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  1. #1
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    help with a Routine!!!

    Hi all,

    I had a spinal cord surgery 6 years back and was not advised to lift any weights for so long. I have recovered fully. Before my surgery i was about 64 KG was pretty fit with lean build due to all the bed rest for 6 months i shot up to 85 KG. I have lost weight since than now i am 71.6 KG, but i do have a bad belly which i am trying to lose. unfortunately i have not been able to loose the extra pounds on my abdomen and Obliques. My legs and arms have shaped up its the Back, abdomen and obliques were i dont see a change.

    I have started going to the gym for the last week i am 26 Years old and 71.6 KG. I am able to go to the Gym 5 times a week can anyone suggest a beginners routine that could help me loose the extra pounds and get back into shape. I would also appreciate if anyone can provide me with a diet plan too.

    Thank you for all your help.

    Cheers,
    Prav

  2. #2
    Moderator OptikaNET's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forums, but please do not post multiple copies of the same post, it's rude and it clutters the forum.

    Given your history, to be honest, I think the very best thing you can do is find a gym you like and engage a Personal Trainer for a while. Because of the problems with your back I really don't think it would be safe, as a beginner, for you to work out without a professional to guide you and to ensure that you use correct form/technique so that you don't injure yourself. Form and technique are the number one reason for injuries in people new to the gym and correct training in exercise techniques is essential for anybody starting out. Even more so in your case because of your surgical history.

    Also, the oft-quoted advice "Always consult your Doctor before starting an exercise regime" goes double in your case.

    Exercise can be a double-edged sword. For example, with people with a history of "backache" etc I would normally suggest exercises such as "Back extensions" to strengthen the erector spinae muscles that run either side of the spine. This increases the support and strength of the spinal area and makes it less likely that normal daily activity will cause dangerous twisting or shearing motions which can aggravate back problems and cause the classic "bad back" symptoms.

    In your case, however, I would be concerned that targetting such muscles might be doing too much, too fast for your spine to cope with and could lead to the very injuries you are trying to avoid. Similarly other back exercises like deadlifts, good mornings etc should be treated with caution. Strengthening decreases the likelihood of injury, but those exercises before you have developed the strength and support could also be hazardous to you.

    For these reasons I strongly recommend you get a personal trainer - at least for a short while - explain your history to them and allow them to pick the best exercises/routines for your needs, and teach you how to perform them correctly to avoid injury.

    Good luck, and welcome again to the forums.

    Kind Regards
    Dave

  3. #3
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    hi

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your response,

    I had an MRI and few scans on my spinal cord, i have recovered completely. Which is been said by the doc and psyhical theripist. I have tried looking for a personal trainer who can speak in english as i live in China which has made it impossible to find one. If you can let me know a routine i will try to do this in my own pace rather than stressing to much to see how it goes.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks,

    Prav

  4. #4
    Moderator OptikaNET's Avatar
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    (Continued)

    I still think, given your medical history, you should probably start out with machines and, once you've developed the feel of exercise, you could move onto free weights, but I worry that, without someone to show you how to do it, you run the risk of injury.

    Here are some suggestions for exercises (this is not an exhaustive list by any means):

    Chest:

    Machines - Bench Press. Smith Machine. Machine Flyes
    Free Weights - Dumbell/Barbell Bench Press, Incline Dumbell/Barbell Bench Press, Dumbell Flyes (Flat or Incline)
    Compound - Chest Dips, Pressups (pushups)

    Arms:

    Machines - Preacher Curl, Cable Biceps Curls, Cable Triceps Pulldowns, Tricips Extension Machine
    Free Weights - Standing Biceps Curls (Dumbell/Barbell), Seated Biceps Curls (Dumbell), Hammer Curls (Dumbell - targets the Brachialis muscle more than Biceps), Dumbell/Barbell Standing Overhead Triceps extensions, Skullcrushers, Triceps Pullovers (Dumbell)
    Compound - Triceps Pressups (pushups), Triceps Dips

    Back:

    Machines - Lateral Pulldowns, Machine Rows, Cable Rows
    Free Weights - Dumbell Rows, Dumbell Reverse Flyes
    Compound - Pullups (chins), Barbell Deadlifts, Barbell Good Mornings

    Shoulders:

    Machines - Shoulder Press, Lateral Raise Machine
    Free Weights - Dumbell/Barbell Seated Shoulder Press, Standing/Seated Dumbell Lateral Raises, Front Raises (Dumbell), Dumbell Shrugs
    Compound - Standing Overhead Raise (Barbell)

    Legs:

    Machines - Hack Squat, Leg Extension, Hamstring Curls, Calf Raise, Calf Rotation, Donkey Calf Raise
    Free Weights (Compound) - Barbell Squats, Dumbell Lunges

    To put together a routine, choose two exercises per bodypart (consider Triceps and Biceps two bodyparts with two exercises of each). Do three sets of twelve reps. Start with a light weight until you get used to the exercise (remember that the movement is more important than the weight you use - don't be intimidated if other people are using more weight than you) and slowly increase the weight until you can just do twelve reps. After a few weeks, increase the number of sets for each exercise to four. When twelver reps becomes easier, increase the weight.

