Weight lifting question

LKArgh
LKArgh Posts: 5,179 Member
I got back to free weights a couple of months ago, after body weight training the last years. I started with dumbbells, moved to barbells the last couple of weeks, and am now trying to add weight.
I have two issues:
My main current problem is inclined bench press. I am currently using the bar only and I feel I should be ready to add weight the next week or so. But the only option is to go up by 5 kilos, which seems like a huge increment. There are no plates lighter than 2.5 kilos at the gym, and there is no lighter bar either. I do not imagine this would be a problem going e.g. from 30 to 35, but 20 to 25 kilos sounds a lot and the older I get, the more cautious I get about injuries :(
What should I do? Gradually increase reps/sets hoping to build strength? Switch back to dumbbells for a while until I am ready for larger weights?
I problem I can see arising in the futures is squats. They gym has no squat rack. I am currently doing either goblet squats or dumbbell squats, as I am not allowed to put too much weight on my legs (injury), but thsi will not be a problem for ever (or at least I hope so). What do I do when I am ready for bigger weights? Smith machine? I must admit I have never used one and for whatever reason, I really do not like it.

Replies

  • nancyjay__
    nancyjay__ Posts: 310 Member
    How much does the bar weigh?
  • LKArgh
    LKArgh Posts: 5,179 Member
    nancyjay__ wrote: »
    How much does the bar weigh?

    Olympic bar. 20 kilos.
  • nancyjay__
    nancyjay__ Posts: 310 Member
    I read somewhere you should increase by 15lbs every 2weeks or when you find the weight to be too light ..actually i think my trainer friend told me...anyway I find that to be huge what I do is go up by 5-10 whatever I can manage safely doing 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps. You always go low reps with heavier weights. This will make you stronger and give you mass. :)
  • nancyjay__
    nancyjay__ Posts: 310 Member
    edited April 2015
    aggelikik wrote: »
    nancyjay__ wrote: »
    How much does the bar weigh?

    Olympic bar. 20 kilos.

    Geez...that's 44 lbs so its the regular sized bar not the small barbell. So maybe you could use the barbells if you don't feel comfortable with the heavier weight plates or use dumbbells... you can drop them easier if you really have to ( although it's frowned upon)
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,842 Member
    15 lbs for upper body every 2 weeks?!
    Wow - that's massive. And likely bad idea for great majority.

    http://www.exrx.net/WeightTraining/Resistance.html

    Section down on progression.

    Try a more realistic upwards of 10% increase.

    Either increase the reps until it is difficult with weight you got, until perhaps a max of 12 reps, then add the weight and drop the reps to 8, or below if needed, and work your way back up.

    Yes, that does indeed break the 10 % increase suggestion, just gotta work with it, or find your personal micro plates to bring in.
    Yes, people do that.

    Or move incline earlier in the workout if it's not already. Could just be plain tired. Then when it's feeling easier, move it back down the list where it'll feel harder.

    Several options to deal with this.
  • LKArgh
    LKArgh Posts: 5,179 Member
    edited April 2015
    heybales wrote: »
    15 lbs for upper body every 2 weeks?!
    Wow - that's massive. And likely bad idea for great majority.

    http://www.exrx.net/WeightTraining/Resistance.html

    Section down on progression.

    Try a more realistic upwards of 10% increase.

    Either increase the reps until it is difficult with weight you got, until perhaps a max of 12 reps, then add the weight and drop the reps to 8, or below if needed, and work your way back up.

    Yes, that does indeed break the 10 % increase suggestion, just gotta work with it, or find your personal micro plates to bring in.
    Yes, people do that.

    Or move incline earlier in the workout if it's not already. Could just be plain tired. Then when it's feeling easier, move it back down the list where it'll feel harder.

    Several options to deal with this.

    Thanks.
    I started at 3x8, am now at 3x10, so I guess I will try 3x12 and then maybe attempt some really low reps with the added weight. If I can even get 5 reps with 25 kilos in a few weeks, I will be more than thrilled.
    Already moved the incline bench press in the beginning of the workout when I started using the bar.
  • nancyjay__
    nancyjay__ Posts: 310 Member
    edited April 2015
    have a spotter. The only reason for gym buddies!
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,842 Member
    Ah, then move it back down the list so it's harder, and work up to 15 reps.

    Then when there and not sore after that workout, increase weight, drops reps, move it back up in list.
    Perhaps the triple combo will make it doable.
  • nancyjay__
    nancyjay__ Posts: 310 Member
    edited April 2015
    heybales wrote: »
    15 lbs for upper body every 2 weeks?!
    Wow - that's massive. And likely bad idea for great majority.

    http://www.exrx.net/WeightTraining/Resistance.html

    Section down on progression.

    Try a more realistic upwards of 10% increase.

    Either increase the reps until it is difficult with weight you got, until perhaps a max of 12 reps, then add the weight and drop the reps to 8, or below if needed, and work your way back up.

