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Simple strength exercises - daily? Skip a day? Etc.

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I want to start doing some simple strength exercises. I don't want to bulk up at all (that might require new clothes ), just develop some tone/useful strength/flexibility. I was thinking of doing bicep curls, rows, tricep extensions, and sort of a combined clean-row-military press type of thing with relatively light weights (starting with 15s). Possibly some pushups and situps, that kind of thing. My main question is, since I don't plan to break muscle fiber down by doing these to failure, do I need to skip a day or two days or whatever in between, or can I just do it every day? I think I'll be more likely to stick with it if I can do it every day rather than trying to remember a schedule.

Thanks.
post #2 of 22
By increasing tone, I assume you mean increase muscle definition. There's really only two ways to do that, increase muscle mass or decrease body fat. Thus, If what you want is more definition without changing your muscle mass you need to lose fat. You'd probably be better off doing body weight exercises and then doing some type of cardio workout. It will pay off more in terms of useful strength, which doing 15 lbs curls and tricep extension will probably have no noticible effects at all. If you want useful strengh you should concentrate on exercises that you multiple muscle groups and also work stability, many body weight exercises can accomplish this.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Well, tone is really the least of my concerns. Basically I want to develop some strength and stability without size - my muscles look big enough for me, they just can't do anything, especially for long periods of time. I have always had back problems and I need to get my core strong so I don't have pain all the time, which is what happens when I get sedentary for a while. So the "regimen" I posted above is just a small step in that direction. I don't want to overdo it at the start and wear myself out to where I won't do it at all - I'd rather do something I can get into a groove with and then notch it up after a while. I know myself and I know I am good at ditching things like this if they make me hurt and feel like I should skip a day/session.

I should probably do cardio as well, but since I'm lazy I'm not sure that's going to happen. I'm working on getting a treadmill so I can at least fast-walk (knees are bad too) while I watch a movie or something. For some reason I feel like time spent "out running" is totally wasted, like I should be doing something more productive at the time, but if I could do something else at the same time it would help me justify doing it.

Thanks for the input.
post #4 of 22
If you want to develop strength w/o increasing size substantially, you should do high weight at low reps (5 or less) and rest about 2.5 minutes or so between sets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by j View Post
Well, tone is really the least of my concerns. Basically I want to develop some strength and stability without size - my muscles look big enough for me, they just can't do anything, especially for long periods of time. I have always had back problems and I need to get my core strong so I don't have pain all the time, which is what happens when I get sedentary for a while. So the "regimen" I posted above is just a small step in that direction. I don't want to overdo it at the start and wear myself out to where I won't do it at all - I'd rather do something I can get into a groove with and then notch it up after a while. I know myself and I know I am good at ditching things like this if they make me hurt and feel like I should skip a day/session.

I should probably do cardio as well, but since I'm lazy I'm not sure that's going to happen. I'm working on getting a treadmill so I can at least fast-walk (knees are bad too) while I watch a movie or something. For some reason I feel like time spent "out running" is totally wasted, like I should be doing something more productive at the time, but if I could do something else at the same time it would help me justify doing it.

Thanks for the input.
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by drizzt3117 View Post
If you want to develop strength w/o increasing size substantially, you should do high weight at low reps (5 or less) and rest about 2.5 minutes or so between sets.
I disagree. Doing low reps with long intervals helps mostly with size, it doesn't increase either hypertrophy or endurance.

J, I suggest you look into either Bodyweight Exercises or CrossFit.

If size/weight gains are your worries, just start tracking what you eat. As long as you don't maintain a calorie excess, everything should be fine. For rests, it depends on the intensity of workouts; a good rule of thumb for beginners is simply to not think about rest days. Overtraining is overrated anyway...
post #6 of 22
Yoga?

I'm kinda in the same boat. I don't look fat I look rather trim, but I can't lift or do anything with any sort of stamina.
I find that the holding of various positions etc helps, and the back and posture stuf has helped lifting and back problems.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by whacked View Post
I disagree. Doing low reps with long intervals helps mostly with size, it doesn't increase either hypertrophy or endurance.

That seems to be the opposite of what this article suggests. I'm not claiming this is gospel but most things I've read are that hypertrophy is maximally achieved by moderate (60-75% of 1RM) weight with medium reps (6-12) while strength is maximally achieved by heavy weight achieves myofibrillar hypertrophy that achieves failure before a growth signal is sent to the muscle.

Reference:.
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/hale6.htm
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruben View Post
Yoga?

I'm kinda in the same boat. I don't look fat I look rather trim, but I can't lift or do anything with any sort of stamina.
I find that the holding of various positions etc helps, and the back and posture stuf has helped lifting and back problems.
People keep suggesting yoga to me. I don't know what it is, maybe Dhalsim ruined it for me as a kid, but I can't get over the goofiness of it. Most of the people who are into it are those vegan Subaru driving type of people. But maybe I need to just get over myself and do it...

Thanks for the input everyone, keep it coming. I'm still not sure on the reps/weight thing, that's another question that I would like to figure out.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by whacked View Post
Doing low reps with long intervals helps mostly with size, it doesn't increase either hypertrophy or endurance.

Confused about what you are saying here. Hypertrophy = increased size
Am I missing something?
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by yerfdog View Post
Confused about what you are saying here. Hypertrophy = increased size
Am I missing something?
Mah bad... I meant "definition" but somehow put down "hypertrophy".

Quote:
That seems to be the opposite of what this article suggests. I'm not claiming this is gospel but most things I've read are that hypertrophy is maximally achieved by moderate (60-75% of 1RM) weight with medium reps (6-12) while strength is maximally achieved by heavy weight achieves myofibrillar hypertrophy that achieves failure before a growth signal is sent to the muscle.
Good read. That said, it does nothing to disprove my belief that the combination of heavy weight + low reps would likely trigger an increase in mass without an equivalent change in definition. From what I understand, that's exactly what the OP wants to avoid.
post #11 of 22
j have you looked at Pilates? That is supposed to be all about strengthening your core.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yeah I have, I actually have a book on it. That's sort of along the lines of what I want to do, but along with some useful arm/upper body strength as well. I don't want to look like a muscle-guy, just be able to handle realistic situations without struggling/straining/hurting my back etc.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by whacked View Post
Good read. That said, it does nothing to disprove my belief that the combination of heavy weight + low reps would likely trigger an increase in mass without an equivalent change in definition. From what I understand, that's exactly what the OP wants to avoid.

As I mentioned before, I'm not preaching that this is gospel but my own experiences have shown that lifting moderate weight at higher reps results in faster hypertrophy. In any case, cardio + body weight will likely result in more definition but I don't really see body weight exercises improving strength a whole hell of a lot.
post #14 of 22
Reading some of the replies makes me think I’m missing something. If I read you correctly (correct me if I’m wrong) you’re asking for increased strength and preventative maintenance. If that’s the case then I’ll outline my morning routine for preventative maintenance bellow and that should help out.

Before doing anything I would:

Jump rope for 15mins
3 sets of 20 push ups
3 sets of 20 crunches between the sets of push ups
Basic stretching

The whole thing takes about ½ hr, it’s just some of the stuff you do in gym class pretty much. Pay attention to proper posture and breathing. There’s many ways to do push ups and crunches to target different muscles that it really doesn’t get boring. Also if you have bad knees I would recommend a small elliptical machine instead of a treadmill, more cardio minimal stress on the joints.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Jump rope for 15mins
Any rest in between? I usually feel quite exhausted after 7-8 mins. I think some poeple mention Burpee or Hindu pushup before, those exercises should help.
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