If you're focused on developing the strength required for this job then some simple heavy lifting (deads, squats, cleans, presses, pulls) will work well.
If the jobs you are looking for are unloading trailers, or other general warehouse type duties. Get yourself a sandbag, load it with plenty of weight and carry it around. Lots of bodyweight exercises. Get boxes and load them with weights to simulate the type of things you might be lifting. Deadlifts and Squats also. Don't worry about looks right now, just get strong.
I worked unloading trailers as a youngun, and can say strength does mean a lot with that type of work. But muscular endurance is a huge part of the equation also. Back when I was 155lb and 5'10" tall, I outworked all the bodybuilder types. They had the look but had no endurance to keep it up.
Heavy squats. Whatever else you do, include those. Deadlifts, too.
Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
Starting squat: 45lbs. Heaviest squat: 180 x 2. Heaviest Deadlift: 230 x 2
I think it basically comes down to this:
1) Choose your goal: Strength, appearance ("bulk" being the main one here), endurance, etc...the methods are not the same.
2) Find your limits relative to that goal. E.g. if your goal is strength and you can currently lift 75lbs or whatever, find that out.
3) Push your limits until you reach your goal.
Once you can do body weight, start adding additional weight. Kettle bells or plates with handles, etc. Whatever it takes to keep the pressure on as you go through a fairly simple set of motions.
I'm coming to the conclusion that most machines at the gym are at their most useful when your limits are exceeded by body weight exercises. E.g. if you cannot do a body weight pullup, a pull-up assist machine is a good thing. Once you can do your sets of body weight pullups on your own, the value of the machine drops to nill. It's actually really great that gyms are full of those machines because it would sure suck to buy one for yourself given that, if you need it at all, you probably won't need it for very long.
Also, ripped and strong are totally different (arguably mutually exclusive) goals.
Last edited by Him; 11-28-2012 at 08:23 AM.
The various things you mentioned are all compatible with each other, anyway. A good comprehensive program that combined big moves (deads, etc) with kettle bell and bodyweight work would get things done.
A program I've done that incorporated all those, and which got me pretty good results, was the Spartan Warrior Workout, by Dave Randolph, which is based on the 300 workout made popular a few years ago. It's not a heavy lifting workout per se (only 135 on deads - but you get to do 50 reps on test day), but it has lots of kettle bell and body weight stuff, is pretty intense, and fairly easy to understand and follow. And from what you described, your gym should be able to accommodate it.
Thank you all for the advice. I really love these forums. Everyone of you is willing to help each other out. When I get in shape and learn some more I will be dishing out advice as well.
I think I will have to cancel my gym membership when my son is born. Every penny counts!
Now some people mentioned Kettlebells and some others mentioned using sandbags. I found a good website for Kettlebells. They sell Kettlebells at a $1 per pound and it has reasonable shipping costs. Now should I purchase those Kettlebells or go straight for a sandbag? Also I like that I can use the sandbags for deadlifts and squats with it. Also how unstable it is. But at what weight should I look for to get the most benefits?
Make your own bag and you can adjust the weight to your choosing. A sandbag is going to be cheaper per pound compared to kettlebells. Go to an Army Navy surplus and get yourself a duffel bag, then go to a home improvement store for bags of construction sand. They are usually sold in 50 pound bags. Zip ties and some smaller bags to divide the sand into might also be helpful.
Also look for old tires. Once you find a good sized one go to home depot and but some eye-bolts, washers, nuts and a cheap but long tie down or rope. Combine with sand bag and you have a weighted drag sled for less than $20. First time i used my "new" tire and sandbag couple days ago left me laying on the ground for 5 or so minutes.