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Thread: A little help.

  1. #1

    A little help.

    Hi. My name is Nathan, and I am new to the Jefit comunity. I used to be very physically active in the army, but in the last few years have become slack. I am now trying to get back into shape. My dilemna is that I am limited to certain pieces of equipment, and that I don't know enough about the sciences behind working out to be able to create my own rutine (or at least not a very good one). I guess I will start by letting you know my goals, and then tell you my available equipment that I am limited to, and then hope that someone more educated on the sciences of the human body, can help by creating a routine for me.

    I am 25. I weigh roughly 135. I am of a slender build. I don't know my body fat or inches of any part of my body.

    I am looking to bulk up a little and gain a little wight, but moreso I want to become cut rather than bulky. Now I do know that I don't want a beachbody... I would prefer a fighters body. Not that I am going to be fighting, but would prefer functionble results rather than just attractive ones.

    That being said. My equipment I have to work with are two 20 lbs dumbells, a benchpress bar and weights (no bench though), an ab roller thing (it has two handles and a wheel to slide out from under you on the floor), and a basic body sculpture thing that looks like the thing chuck norris promotes, but is probably an offbrand. other than that all I have is furniture and my own body weight; however I am not against calysthetics.

    So again, anyone out there who knows what their doing (preferably someone with a lot of experience, such as an athlete or personal trainer) please help me by creating a ruetine for me. thanks

  2. #2
    Moderator OptikaNET's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Manchester, UK
    First of all - I don't know anything at all about developing a fighter's body. I recommend you talk to femaveeick of this parish, as he seems to know a lot more about that than I. My own experience is more in bodybuilding.

    To be honest, your best bet is to join a gym and use their equipment, and just use your own equipment to supplement your workout. You can work out just about every bodypart with dumbells, but if they are fixed weights then you can't really vary what you do - they will be too heavy for some exercises and too light for others.

    A benchpress bar - I'm guessing you mean a barbell bar, and you don't state what weights you have. Again, you can do a lot with barbells - especially compound exercises, but you are likely to need to vary the weights.

    I'm not sure I'd bother with the abroller - seems to gimmicky to me. Stick to crunches, cross-body crunches, aircycling etc.... Don't neglect core exercises like plank, side plank etc.

    What no amount of web forums, mobile phone apps, magazines etc can do is to correct your posture, form etc and these are vital to work optimally and avoid injury.

    Get yourself to a gym, learn how to use the equipment - including the equipment you have, get advice from the instructors and from other gym users on correct technique etc, by all means use your own equipment to supplement (when you can't make it into the gym, for example, or you are short of time, or just didn't manage to complete your workout).

    Once you know what you are doing, what to avoid and how best to work then you can choose to buy more equipment as necessary and work at home if you want to, but if you are a complete newbie to this then there really is no substitute to going where the experience is!

    Some gyms can be expensive, this is true, but there are usually smaller gyms that can be cheaper or may run special offers you can take advantage of.

    It also sounds like you could do with including a lot of cardio. Calisthenics etc is probably a good idea, personally I recommend swimming as about the best all-round toning-and-fitness activity you can do. If fighting-fit is your goal then you mustn't forget to work explosively. I guess using a punchbag would be a must.

    I realise this is vague advice, and maybe someone on here can help you better, but without more information I'm afraid there is little more that I can offer.

    But do a google for dumbell exercises and you will find a lot that can be achieved with very little equipment. And do consider that gym membership.

    Kind Regards

  3. #3


    Sorry that I wasnt more specific since I havent asked for advice before I didnt know what information to include.

    So in response to a few things you brought up....

    I don't have any gyms that are within range of my house due to my no vehicle lyfestyle. I walk everywhere I go for personal reasons.

    And yes I guess I did mean barbell bar, I had to google it, but that was it.
    As far as the weights I have for it... I have:
    two 15 lbs weights
    two 14.3 lbs weights
    two 8.8 lbs weights
    and two 5 lbs weights

    Thanks for the advice aon not using the abroller, and for the names of the alternatives

    I'm a little unsure what the term explossively exactly means as I don't yet know the lingo of the workout world.

    Again I would go to a gym because that is probably the place that would help me the best, however for me that is next to impossible, the fact that I get internet where I live is a miracle I still dont understand.

    Lastly how do I get ahold of the person you mentioned, as I'm still learning how to navigate this site and am clueless

    I guess most importantly is that my conditions will lead me to trying to create my own rutine if left to my own. I would prefer to avoid this as I am unedjucated in the sciences of the human body. However I do remember some calasthetics from the army, but I need jefit to keep me organized and to record my progress, and most of the calesthetics I do remember arent in the jefit databases, plus since I only remember part of them It might be a bad Idea for me to try and figure out what to mix with what on what days to make the workout effective or safe...

