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Thread: Tips for beginner at weight lifting, small frame female page

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    Waterlily's Avatar
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    Wink Tips for beginner at weight lifting, small frame female

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    I want to start weight lifting and need tips about how to go at it. I'm a 5'3'', 108 lbs female (38 yo). I haven't exerciced in 9 years (had two babies) except for talking long walks and doing occasional elleptical. I'd like a routine I can do at home. I have 8 lbs weights and my husband has 30 lbs weights (I have trouble moving those around when they're in the way for vaccuming...!).

    Any tips/pictures/video on what I should start with?

    Thanks!

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    nburgraff's Avatar
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    The best thing to do when just starting is to begin with bodyweight exercises. This could be a routine as simple as push-ups, lunges, dips (on a chair if you are at home), mountain climbers, and planks just as an example routine.

    Then with the 8lb weights you could do a routine like: woodchoppers, bent-over rows, squats (with weights above your head or held in front of you), curls, single leg RDLs, and russian twists.

    The easiest way to come up with an effective workout on the spot is to include exercises that involve the simple movements of push, pull, squat/lunge, abbduct/adduct, and then core stability. There are plenty more movements as well but if you include these then you will at least have your basis covered.

    hope that helped a little!
    best of luck

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    Thank you so much!
    I feel lost, your advice is very welcome!
    I will look up some of the terms you are using (dips, planks, woodchoppers) as I have no idea what it looks like!
    I have more energy since going from vegan (gluten and dairy free) to paleo. I feel the need to exercice. I feel my body wants to jump around and be more active but I feel silly and don't know where to start as it's been so long since I've been active. Used to do crosscountry ski competitons but that was in another life!
    Thanks for your input, I will follow your advice.

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    nburgraff's Avatar
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    Glad I could help! keep us posted on how it goes

    Thats awesome that you used to race cross country ski, I race collegiate cross country skiing. It is actually what is paying for my college right now, what a coincidence. You should have no problem with any of those exercises then.

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    It was many, many years ago! I was 16 then...
    Congrats for getting your college paid for with sports, how great!

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    There are plenty more movements as well but if you include these then you will at least have your basis covered.

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    The beginners should start Weight lifting from low scales. Get some help from trainers and slowly slowly increase to lifting weights. Do regular weight lifting habits and strictly follow to rules and weight lifting tips.
    Last edited by John Miller; 04-05-2013 at 11:07 PM.

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    Check out PBF by signing up for Mark's introductory emails. It will help you build a solid foundation and then you can progress from there.

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    The big question is: what are your goals?

    The answer to that question will either be exercise or training. What's the difference? If you want to lift weights for general health, to raise your heart rate, get a little stronger, etc. you want to exercise with weights. If you want to lift weights and get a lot stronger, and keep getting stronger, you want to train. Of course both approaches have health benefits, but what might appear to be a subtle difference is actually quite important.

    If you want to exercise, doing bodyweight work and working with light weights will do the trick. Compound movements, i.e. movements that involve many joints and muscle groups, are best, such as push-ups, squats, and pull-ups.

    If you want to train, bodyweight work and light weights will only work initially because you are untrained. To progressively get stronger, your body must continually be exposed to a stress sufficient enough to trigger adaptation. Bodyweight exercises will make you stronger when you are starting out because the stress they provided for your body will be great enough to trigger adaptation. However, once this initial adaptation occurs, progress will stall.

    To understand why this occurs you have to understand the big picture behind strength gains. Your body is very lazy at growing new tissue. It has to be. Thousands of years of evolution made the body conserve energy. Why would it build expensive to maintain muscle tissue? Given the chance, it would rather get rid of existing muscle to require less energy. If you don't use your muscles, what happens? They get weaker. Don't use them for a long time and they'll barely be usable. Look at astronauts for example, a few months without gravity and their strength deteriorates rapidly. The body does not want a lot of muscle. ...Unless, it needs it. How do you make your body need muscle? Expose it to a high stress that will force it to adapt. Another evolutionary trait.

