Winter Gym Weight Training
Due to the continuous horrific winter weather I’ve taken the plunge and started using the local gym. For a change from the usual CV work I’ve concentrated on resistance training. One day upper body & core, second day lower body & core. It’s early days but so far I’m really enjoying it.
So far I’ve been doing 3 sets of 10 reps, using the same weight each set. The first couple of weeks I’d just about manage 10 reps in each set which was the aim (each set felt as tough as the next). However, the last couple of sessions things seem to be changing. I’ve increased the weight slightly due to finding it a bit easy, only by the smallest increment mind. The first set I’ll complete quite easily. Second I’ll manage my 10 reps but feel I’ve not got much left, third I’m only hitting 8 reps.
So the question is, should I be using heavier weights for the first set and less on the last, or just increase the reps to hit failure each set? Weight training is new to me so hopefully someone with some more experience will be able to point me in the right direction!Posted 4 years ago
theres all sorts of different methods really, some people drop weights for sets, personally i dont.
to me its normal to hit 8 then 6 third set maybe (after shortish rests), just shows youre actually hitting your max on the first set which is good.
rather than concentrate on 3X10, maybe try saying youll do 30 reps total? so 10,8,6,6 or whatever? but youre doing the right thing keeping the weight the same, and increase by small increments when you can hit 12 first set.Posted 4 years ago
Heaviest set last IMHO. Go 5×5 too.Posted 4 years ago
Depends what your goal is to be honest.Posted 4 years ago
I wouldn’t train core two days in a row as the muscles need to recover. I can recommend body weight stuff, pull ups, chins, dips, press ups, dragon flags and hanging leg raises just to get started. I tend to mix hypertrophy and strength training with some super slow stuff to keep it interesting.Posted 4 years ago
It’s best to find what works for you and don’t get too hung up on popular gym dogma. Keep us posted on progress as i’m a gym nut and am always interested in other folks training progress.
I’ve been concentrating on compound exercises & using free weights where I can. Feel a lot better staying off the machines, it’s amazing feeling all the other muscles getting used with say a dumbell bench press compared to the machine for instance.
I’ve had a look at the 5×5 and might give that a go at some point. I want to develop a bit of form first with some basics though to avoid injury.
As for goals I guess just to bulk up a bit & develop some more strength. I was amazed at how weak I was in the upper body compared to the legs. I guess it’s obvious really as a cyclist when your doing 3 long rides a week with a preference for hills. But even then when your managing 140 kg on the leg press but struggle with a single wide armed pull up its a bit of an eye opener.Posted 4 years ago
So far I’ve been doing 3 sets of 10 reps, using the same weight each set.
That rep number is good for sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (muscle mass gain) rather than maximal strength gain (reps in the range 1-5 for myofibrillar hypertrophy – strength gain).
If you aim is to get stronger, rather than bigger, you’d be better off changing to a routine with lower reps e.g.
warm up with two sets of 5 at say 50% then 70%, then do the main work sets at 3-4 reps.
I train for strength only and generally do 2×5 warm up followed by 4×3 either at the same weight, or increasing by 5% each set.Posted 4 years ago
What footflaps and wanman say. You can do speed and also stamina work with weights too. It really does depend on what you want.Posted 4 years ago
There lots of info out there and it really depends on what your “off-season” objectives are. I use a Strong Lifts 5×5 approach and add-in additional exercises for arms and core. Worked really well last year and set me up well for getting back on the bike/etc come January.
The thing I noticed though is that you need to really rigorous about it, otherwise it doesn’t really do much for you. Make sure you’re going on-schedule and following the weight increases each session.Posted 4 years ago
Thanks for all the advice! Some great links there too. Doing 3 sessions a week ATM which I really enjoy. Leg day tonight which is my favourite, except for the dreaded squats! I’m seeing improvement in the weight I’m able to handle so may stick to it for now. Change over to 5×5 when/if I plateau or get bored. The main issue was the increasing weight or reps which you seem to have answered. Only problem now is I may have to buy new riding shorts…a bit tight on the thighs all of a sudden!Posted 4 years ago
Change over to 5×5 when/if I plateau or get bored.
Whatever routine you’re doing, you should change it every 4-6 weeks to keep challenging your body. You can very the reps / sets and/or vary the exercise – eg there are loads of squat variations:
Back Squat (High bar / low bar)
Then add in Pauses at the bottom (eg 3 second hold).
Or Drop to Pins and then lift back out.Posted 4 years ago
I need to explore this stuff as a means to becoming leaner.Posted 4 years ago
There are tons of different approaches, but the most important things are to pick a program, do it consistently and to document your results so you can chart your progress/lack of it.
If something is working for you, and you’re seeing progress then I’d be tempted to stick with it until I plateaued before switching things up. As you’ve stated you’re a beginner then I’d stick with something simple, focus on the main compound lifts (bench, squat and deadlift) with good form, and most importantly, identify what my goals are.
