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chrisdlines
04-18-2012, 12:30 PM
I am not a huge fan of the gym, so a few months ago I set myself up at home with a gym-quality bench (incline, decline and flat) and a set of Bowflex 552 dumbells.

I then created some mass building routines in JEFIT that focus on upper body (Chest, Arms, Back, Shoulders, Abs etc.). I get plenty of leg exercise from cycling and running so didn't include this.

The dumbell-only routines seem to have been working great for me so far. I have been steadily gaining strength across all exercises, but I have now hit the point where I can consistently exceed 8-10 reps on a dumbell bench press with the max 52.5lbs on my 552's.

Therefore, I am wondering what the next step would be to allow me to continue to gain chest strength. I am still nowhere near the 52.5 with my "fly" sets, but don't want to miss out by essentially not gaining any more from chest press sets.

I had thought maybe a barbell and stand for use with the bench but would appreciate any additional thoughts.

Jimmy0
04-18-2012, 04:41 PM
Guess the only options you have are:

a) Get bigger dumbbells
b) Get a power rack, barbell + enough plates to be more than you are currently using on dumbbells
c) Go back to the gym (providing your gym has bigger weights)

Personally I would go with option b). This is because with a barbell and rack you can incorporate different movements into your routine (Squats/BB Bench/Deadlifts).

decu68
04-18-2012, 05:54 PM
Number one thing I see wrong with your work out Chris, "I get plenty of leg exercise from cycling and running so didn't include this." You could not be MORE wrong. I thought the same thing years ago when doing Taekwondo; I eliminated the legs as thought running and kicking with them that it should be plenty of exercise. I was wrong. You want to get better at running and kicking then work your legs. If you want to get better at cycling and running; you also need to work your legs.

Remember, your legs are the foundation of your body, the larger you can grow your foundation the larger you can build up on top. You want larger and stronger muscles on top then you have to have larger and stronger muscles in your foundation; your legs.

You should look at Squats and Deadlifts. You should look at strengthening routines so that this can transition over to your cycling and running; stay away from body building type routines. You want to lift explosively as that is how you want your body to react. And always lift with control and good technique.

Just my 2 cents.

OptikaNET
04-18-2012, 09:58 PM
May I "piggyback" on this thread to ask for some advice of my own?

At the gym I'm reaching the limits of many of the machines I use. For example, Hack Squats I was working with 180Kg today. I expect I will use 190Kg next week. The stack only goes up to 200Kg in 10kg increments.

Leg (Quadriceps) Extensions; I was working with 195Kg today and I could have gone heavier. The stack only goes to 200Kg.

Calf Rotations; I have already had to start working only one leg at a time because the stack isn't heavy enough (it only goes to about 70Kg, I'm currently working 45Kg single leg).

Now, at some point - when I'm confident my injuries have subsided, I will replace Hack Squat with Barbell Squats (although I already do compound legs with dumbell lunges), but I rely on the isolation machines to round out my workout. What the hell do I do when I've maxed out the weight stack?

Similarly doing 90Kg on Back Extensions, Stack only goes up to 95Kg and so on...

Short of changing gyms to one with better equipment (which I can't afford), what can I do?

Kind Regards
Dave

Deviation
04-19-2012, 02:14 AM
Buy more dumbbells. You don't need Bowflex, super pricey ones. Just search Craigslist. They don't need to be pretty. Just heavy.

Since you're working out alone, you could go with a power rack and barbell. Again, search CL. You will find benches, bars, and weights all over. Racks are a little tougher to find, but they show up. That's how I got mine. A rack offers spotter arms/safety bars. I can tell you from experience, you'll need these. They have saved my butt many times.


Number one thing I see wrong with your work out Chris, "I get plenty of leg exercise from cycling and running so didn't include this." You could not be MORE wrong.
He's right. Cycling and running are conditioning exercises; not strength. You will build endurance, but not power. I can say that lifting, leg work specifically, has helped my running immensely. You need to add this.


Short of changing gyms to one with better equipment (which I can't afford), what can I do?

Do they have free weights there? Barbells, dumbbells? You'll get more out of those than the machines with weight stacks. But hey you know me, I'm all for free weights. 8)

And what the heck is a calf rotation?

OptikaNET
04-19-2012, 01:20 PM
I use free weights for most of my lifting, but I don't know of any free weight leg isolation exercises (Quads, Hamstrings etc) only compound ones.

My gym doesn't have a hyperextension bench but even if it did, there is no way I could hold the equivalent of 100kg while I did Back Extensions.

A for calf raises; I suppose I could do them on the hack squat machine bilaterally or unilaterally - but since that increases in increments of 10kg I think progression would be difficult - it's too big a jump really for calves. Not sure how I could do them freeweight unless it's in like a squat starting position with a bar on my shoulders and then do calf raises instead of squats. The weight I'm using would be too heavy for dumbells, even assuming that there were dumbells heavy enough in the gym - I think they only go to 50kg.