    When your muscles are relatively untrained and weak, basic bodyweight work is stressful enough for your body to force it to adapt. The strength adaptations are architectural, i.e. new tissue such as muscle, bone, and tendon, being built to withstand the stress, and neuromuscular, i.e. the body becomes more efficient at firing more motor units. When you start out, usually both will occur. However, repeating the same bodyweight exercise workout-to-workout will quickly lead to a plateau. Your body will simply adapt to the stress, and will not have the need to adapt further. Now, if you keep increasing the reps the body will continue to adapt, but in a metabolic way, i.e. it will become more efficient at using energy, and will cause an adaptation primarily in the form of endurance, not strength.

    If strength adaptation is to be continued, more stress has to be applied to the body. This is where heavier weight comes in. Once your body is used to squatting with 8lb dumbbells, as in your case, it will have no reason to become stronger, unless you stress it further, with, for example, 12lb dumbbells. Once that adaptation occurs, 15lb, then 20lb, etc. - you get the idea. Another key point is adequate recovery in the form of rest and nutrition. You can't expect your body to make architectural changes without sufficient nutrients and rest.

    The main takeaway is that if you wish to train, more weight and a proper routine of continual stress will become necessary.

  10. #10
    polos26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quikky View Post
    The big question is: what are your goals?

    The answer to that question will either be exercise or training. What's the difference? If you want to lift weights for general health, to raise your heart rate, get a little stronger, etc. you want to exercise with weights. If you want to lift weights and get a lot stronger, and keep getting stronger, you want to train. Of course both approaches have health benefits, but what might appear to be a subtle difference is actually quite important.

    If you want to exercise, doing bodyweight work and working with light weights will do the trick. Compound movements, i.e. movements that involve many joints and muscle groups, are best, such as push-ups, squats, and pull-ups.

    If you want to train, bodyweight work and light weights will only work initially because you are untrained. To progressively get stronger, your body must continually be exposed to a stress sufficient enough to trigger adaptation. Bodyweight exercises will make you stronger when you are starting out because the stress they provided for your body will be great enough to trigger adaptation. However, once this initial adaptation occurs, progress will stall.

    To understand why this occurs you have to understand the big picture behind strength gains. Your body is very lazy at growing new tissue. It has to be. Thousands of years of evolution made the body conserve energy. Why would it build expensive to maintain muscle tissue? Given the chance, it would rather get rid of existing muscle to require less energy. If you don't use your muscles, what happens? They get weaker. Don't use them for a long time and they'll barely be usable. Look at astronauts for example, a few months without gravity and their strength deteriorates rapidly. The body does not want a lot of muscle. ...Unless, it needs it. How do you make your body need muscle? Expose it to a high stress that will force it to adapt. Another evolutionary trait.

    When your muscles are relatively untrained and weak, basic bodyweight work is stressful enough for your body to force it to adapt. The strength adaptations are architectural, i.e. new tissue such as muscle, bone, and tendon, being built to withstand the stress, and neuromuscular, i.e. the body becomes more efficient at firing more motor units. When you start out, usually both will occur. However, repeating the same bodyweight exercise workout-to-workout will quickly lead to a plateau. Your body will simply adapt to the stress, and will not have the need to adapt further. Now, if you keep increasing the reps the body will continue to adapt, but in a metabolic way, i.e. it will become more efficient at using energy, and will cause an adaptation primarily in the form of endurance, not strength.

    If strength adaptation is to be continued, more stress has to be applied to the body. This is where heavier weight comes in. Once your body is used to squatting with 8lb dumbbells, as in your case, it will have no reason to become stronger, unless you stress it further, with, for example, 12lb dumbbells. Once that adaptation occurs, 15lb, then 20lb, etc. - you get the idea. Another key point is adequate recovery in the form of rest and nutrition. You can't expect your body to make architectural changes without sufficient nutrients and rest.

    The main takeaway is that if you wish to train, more weight and a proper routine of continual stress will become necessary.
    Hi Quikki! You actually just might have answer a question that I just posted. I have been having no results in strength or muscle gain, I have been using the same weight day in and day out. My problem though, is that I have actually tried to increase the load and it becomes physically impossible! I am now trying to figure out if its nutrition related, because before going primal I was regularly increasing the loads and seeing and feeling results. Any ideas on what to tweek primaly? I used to take casein at bedtime and I am wondering if that is what my body is missing.
    Loving my primal life

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