    Yes, that does indeed break the 10 % increase suggestion, just gotta work with it, or find your personal micro plates to bring in.
    Yes, people do that.

    Or move incline earlier in the workout if it's not already. Could just be plain tired. Then when it's feeling easier, move it back down the list where it'll feel harder.

    Several options to deal with this.

    We were working on squats at the time so maybe he meant it just for my squats. Idk we had just done suicide squats and i threw up. Lol
  • olivia_june
    olivia_june Posts: 111 Member
    edited April 2015
    45lbs is the typical "men's" bar, 35lbs is the women's. Most gyms just have the men's.....for whatever that's worth.

    I think the best thing that you can do is to find a spotter, even if it's just a random person working out near you. Try out the 5 kilo plates [roughly 11lbs] and see what happens. You may surprise yourself. Make sure that your form is good before you start adding weight. :) A spotter can help you if you get into troubles or need to bail the bar, and they can also help you gain confidence with the barbell!

    As for squats, the Smith machine will give you horrible form and may exacerbate your leg issues. Are you temporarily injured or is it a permanent thing? If it's permanent you may want to stick with goblet and dumbbell squats for glute work and then use machines for strength. But I think that if you can handle dumbbell squats, you should be able to handle a barbell, even if it's a bare bar!
  • LiftAndBalance
    LiftAndBalance Posts: 960 Member
    aggelikik wrote: »
    What should I do? Gradually increase reps/sets hoping to build strength? Switch back to dumbbells for a while until I am ready for larger weights?

    I think both are viable options. Continue increasing reps with the lighter weight, for example, until you can do even 3 reps or so with the heavier weight and then start building again from there. Or do one set of however much you can with the heavier weight and then two with the lighter weight and more reps for now (adjust based on how many sets you do altogether).

    You could also look into buying a set of 1.25kg plates second hand and bring them to the gym. There are even smaller plates that weight only 0.5–0.625kg.
    aggelikik wrote: »
    I problem I can see arising in the futures is squats. They gym has no squat rack. I am currently doing either goblet squats or dumbbell squats, as I am not allowed to put too much weight on my legs (injury), but thsi will not be a problem for ever (or at least I hope so). What do I do when I am ready for bigger weights? Smith machine? I must admit I have never used one and for whatever reason, I really do not like it.

    I can't do regular barbell squats due to a congenital issue so take my advice with a grain of salt. I'm sure someone more knowleagable with come along.

    The overall consensus seems to be that you really shouldn't use the smith machine for squats. Here's an example list of why: stronglifts.com/smith-machine-squats-power-rack-free-weights/ Personally, I refrain from using it since I'm scared to injure myself and it does feel weird on my lower back (I could do squats in the smith machine but not with a barbell so all the 'a barbell is superior' arguments are somewhat irrelevant to me).

    If changing gyms isn't a reasonable option, maybe focus on heavy unilateral movements, lunges, Bulgarian split squats etc.?
  • IvanOcampo
    IvanOcampo Posts: 226 Member
    there's a lot of replies and alas, i don't have time to read through them all, so if your question has been answered please disregard mine.
    however, here's my $.02

    1- if your gym has no squat rack, SERIOUSLY consider looking into changing gyms.
    2- weight progression: what is your current routine?
    Weight progression will depend purely on what program you're following.
    Having said that, if you're doing 5x5, for example, and are able to lift the bar, then add the 2.5 kilos per side.
    You might be able to do 5 reps, or you might fail at 3.. That's fine - do the 25 kilos the following week, until you can hit 5x5 ....
    Once you can do 5x5 again, then add another 2.5 kilos per side..
    and so on.

    essentially, you won't be able to lift heavier weight without lifting heavier weight.

    Anyway, hope this helped.

    Please consider my 1st point.

    If changing gyms isn't an option, sumo squats with dumbbells help, but you really need to use heavy *kitten* dumbbells; sometimes stack one on top of the other.

    look up:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_7_bzdkz5Q
  • LKArgh
    LKArgh Posts: 5,179 Member
    edited April 2015
    To answer a few questions:

    The options for gyms within a reasonable distance are:
    1) gym I am currently going to. Lots of benches and free weights, only obvious problem I have spotted so far the lack of a squat rack. Also a few really interesting classes, and terribly cheap.
    2) quite expensive gym I used to belong to, very oriented towards bodyweight routines and martial arts with some awesome instructors, but with absolutely no free weights (all workouts based on TRX and kettlebells) and I was starting to get bored after two years of several TRX sessions per week.
    3) small gym with again lots of free weights, no classes I was interested in and the owner looking at me really funny when I visited and asking about 10 times if I was really sure I was interested in using the weight room and not just going for the Zumba or "abs and legs" classes. I also did not see a single woman there, or anyone over the age of 20.
    So, at the moment, where I am is the better choice.