    Always try to schedule compound exercises first in your schedule, before isolation exercises (ie do Squats before you do Leg Extensions). I recommend you start off with machines, but once you start using free weights you can still get benefit from using machines, but you should probably use them last in your routine.

    If you decide to split your routine, then increase the number of exercises per bodypart to three or four. Try to keep your workout to 45 minutes in duration. If you spend more than one and a half hours in the bodybuilding part of the workout then you are probably doing to much and should reduce it. Give yourself a good 90 seconds of rest, or so, between sets, but try to reduce that over time to 60 seconds, then 30 seconds.

    Always eat within two hours of working out, but don't have a large meal immediately before exercise. Do stretch properly before working out and do a light cardio warmup (say 5 minutes rowing for example) before working out. Other than the warmup, don't do cardio before the exercise, if you are doing cardio same day then leave it until after the weights workout, or move it to a day when you are not working with weights.

    I hope this helps.

    Kind Regards
    Dave

  5. #5
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    Thanks

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your advice.

    I am going to speak to my physio therapist this afternoon i have taken a print out of your suggestions. I do want to get back in shape but in a proper way. Its been 6 years and all the test show a positive sign at the time.

    I can make myself available to go to the gym and play sports for 5 days of the week.

    I will stick to the machines at first before i go into free weights. Let me see how i feel than i can advance as the time goes by,

    Monday : chest and arms

    Chest
    Compound - Chest Dips, Pressups (pushups)
    Machines - Bench Press. Smith Machine. Machine Flyes

    Arms (can you do biceps and tricep workout on the same day?)
    Compound - Triceps Pressups (pushups), Triceps Dips
    machine - Preacher Curl, Cable Biceps Curls, Cable Triceps Pulldowns, Tricips Extension Machine

    (Do i do bench press, preacher curl, smith machine, cable bicep curls or do i just do chest first than head to arms).

    Tuesday : Badminton (Sport)

    Wednesday: Back and Shoulders

    Back:
    Compound - Barbell Deadlifts, Barbell Good Mornings
    Machines - Lateral Pulldowns, Machine Rows, Cable Rows

    Shoulders:
    Compound - Standing Overhead Raise (Barbell)
    Machines - Shoulder Press, Lateral Raise Machine

    Thursday: 30mins Run or Badminton

    Friday : legs

    Legs:
    Machines - Hack Squat, Leg Extension, Hamstring Curls, Calf Raise, Calf Rotation, Donkey Calf Raise

    Ill make sure i will spend about 45 mins in the Gym with 90 sec break after each set. 3 sets with twelve reps each.

    Ill try to keep this routine going for a month and see how it goes. Is it ok to keep in touch with and speak to you about my progress?

    Let me see what the physio has to says this afternoon.

    Thanks again,

    Praveen

  6. #6
    Moderator OptikaNET's Avatar
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    Also you are listing most of the exercises I listed in your routine. What you need to do is to pick two exercises for each bodygroup (apart from arms where you need two Biceps and two Triceps exercises). This could be one Compound exercise and one isolation exercise for example.

    For legs it might be best to do one compound exercise (eg Squat), one Quadriceps (thigh) exercise (eg Leg extensions), one Hamstrings exercise (eg Leg Curls) and one Calf Exercise (eg Calf Rotations).

    What I would suggest is:
    Chest - Bench Press and Flye
    Shoulders - Shoulder Press and Lateral Raise
    Back - Pullups (chins) and Rows
    Biceps - Barbell Curls and Cable Curls
    Triceps - Triceps Dips and Cable Extensions
    Legs - Hack Squat, Leg Extensions, Hamstring Curls, Calf Raises

    Other members here suggest following the "Stronglifts" program. Try googling it. Putting "Stronglifts" in the search term at the top right of this page will reveal some routines people have already programmed into JEFIT. I've not used stronglifts myself so I cannot advise further on this.

    Kind Regards
    Dave

  7. #7
    Moderator OptikaNET's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by praveenrao View Post
    Hi all,

    I have gained a lot of weight on my abdomen and obliques were i am unable to see a change. I have just been doing cardio and playing a bit of sports.

    I have started going to the gym for the last week i am 26 Years old and 71.6 KG and 5.11 Inches height . I am able to go to the Gym 5 times a week can anyone suggest a beginners routine that could help me loose the extra pounds and get back into shape.

    Thank you for all your help.