    I just want to be as you said Fighting-fit / but also like parkour freeruning fit - (flexability)
    Thanks again
    Last edited by nnadas01; 02-03-2012 at 12:46 AM. Reason: Needed to add the last part

  4. #4
    Moderator OptikaNET's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Manchester, UK
    It's 1:30 in the morning here so I am not really up to a detailed response, sorry.

    You can contact members here by private messaging them, or just by leaving a post and waiting to see if they respond. It sounds like you have a good range of low weights there (being European I tend to think in kilograms and I'm not up to the mental arithmatic just now). Can you use those plates with the dumbells too?

    You need to check the websites of bodybuilding magazines like those published by Weider and others, and other bodybuilding websites to look for the different kinds of exercises and how to do them. Youtube may have videos showing correct performance as well, but be warned that the large majority of gym-users - including those who think themselves expert - actually perform gym exercises very poorly and may use very bad form, so don't automatically believe what you see, try to only read articles and view videos by people who give good references to justify their expertise.

    The irony of weight training is that, as a general rule, you get out of it what you put in. For example; if you use low weights and train for long periods of time then you will develop stamina but not strength, if you use high weights and tiny reps then you may gain strength but no stamina, and no bulk. Bulk requires a balance of suitable weight (contrary to popular opinion, just lifting the heaviest stuff you can is almost never the best way to work!) and volume-of-Exercise. Determining this gets a bit complicated (and I'm probably not explaining it well here - but I'm tired!) and this is really where you need advice from a gym.

    Put simply; if you want to weight-train and gain some muscle-development and bulk then you need to find a weight that you can only do, say, twelve reps with. Then do maybe four sets using that weight and work to failure (that is, do 8-12 reps until you can't lift it anymore, then rest for a short time before doing another set).

    Strict form and technique is vital to get the best out of the exercise and to avoid injury (and always warm up and cool down before and after training - those calisthenics will probably come in handy!). You really should have someone else present as well to help you in case you get into difficulty.

    But, remember I said you get out of the exercise only what you put in? You may develop strength/bulk and/or stamina but if you move the weight slowly, in a controlled way (as you should) then that is the only thing that you will get good at. For fighting you need to be able to develop explosive power. That is to say, developing force in the shortest time possible. Like if you were throwing a punch, for example. To do that you have to move the weights really fast - which is usually not recommended as it greatly increases the risk of injury (if not done correctly) and doesn't actually help with strength/bulk development at all because momentum takes over and causes the majority of the weight movement.

    However, for fighting you need to develop explosive power as well as strength.

    An example would be bench press. Hold the bar with a low weight to the chest and then push it upwards explosively but in a controlled manner, lower it gently back to chest and then repeat.

    It's worthwhile noting that you are unlikely to be able to do bench press correctly without a bench. During the movement the elbows will descend below the level of the back, so if you try doing bench press while lying on the floor (for example) you will not get the correct range of motion. Chairs etc tend to be too wide to give the elbows free movement - one solution I used to use was the foam blocks often used by yoga fans. These can be inexpensive, but can be used to build a makeshift bench that is narrow enough for bench press with light weights (it isn't stable enough to use with heavy weights and the instability would make injury more likely).

    Getting a subscription to a good-quality weight training magazine can be a good way to build up your knowledge base, although they can sometimes include bad advice as well, and static photographs are no substitute for having a trainer show you the correct form.

    Sorry to keep harping-on about gyms, as it seems you have no access to one, but for beginners I firmly believe there really is no substitute for one! It's not just the access to equipment, or to training routines, it's the advice on correct form, posture and technique for which there really is no substitute.


    Try to split the body into zones - or "muscle groups" as they tend to be known. Generally most gym-users tend to think of legs as a muscle-group, chest as another, arms as a third, back as a fourth and shoulders as a fifth (with abs and "core" trained seperately). Some people split arms into triceps (which run down the back of the arm and are used to straighten the elbow) and biceps (which run down the front of the arm and are used to bend the elbow - actually what they really do is rotate the wrist, but that doesn't really matter here). Some people train triceps with chest since many chest exercises also work the triceps, some people work biceps with back for much the same reason. Sometimes back and shoulders are worked together. If you work them seperately then you should allow at least two days between the two workouts.