    I have been in recovery from a leg injury for a few months now, and I am starting to progressively load weight on this leg again. This is a new injury on top of a very old and serious one, so I really do not know how it will turn out. I expect things to get back close to normal within the next months, but I also expect some high risk for future injuries. From a weight lifting point of view, this is not bothering me much, I have no ambition of e.g. squatting 100 kilos, so taking things slowly and seeing how it goes is the plan.

    My weight training routine is currently a program based on 2 days training, progressive load, centered around compound lifts with a few accessorie exercises. It is a 3x8-10 program, not 5x5 and my main goal for the next year at least is increasing strength and endurance.




  • HirnKhan
    HirnKhan Posts: 8 Member
    edited April 2015
    I started on PHUL 5 months ago with an approximate 2.5% progression. For those exercises where moving from example from one dumbell to the next heaviest one I bought wrist weights at .5 , 1.0 and 1.5 kg which gave me the option to go for example from 12kg to 12.5kg to 13kg to 13.5kg to 14kg instead of having to jump from 12kg to 14kg. You can use the same wrist weights and fasten them to the middle of a barbell for smaller weight increases.
    /Michael
  • IvanOcampo
    IvanOcampo Posts: 226 Member
    You can always but yourself a set of fractional plates and bring them along to the gym with you..
  • bullfighter2012
    bullfighter2012 Posts: 1 Member
    Ok so here is what works for me. 5 min warm up to of any cardio avoid injury, just pick one. I do three sets of each exercise and try for 12 rep each set. If I get to 8 to 12 rep on the third set Thats perfect. If I can do more then 12 rep on third set then I up the weight next time. If the next weight selection proves to be to much you could do more reps of previous weight or slow down to increase resistance until you are comfortable to move up. You could go old weight first set, next up for second set then back to old weight for third as well.
    I dislocated my left shoulder years ago so I'm very careful when lifting. Some Movments I simply don't do because I'm afraid of re injury. It's good to know your body, but you need to push yourself to increase fitness level. I also never do more then 8 exercises per workout. Don't forget 5 min cool down :) Good luck.
  • perseverance14
    perseverance14 Posts: 1,364 Member
    I am 53 and have not had a problem progressing, and I have lots of company. StrongLifts progresses 5 lbs. each time (for men anyway) but I am more likely to progress 2.5 lbs. (although at lighter weights I did the 5 lbs.) and I will stay at a weight an extra session or 2 if I need to. Lots of us older women are strong, and we can deal with it, lots of older men too. Do what you can do. I would be at intermediate level by now but I got sideswiped by a big truck back in December so I had to start over, now I am very close to that point again in spite of more stress than I have time to explain in this new year, lets just say really bad stuff none of which was/is under my control so I just have to deal, and the lifting really helps, it helps me to keep on an even keel, I am SO glad I started doing it. You might be surprised about all the ways it will help you.
  • HeidiMightyRawr
    HeidiMightyRawr Posts: 3,343 Member
    If you feel comfortable moving up (can rep 20kg fine, the bar is under control) then you should be fine. If you're still worried, get a spotter to stand there and watch the first couple of times, they can be there to help if need be, but most likely if you can handle it, they'll just be a confidence boost until you are comfortable lifting by yourself.

    I'd advise a spotter always anyway, simply because it gives you more opportunity to push yourself without risking failing/injury. However, if that's not possible, the first couple of times with with a new weight should help you a lot mentally. Confidence is worth a lot when it comes to lifting IMO.
  • Emilia777
    Emilia777 Posts: 978 Member
    edited April 2015
    I just want to say that the owner of gym (3) sounds like a jerk, and he should wake up and smell the roses because women actually lift weights in 2015.

    I’m afraid I can’t add much to the helpful comments above. I barely have any gains on my upper body, and when I do move up I do so in 5-pound increments. I believe this was recommended for women in the strength program I use, Rippetoe’s Starting Strength (there’s an explanation of it on the bodybuilding forum if you’re interested). The book is extremely helpful on strength training info. If your goal is to gain strength, my understanding is that low reps with heavy weights is better, whereas endurance is higher reps with lower weights. I’m not altogether sure though, and it sounds like you know what you’re doing!

    One thing I can think of is considering doing some dumbbell exercises in addition to the bench press to help you gain strength in the upper body. I was recently looking into adding incline dumbbell curls to my routine. The overhead press is also a great exercise to this end, and a main component in my strength training program.

    I also would advise against the Smith machine - as I understand it, it encourages terrible form and does’t engage your core. I wish I could recommend a squat substitute, but I got nothing.

    I wish you the very best of luck, and hope your injury will heal up nicely. Strength training is such a great thing to do for your body. I’ve had back problems for years and getting stronger is my favourite thing to do.
  • SweatLikeDog
    SweatLikeDog Posts: 272 Member
    Slap a pair of 2.5 pound ankle weights on each end of the bar. Done.