    Regards,

    Prav
    It is not possible to lose fat "preferentially" - that is to say, you cannot choose to lose fat from the stomach specifically. When you lose fat you lose it from all over the body. There are areas where the body chooses to keep fat (this is especially true of women) and so it will be harder to lose fat from those areas than from other areas. In men, the body's first choice of a fat-storage location is the waist.

    So, in general, there is no way for you to lose fat preferentially from the stomach. You just have to adjust your diet so that you are in calorie-deficit and wait for the the fat to reduce. Whereas exercise can build muscles in particular areas, the only way exercise can cause fat loss is by making it easier for the body to be in calorie-deficit (by burning more calories than you would if you didn't exercise). It's not the exercise per-se that causes fat loss, it's the calorie-deficit, so gym-time has to be matched with good diet practice.

    Calorie tracking can be greatly assisted by various phone apps available on the market. Many people on this forum use "MyFitnessPal" (google it!), and I use this myself.

    As for the exercise routine it depends on how you want to work and what your goals are. I will repeat that I feel you need to get professional support when starting out - especially with your medical history - although I understand your language barrier problems.

    Exercises largely come in two kinds; compound exercises and isolation exercises. Compound exercises recruit a large number of muscle groups at the same time, and are therefor a lot more "effort-intensive" but they are an efficient way of exercising as they recruit a large number of muscles at the same time. On the flip side, if they are not done carefully with strict form they have the greatest potential for injury. Compound exercises include things like Squats, Deadlifts, lunges, Pullups (chins), rowing exercises etc.

    Isolation exercises deliberately reduce the influence of nearby muscle groups to isolate the influence of a particular muscle. Machines are the most obvious example here, where the engineering of the machine is designed to restrict the movement as much as possible. Consider a benchpress machine where the only possible movement is up and down, caused by contracting the pectoral muscles to pull the upper arms inwards to the centre of the chest. The "free-weights" equivalent of this exercise is barbell bench press (where the up and down motion is supplemented by the possibility of the bar moving sideways, towards the head, or towards the feet. So muscles in the shoulder, in the core (ie the stomach muscles) and in the arms must be engaged to hold the weight solely in the vertical plane so that the pectorals can be worked in the same way as for the machine) or dumbell bench press (which has the same potential for movement as for the barbell, but also has the possibility of the two dumbells moving towards each other, or away from each other, so even more care must be taken to keep the movement in the vertical plane, and there is even more recruitment of "stabilising" muscles).

    The advantage of isolation exercises is that it is possible to target a given muscle group much harder than in compound exercises, and the specificity of the the exercise means that you can get at mucles that perhaps are being "lazy" in the compound exercise. (If you are not observing strict form when performing the exercise then it is possible for stronger muscles to take a larger load than weaker muscles, thus preventing those weaker muscles from growing. For example, in the barbell biceps curl, some people arch their back to start the bar moving, and then allow the bar's momentum and inertia to keep it moving through the exercise. Such people believe they are exercising the upper arms (biceps) but in fact are only exercising their back, and not in a good way. This is a good route towards injury).

    So, having said these things, this is what we need to consider before sorting out a routine for you. Do you want to build muscle (in which case bodybuilding techniques are needed) or tone and a lose fat (in which case cardio is probably a better route). Do you want to target specific muscles (most of us have some muscle group which is stubborn and difficult to grow and therefore needs harder work - for me that is chest), or do you want to use compound exercises? How often do you plan to work out in the week? Shouldn't be less than three times a week, for best results, but if you want to work out more then to prevent you from overworking muscles you should decide to split your routine - ie, instead of working out every muscle group every time you visit, you can work chest and arms on Monday, Back and Shoulders on Wednesday, Legs on Friday etc).

    Kind Regards
    Dave

  8. #8
    Moderator OptikaNET's Avatar
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    There are different ways of working and each have their benefits. It is useful to change things around from time to time because it stops the muscles getting "in a rut" where they get used to working in a particular way and growth slows down or plateaus.

    So; it is fine to work Biceps same day as Triceps, or, since Biceps are used in most back exercises and Triceps are used in most chest exercises, you can do Back/Biceps and Chest/Triceps if you want.

    As a general rule try to group exercises using similar muscle groups together, but having said that exercising opposing pairs of muscles can be useful too - Triceps are the "opposite" of Biceps, Back is the "Opposite" of Chest, Back Extensions are the "opposite" of abdominal crunches etc...

    Yes, you will usually do all the exercises of the same muscle group together before moving on to the next. If you are doing shoulders and back on the same day then you do all the shoulder exercises and then do all the back exercises. This is because the previous exercise "pre-exhausts" the muscles, primes the nervous system and gets the body "thinking" about the growth of that muscle group. Spacing the exercises out by working a different muscle group in between can reduce this effect. (The exception to this, as I said earlier, is when exercising opposing pairs of muscles)

    Kind Regards
    Dave

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