    Some people train all the musclegroups together on the same day. That's quite a good beginners workout that you could do maybe three times a week with a day's gap between each session (rest to allow the muscles to recover and grow is every bit as important as the exercise itself). A good way to do this kind of training is to use "Compound Exercises" which actually work lots of muscle groups at the same time.

    Examples of compound exercises include Squats, which mostly work the legs, but also use the arms, chest and back to stabilise the motion. Deadlifts work the back, but again legs, arms and shoulders are involved for stability. Lunges work legs but involve the whole body, and so on.

    Alternatively you can use "Isolation Exercises" which concentrate on a specific muscle and try to minimise the other muscles used. People who work with isolation exercises often split their weekly workouts into different days. So, for example, they may do chest and triceps on Monday, rest on Tuesday, do Back and Biceps on Wednesday, rest on Thursday and then do Legs and Shoulders on a Friday, rest on the weekend and start again on Monday with chest and triceps again. There are many other ways of doing split routines.

    (Continued below)

  5. #5
    Moderator OptikaNET's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Manchester, UK
    (Continued from above)

    Here's an example;

    Warm-up (Calisthenics?)
    Active stretches (google it)
    Dumbell Bench Press 4 sets, 8-12 reps
    Dumbell Flyes 4 sets, 8-12 reps
    Dumbell Triceps Extensions (Behind head) 4 sets, 8-12 reps
    Dumbell Triceps Kickbacks 4 sets, 8-12 reps
    Cool Down (more calisthenics?)

    Warm up
    Active Stretches
    Barbell Deadlifts 4 sets, 8-12 reps
    Barbell Good Mornings 4 sets, 8-12 reps
    Dumbell Biceps Curls 4 sets, 8-12 reps
    Barbell Biceps Curls 4 sets, 8-12 reps
    Cool Down

    Warm up
    Active Stretches
    Dumbell or Barbell Squats
    Dumbell Lunges
    Dumbell Calf Raises
    Barbell Overhead Presses
    Barbell Vertical Rows
    Dumbell Lateral Raises
    Dumbell Forward Raises
    Cool Down

    On the days you are not doing weight training you can do cardio exercises like rowing, cycling, treadmill running. If you don't have access to the machines then buy a bike, buy a canoe or go for a run. Also on the days off you can do abdominals exercises. These can be done more than once per week, but do try to give a day's rest between each set to give the muscles recovery time.

    This is not a complete workout by any means. Apart from compound exercises I'm not giving any emphasis to hamstrings (for example), some might argue that vertical rows belong with back routines not with shoulders and so on. But it might get you started with what you have. You should find most of these exercises in JEFIT and information via google on how to do them. There's lots of other stuff to do as well, and the real secret is to do as large a variety as possible and to change often.

    Finally you will often here people say that physiques are made in the kitchen, not in the gym. This is very true - you need to pay good attention to your diet. Reduce fat intake, maximise protein intake, and control your carbohydrates. Change white bread to granary or wholemeal, stop using refined sugar, eat oats for breakfast, substitute baked potatoes (better still, baked SWEET potatoes) for chips, fries, crisps etc. Drink lots of water, try to avoid sodas and sweetened drinks. And so on. Google is your friend; there is lots of good advice out there if you look for it and you will hopefully find some on this forum too. Don't worry if it seems confusing at first; most of the best advice is very simple. Some people treat bodybuilding as an exact science and you can do that if you want, but actually the basic advice tends to be quite simple and works for most people.

    A lot of people swear by supplements, branched-chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) etc etc. These can help but to be honest you don't need them. The two main supplements you can benefit from are Whey protein drinks and perhaps (if you want to try it) creatine.

    Get lots of fresh vegetables, avoid processed foods and maybe take a multivitamin, and you'll do just fine. Keep the protein high; think of eating lots of fish, turkey, chicken, maybe pulses, soya etc.

    I'm not sure if this has been helpful - given that it is now nearly 2:30 in the morning I suspect it has been largely incoherent, but it's the best I can do right now.

    But don't rush at things, think them through and make sure you know how to do the exercises properly. One serious injury now and you may never be able to train properly again. Please make sure that there is someone around who knows what you are doing and can help you if you have problems - at least until you have got used to what you are doing. And never try and workout "cold" - always warm up and stretch beforehand, and stretch out afterwards. Stretching while constantly moving is what we call an active stretch and should be what you do before a workout, stretching and holding the stretch for a few seconds is the other way of stretching, but this is probably done best after the workout not before. Having said that, sports-scientists still argue about this point...

    Good luck!

    Kind Regards

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