something gal just looking to tackle health some more and have really liked the nutrition side of primal but trying to get the fitness side going too.

    -- I did search like crazy for answers, but getting past 'machines are bad' didn't really get me far enough. I do plan to move on to the free weight idea, but I just might need to move there slowly. --
    Last edited by xixstar; 07-03-2012 at 07:42 PM.

  2. #2
    Dirlot's Avatar
    Dirlot is online now Senior Member
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    Starting Strength or Stronglifts

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  3. #3
    xixstar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirlot View Post
    Starting Strength or Stronglifts
    Quote Originally Posted by xixstar View Post
    I plan to move over to free weights and have the Starting Strength book on reserve at the library.
    so, in the mean time..... Plus it'll be a month or so, most likely, to get the book since I'm 3rd in line waiting for the book and there is only 1 copy...

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    Dirlot's Avatar
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    The book is great for from but there is lot of info online regarding the program and if you have a good trainer to check form you are good to go.
    Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
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    EvRevFit's Avatar
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    In this case, +1 for StrongLifts. Lots of online resources to get you started.
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  6. #6
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    Starting Strength is $10 on a kindle, if you have one.
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  7. #7
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    Another big fan of Starting Strength here - well worth the investment if you can afford it.

    In terms of what to do in the meantime... The biggest problem with machines versus free weights is they unnaturally isolate and restrict the working pathway of the muscles involved, so if you're really wanting to keep going with machines but gain more benefits, I'd probably start focusing more on the less controlled ones: cables, lat pulldowns, assisted chins and the like.

    You could also start doing some bodyweight exercises to prime your muscles, joints and reflexes for the change in regime.

    Free weight areas can be a little intimidating when you're new. In a decent gym, you'll be so glad when you finally make the jump, though: any weight lifter worth their salt (or iron?!) will just be pleased to see you there!
    Went primal for the weight loss, stayed for the quality of life!

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    Another big fan of Starting Strength here - well worth the investment if you can afford it.

    In terms of what to do in the meantime... The biggest problem with machines versus free weights is they unnaturally isolate and restrict the working pathway of the muscles involved, so if you're really wanting to keep going with machines but gain more benefits, I'd probably start focusing more on the less controlled ones: cables, lat pulldowns, assisted chins and the like.

    You could also start doing some bodyweight exercises to prime your muscles, joints and reflexes for the change in regime.

    Free weight areas can be a little intimidating when you're new. In a decent gym, you'll be so glad when you finally make the jump, though: any weight lifter worth their salt (or iron?!) will just be pleased to see you there!
    Went primal for the weight loss, stayed for the quality of life!

  9. #9
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    Okay, thanks everyone. I'll look forward to that once I feel a little more ready to get over there and just keep going where I am at in the meantime.

  10. #10
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    It sounds like the program you are doing is based on Body By Science, which a lot of people have had success with around here.

    I'm not saying you should do one or the other, but understanding the program you are on will help you make a better decision about which one will work better for you.

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