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Beginners Q&A For People Just Getting Started


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  • 1 Post By boricuarage79
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Old 07-11-18, 09:31 AM
29 and new to lifting/the forum
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Hey everybody. As the title says, Iím a 29 year old guy, new to lifting/the forum, and looking for a bit of advice.

Iím 6 feet tall, 200 lbs...about as average of a body type as one can have. My experience with lifting has been minimal...Iíve gone to gyms on and off for the past decade, but the most success Iíve had was last year when I tried StrongLifts 5x5. I didnít have the proper equipment so I ended up stopping after building up some weight and hurting my shoulders trying to throw a bar over my head to do squats. (No squat rack)

Iím now in a new apartment with a gym onsite, so I want to start getting into a routine. Thereís no barbells or a squat rack so stronglifts 5x5 is out, but Iím looking for a similar workout plan that will strengthen my whole body.

Iím working with dumbbells, a smith machine, a cable machine, and some benches.

Can anyone point me in the direction of a good beginners strength training program that I can do 3x per week, without telling me I need to join a gym with a squat rack and barbells?

Thanks!
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Old 07-11-18, 09:36 AM
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i mean you have limited options so just do what's available to you if your not willing to join a proper gym.

i assume you already know the basics if you've been going to gyms on and off for a decade.

if i was forced to be in your situation i would do a full body workout with everything that's available to you in the limited apartment gym.
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Old 07-11-18, 09:52 AM
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Thanks for the response...I should clarify.

When I say on and off, I mean for the past decade or so Iíd join a gym, not know what the hell I was doing but give it the old college try and end up randomly using a bunch of machines for a few weeks/months before ultimately giving up after feeling that I was wasting my time doing ineffective workouts or focusing on the wrong things.

I really donít know much about the basics. What I liked about stronglifts was the utter simplicity/focus on form, because I felt like I was learning the basics and seeing measurable results.

Are there a few main exercises I could be doing with dumbbells/smith/cables that would have a similar full body effect? Itís not that Iím unwilling to join a gym, itís that having a 24 hour gym in my building is creating a ďno excusesĒ type of environment for me that Iíd like to take advantage of.
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Old 07-11-18, 10:19 AM
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Welcome! I have a couple questions. How many days a week do you plan on making it to the gym? Two, what are your goals? Trying to just gain strength, or add size, or lean up? Once we get a better picture we can help you choose a good routine.
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Old 07-11-18, 10:32 AM
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Welcome! I have a couple questions. How many days a week do you plan on making it to the gym? Two, what are your goals? Trying to just gain strength, or add size, or lean up? Once we get a better picture we can help you choose a good routine.


Thanks man!

Realistically, Iíd like to start at 3 days a week, then once I am solid in to that routine, maybe ratchet that up to 5 days.

My goals really are all of the above, which makes it tough I know. Iíve got a big frame but Iíve never stuck to lifting, so right now Iím not fat, just kinda...soft hahaha. I guess my main priority is to build upper body strength/size without packing anymore fat on. Iíd imagine Iíll lean up a bit by pursuing that goal for a while, and then I can adjust my approach as necessary?
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Old 07-11-18, 12:10 PM
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Depends how much weight they have in that gym.

You can do alot if not even more with dumbells and a Smith machine.

Diet has to be in check. Depending on your goals.

5x5 is a good routine, but there is going to be a point that the body will he adjusted to it and you need to switch up.

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Old 07-11-18, 01:03 PM
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Depends how much weight they have in that gym.

You can do alot if not even more with dumbells and a Smith machine.

Diet has to be in check. Depending on your goals.

5x5 is a good routine, but there is going to be a point that the body will he adjusted to it and you need to switch up.

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Itís surprisingly well equipped for an apartment gym, and iím quite a while away from the point that 5x5 will be not enough for me. Plus, when I do get to that point, it means Iím well rooted in a routine and Iíll be a lot more willing to join a gym then. Right now itís about establishing habits without wasting my time.

With the 5x5, I was doing an A/B routine of

A: Squat, OH Press, Deadlift
B: Squat, Bench, Row

Say I want to stick to something like that, but use the equipment Iíve got. Iíve heard that smith squats are terrible because of the limited range of motion and the fact that the machine does the stabilizing, and obviously deadlifts are out...

Are there exercises I could do with dumbbells/smith similar to the above without sacrificing too much efficiency, or putting myself in bad form?


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Old 07-11-18, 01:43 PM
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Itís surprisingly well equipped for an apartment gym, and iím quite a while away from the point that 5x5 will be not enough for me. Plus, when I do get to that point, it means Iím well rooted in a routine and Iíll be a lot more willing to join a gym then. Right now itís about establishing habits without wasting my time.

With the 5x5, I was doing an A/B routine of

A: Squat, OH Press, Deadlift
B: Squat, Bench, Row

Say I want to stick to something like that, but use the equipment Iíve got. Iíve heard that smith squats are terrible because of the limited range of motion and the fact that the machine does the stabilizing, and obviously deadlifts are out...

Are there exercises I could do with dumbbells/smith similar to the above without sacrificing too much efficiency, or putting myself in bad form?


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Whoever told you smith machine squats are pointless. Punch them dead in thier face..

Seems like you are more focus in strength training. So you might as well join a gym.

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Old 07-11-18, 05:55 PM
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3 days a week you need to split up muscle groups. I'd do chest, delts, triceps day 1, back, biceps, core day 2, and legs day 3.

Try to stick to as many coumpound lifts as you can in the 8-12 rep range. 3-4 WORKING sets per excercize and pick 2-3 excercizes for each group.

Ex. For day 1, chest: Incline dumbbell chest press, pec fly's, dips, shoulders: barbell shoulder press, rear dumbell delt raises, upright rows, and for triceps close grip bench, overhead dumbell extensions, tricep pushdowns.

Remember to warm up on each excercize with some lighter weight for a couple sets prior to your working sets. Take a min to recover between sets and get back at the next set. Take 1 second to move the weight and about 3 seconds to lower it without relaxing the muscle at the bottom until you finish the set. Full extension and good form. Try to FOCUS on the muscle that you're working. You want to use that muscle to do the work not supporting muscles and joints.

Hope this helps get you started. Use YouTube to see how to properly do each excercize.
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Old 07-12-18, 10:49 AM
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I forgot to add. Keep track of your lifts like on strong lifts to keep that progressive overload going. Each week try to add reps until you've gotten to 12 on your last set then up the weight 5 lbs or so the next week and so on.
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Old 07-12-18, 02:49 PM
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I forgot to add. Keep track of your lifts like on strong lifts to keep that progressive overload going. Each week try to add reps until you've gotten to 12 on your last set then up the weight 5 lbs or so the next week and so on.


Youíre the man. Thank you for all of this. Huge help.


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