Kind Regards
Dave

Deviation
04-19-2012, 01:44 PM
I use free weights for most of my lifting, but I don't know of any free weight leg isolation exercises (Quads, Hamstrings etc) only compound ones.
Lunges, barbell good mornings, straight leg deadlifts are some examples. I do all 3 and I can tell you my hamstrings & glutes are on fire after. For quads, how about squats? You'll hit all three groups if you do them right.



Not sure how I could do them freeweight unless it's in like a squat starting position with a bar on my shoulders and then do calf raises instead of squats. The weight I'm using would be too heavy for dumbells, even assuming that there were dumbells heavy enough in the gym - I think they only go to 50kg.
That would work. You won't get the full range of motion standing flat on the floor. Do they have adjustable step up benches there (not sure the actual name)? You could use one of those with the ball of you feet on the platform. Like this:
http://media.wiley.com/Lux/09/101309.image0.jpg

OptikaNET
04-19-2012, 02:17 PM
Justin, you're not reading what I've written properly; I do compound exercises, then I do isolation exercises. All the exercises you are talking about are compound exercises. I already do lunges, I am probably going to replace hack squats with barbell squats, but I would still need a replacement for Leg extensions (isolation), hamstring curls (isolation) and calf raises (isolation).

No, there is no step up bench such as you illustrate.

One gym I used to use in Liverpool had a Donkey Calf Raise machine with horns that could be loaded with free weights and I used to put a couple of hundred kilos on there (working bilaterally), but my current gym has nothing like that.

And Back Extensions is going to be a problem. At the moment I have changed the way I do the exercise; I curl my body down (visualising moving one vertabra at a time) and then curl back up in order to really strictly exercise the full length of the erector spinae. Consequently (and with recent injuries in mind) I have reduced my weight on the Back Ex machine to 35-40Kg, but it's going up now and the machine has a maximum of 95Kg.

Switching to Deadlifts or Good Mornings won't help because the motion is not a direct substitute. Essentially what I am doing is the inverse of a crunch.

Kind Regards
Dave

Deviation
04-19-2012, 03:50 PM
Good mornings and SLDL (with a straight back) ARE isolation movements when done properly.
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Hamstrings/BBStrBackStrLegDeadlift.html
(http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Hamstrings/BBStrBackStrLegDeadlift.html)http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Hamstrings/BBGoodMorning.html

Lunges are not, but I can tell you they will make your quads & glutes burn. Full reps of course. No halfsies...

Anyhow, I don't know the specifics of your routine or the end goal. All I can offer is that, in my opinion, isolation should be assistance work to the compound movements. Meaning it's used to help hit trouble spots to increase your overall strength.

Just my $0.02 (or 0.0152 euros). I'll stop dragging out the OP's thread.

OptikaNET
04-19-2012, 04:14 PM
Lunges are not, but I can tell you they will make your quads & glutes burn. Full reps of course. No halfsies...

Anyhow, I don't know the specifics of your routine or the end goal. All I can offer is that, in my opinion, isolation should be assistance work to the compound movements. Meaning it's used to help hit trouble spots to increase your overall strength.


Yee...eee....eeesss.... that's why I already do the compound exercises. If I'm doing four sets of lunges and four sets of Leg extensions then I'm NOT about to replace that with 8 sets of lunges, now am I? Especially not since I am working to failure after four sets!

I am looking for a way to increase my leg extension beyond the weight available on the machine. Your comments are not helping, Justin. I'm sure you mean well, but you are not answering the question I have asked!

Kind Regards
Dave

OptikaNET
04-19-2012, 04:20 PM
For information, my legs routine is:

Cycling (to the gym!)
Hack Squats (4 x 12 reps)
Dumbell Lunges (4 x 12 reps)
Leg Extensions (4 x 12 reps)
Hamstring Curls (4 x 12 reps)
Calf Rotations (4 x 12 reps)
Adductor/Abductor (4 x 12 Supersetted Reps) - Already on maximum because Weight only goes to 60kg.
Glutes Machine (4 x 12 reps)
Cycling (back home again!)

Kind Regards
Dave

PS. Adductor/Abductor and Glutes are "optional" exercises I only do if I have time. They are not part of my 45 min workout.

Deviation
04-19-2012, 06:16 PM
Yee...eee....eeesss.... that's why I already do the compound exercises. If I'm doing four sets of lunges and four sets of Leg extensions then I'm NOT about to replace that with 8 sets of lunges, now am I? Especially not since I am working to failure after four sets!

I am looking for a way to increase my leg extension beyond the weight available on the machine. Your comments are not helping, Justin. I'm sure you mean well, but you are not answering the question I have asked!

Kind Regards
Dave
If you can't increase weight at your current gym, then your options are: 1) new gym, 2) home gym. Simple. It's an investment in your health. Spend accordingly.

chrisdlines
04-19-2012, 10:09 PM
Thanks for the input. It sounds like a Power Rack might be the way forward for me is it will allow me to continue to increase my bench press strength, but also include the leg exercises that your recommended! I will have a look around on CraigsList