Youtube has some great resources. I can recommend Alan Thrall, Jonny Candito and Omar Isuf’s channels whole heartedly.Posted 4 years ago
Used the suggestion of increasing the weight if I can hit 12 reps in the first set tonight. Worked really well, made the 3 sets feel much more productive.Seem to have made good progress going by tonight’s session. An extra 30kg on the leg press, 20kg on the leg extension, 20kg on calves. All in just over a week. Really chuffed with that!Posted 4 years ago
Use the gym all year. Strength you need about 75% of your maximum weight you can lift. Then 8×6 reps. Use turbo intervals for legs. Reps are more important than weight lifted as is style. No jerking or swinging weights up.
Avoid increasing weight. Assuming you want to improve cycling power and speed. Don’t build bulk with few heavy reps. More reps at the right weight increases strength. Also lighter weight avoids injuryPosted 4 years ago
There’s a book called Starting Strength that I highly recommend. It’s specifically designed for weightlifting novices looking to increase strength and power for other sports.
The basic program is low bar back squats every workout, then either bench press or standing press alternating every workout, then deadlift or power clean alternating. Warm up with gradually increasing weight/decreasing reps (from empty bar 2×5 up to slightly below max for one rep) and then do 3×5, upping the weight every workout.
The book is well worth buying just for the instructions for how to perform each lift properly and safely. If you eat and sleep enough you can carry on increasing weight every workout for months. I’m currently following this program for a second time after a 2 year layoff.
Edit: Book also worth buying for comments such as “If you insist on using gloves, make sure they match your purse”.Posted 4 years ago
I’m an Olympic weightlifter – as such I’m after strength rather than bulk (we compete in weight classes).
As a beginner, just about anything will work and you’ll see some muscle and strength growth. Key point, I think are: (i) do lots of reps initially to get your form right – there are good exercise videos on Catalyst Athletics (use a camera to compare your form to the web videos (ii) do lots of stretching once you’re warm (iii) try to do more compound exercises rather than single muscle lifts – i.e. full squats, rather than leg extensions; close handed pull-ups rather than bicep curls, (iv) try to use dumbells, barbells or kettlebells rather than machines
As for loading, footflaps explains the rep ranges well. 5×5 works for me, but leading up to a competition more singles, doubles and triples in 3-8 sets for strength.Posted 4 years ago
Ha – I’m an olympic weightlifter not an Olympic weightlifter…
Too old and not that good 🙂Posted 4 years ago
I’m an olympic weightlifter not an Olympic weightlifter.
What you mean is you’re a Weightlifter. ‘Olympic’ is superfluous, but often added as very few people know the difference between weightlifting and weight training / body building / go to the gym once a month and sit on some machines with pulleys.
Too old and not that good
Tell me about it, at 44 my progress is almost glacial (after early gains in the first couple of years).
Seem to have made good progress going by tonight’s session. An extra 30kg on the leg press, 20kg on the leg extension, 20kg on calves. All in just over a week. Really chuffed with that!
Almost all entirely from neurological adaptation – muscle memory. You’re subconscious is learning how to fire all the nerves in your muscles in the right pattern to maximise force. You’ll get some muscle size increase as well, but that will mainly be capillary dilation, as hypertrophy has a reasonable lag.Posted 4 years ago
Has anyone mentioned diet and sleep yet?Posted 4 years ago
I’ve been watching this thread with interest – i’ve also just started going back to the gym following the onset of winter & a reduction in cycling enthusiasm (in the west of Scotland it’s September to April…) 😳
Regarding the reps v sets / strength v bulk conundrum – what’s a good middle ground for a beginner? I’m currently doing 3/4 sets of 8 on various exercises – usually bench press, deadlift, standing press, bicep curl (although i should maybe swap that out to pull-ups instead looking at the above – when I do pull-ups it definitely feels as though i’m working harder) with a couple of kettlebell sessions per week thrown in for an all-round thrashing, but should I try the 5×5 thing? If I do, should I up the weight a bit so i’m tiring at the end of each set or should I keep it the same & be tiring towards the 5th set?
Cheers,Posted 4 years ago
Regarding the reps v sets / strength v bulk conundrum – what’s a good middle ground for a beginner?
Google “stronglifts 5×5”Posted 4 years ago
BillOddie – Member
Has anyone mentioned diet and sleep yet?
Is it Winston Churchill diet / Margaret Thatcher sleep pattern?Posted 4 years ago
don’t get too hung up on popular gym dogma
advice of the thread…
the most important things are to pick a program, do it consistently and to document your results so you can chart your progress/lack of it.
tied equally with this bit of advice.Posted 4 years ago
Its all about intensity. (which for a 40+ – its slipping away fast.)
Yesterday – I did this for chest
-30 burpees warm up
-Feet elevated press-ups on a upside down Bosu ball (unstable). 1 set to failure.
-Bench press wide grip 40% of max. 1 set to failure (23 for me).
– Gymnastic rings – pencil hold till failure… no rest .. repeat till complete failure i.e can’t pencil at all.
Took about 15min
Today – I’m in pieces.
Different from what I normally do or any of the routines mentioned above but I recon you could do almost any movement – it’s all about intensity.Posted 4 years ago
I’ve found I love lifting more than pretty much anything else I’ve ever done exercise-wise (sorry biking). I’ve probably been consistently weight training for 5 or 6 months now. I’m more muscular than I was before but more importantly as I like it I go to the gym more consistently too.
“If you insist on using gloves, make sure they match your purse”.
Well if you had to ask 😉Posted 4 years ago
Billoddie – I have noticed my appetite has rocketed, seem to be eating vast amounts all of a sudden. Trying to keep it healthy though. As for rest I’ve noticed I’m sleeping a lot better than before. Not that it was a problem, just a lot deeper. As for recovery I’m getting a good 3-4 days between exercising the same bits, eg legs yesterday, upper Wednesday so won’t do legs again till Friday.
Interested by the girl who did my induction though. Asked her about warming up. Said to do 10 mins on the treadmill (legs day) & 10 mins rower (upper body day). Then the same to cool down. Asked her about stretching & was told not to bother?! Seemed a bit odd to me.
As for gloves…never mind that, it’s the muscle heads bench pressing half a house while wearing wooly hats & addidas body warmers/gillets that crack me up!Posted 4 years ago
Asked her about warming up. Said to do 10 mins on the treadmill (legs day) & 10 mins rower (upper body day). Then the same to cool down. Asked her about stretching & was told not to bother?! Seemed a bit odd to me.
That’s my warm up works for me. Two schools of thought on stretching, I’m in the non stretching group. Find out what works for you.
I also don’t train to destruction. I try to train at 80% of my maximum. Means I can train more often for longer which suits my requirements. Sleep, diet and rest of course are equally important.
Keep it enjoyable so that you keep coming back, music and podcasts can help.Posted 4 years ago
Some good info here.Posted 4 years ago
Asked her about stretching & was told not to bother?! Seemed a bit odd to me.
Horses for courses, personally I always stretch as I can’t achieve full range of motion without doing so (e.g. neutral lower spine in a full depth squat). Also, for overhead stuff, e.g. Jerk, I need to do a lot of stretching to get full shoulder mobility to get the bar in the right position.Posted 4 years ago
A good personal trainer can pay dividends as well, my usual geezer Kirk the Destroyer certainly enjoys getting the best out of his trainees.Posted 4 years ago
I’d recommend googling the 5-3-1 programme or Dan Johns ‘Even Easier Strength’ both easy to follow 🙂Posted 4 years ago
Downloaded the 5×5 app to give it a bash – after entering my details and the weights & reps i’m currently doing it’s telling me to effectively halve the weights on the bench press / deadlift etc 😕
Just finished the first session & feel like I used more energy typing this – i bumped the weights up slightly (still less than I usually use) & suspect i’ll continue to add a few other exercises in there to mix it up, I kept to the “5×5” though & did 5×5 chin-ups and 5×5 sit ups with a 24kg kettlebell into the bargain, will see how it goes.Posted 4 years ago
I just had a play on the 5 × 5 app, just out of interest. It’s got me starting of with an empty bar for the bench press 😳Posted 4 years ago
I’ve been using the Stonglifts 5×5 as a basis for my gym stuff and love it. Unfortunately I don’t go to the gym often enough and can’t monopolise the squat rack, but using the proscribed exercises and 5×5 I’ve really felt the benefit. My posture and back problems have improved and I’ve managed to restore some of my old strength ( swapped from a manual job to a sat on my arse job). Saw some benefits on the bike to, most apparent is how I’m finishing longer rides, before my head would be hanging and back curved whereas now I feel I can keep a better position.
Next year should see me with a bit more free time and I’d like to rotate with some of the other strength programs. starting strength and 531.Posted 4 years ago
Well I’ve just done my first 5×5 workout. Seemed short. Seemed easy. Was very similar to what I was doing anyway (lots of compound lifts etc). I knocked about 10kg off my squatting weight and similar % reductions in other exercises.
What struck me whilst cycling home is that I will be doing it all again on Friday, which is a good few days earlier than I would normally ‘rest’ for. I have a feeling I will find Friday much more challenging with the ‘short’ recovery and increased weight.
Interesting! Looking forward to seeing what will happen.Posted 4 years ago
What struck me whilst cycling home is that I will be doing it all again on Friday, which is a good few days earlier than I would normally ‘rest’ for.
if you really want to improve leg strength then you’ll be squatting at least 3 times a week as a beginner and maybe 5x a week as an intermediate lifter.
FYI, you can download various squat strength programs here http://www.catalystathletics.com/olympic-weightlifting-workouts/training-programs/
Free, but you need to register. The advanced ones will have you squatting heavy twice a day, 6 days a week!Posted 4 years ago
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