Upper body strength training...where to start?

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jepo27
jepo27 Posts: 56 Member
Hi guys

I've decided to start working on toning/strengthening my upper body, partly to aid weight loss but also to get flabby arms and back fat to reduce. I have a couple of 1.5kg dumbbells and am planning to do sets of reps to each exercise (like bent over rowing/fly) How many sets and reps should I do? I've never done strength training before.
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  • Thehardmakesitworthit
    Thehardmakesitworthit Posts: 838 Member
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    Good for you! I would suggest that you find a program to follow. I started with reading articles on bodybuilding.com which led me to Strong Lifts..and then on to others. Bodybuilding.com has great "plans" to follow under training on their website. Check it out! and You will NOT regret doing resistance training.
  • cecekay19
    cecekay19 Posts: 89 Member
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    I'm old school. I'd start with push-ups (on the knees if you can't do a full military style push-up). Walk with your dumbbells, use them as part of a push-up or plank routine (picking your arms up with the dumbbell). Dead lifts are also great, but you will need more weight to make that more effective.
  • tcunbeliever
    tcunbeliever Posts: 8,219 Member
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    darebee has a lot of exercise options
  • jepo27
    jepo27 Posts: 56 Member
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    Thanks for the tips so far! I can't really do press ups as my wrists are weak (early onset arthritis, my body weight causes my wrists to give way during press-ups)...so I have to go for exercises that don't put too much strain ony wrists.
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,728 Member
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    jepo27 wrote: »
    Thanks for the tips so far! I can't really do press ups as my wrists are weak (early onset arthritis, my body weight causes my wrists to give way during press-ups)...so I have to go for exercises that don't put too much strain ony wrists.

    Try doing them on your fists(or holding the dumbells) Also try different hand positions. fingers forward is how most people were taught, but it's not the only way.

    regarding the arthritis, what other joints are currently affected? -Advice for someone with an injury is not the same as for a fully healthy person.
  • cecekay19
    cecekay19 Posts: 89 Member
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    Consider swimming, then. As cwolfman13 said, you can't target a place to lose fat, only to tone and add muscle. A survival backstroke is like doing jumping jacks in the water. Good workout and the water will provide resistance. Resistance bands may also be something you should try.
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,728 Member
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    cecekay19 wrote: »
    Consider swimming, then. As cwolfman13 said, you can't target a place to lose fat, only to tone and add muscle. A survival backstroke is like doing jumping jacks in the water. Good workout and the water will provide resistance. Resistance bands may also be something you should try.

    A good set of bands will definitely be beneficial and can be had for less than a set of dumbbells. they're not as good as actual weights, because the resistance depends on how far the band has been pre-stretched, but they're a good compromise and provide quite a bit of flexibility in use.
  • julie_broadhead
    julie_broadhead Posts: 347 Member
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    jepo27 wrote: »
    Thanks for the tips so far! I can't really do press ups as my wrists are weak (early onset arthritis, my body weight causes my wrists to give way during press-ups)...so I have to go for exercises that don't put too much strain ony wrists.

    Have you tried doing the press ups against a wall instead of on the floor? Have you worked with either an occupational therapist or physical therapist on your wrists? If you haven’t, I would start there. Then take on a body weight program. I recommend the body weight program by Nia Shanks.

    http://www.niashanks.com/the-beautiful-badass-bodyweight-guide2/

    It’s not free, but it’s a good program and she is good about getting back to you if you have questions.
  • mbaker566
    mbaker566 Posts: 11,233 Member
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    SonyaCele wrote: »
    jepo27 wrote: »
    Hi guys

    I've decided to start working on toning/strengthening my upper body, partly to aid weight loss but also to get flabby arms and back fat to reduce. I have a couple of 1.5kg dumbbells and am planning to do sets of reps to each exercise (like bent over rowing/fly) How many sets and reps should I do? I've never done strength training before.

    I would suggest you dump the toy weights and get something that's actually going to provide meaningful benefit in improving strength 10-15 kilos is a good starting weight.

    dont say that. The amt of weight someone uses is very specific to their level what they are doing. Some people can't even lift their own body weight and just going through the motions with a light weight dumbbell will get them started . I would not put a 10KG weight in the hands of someone just starting out. Odds are as a beginner she wont be able to do much besides deadlift that much . The 1.5kg can get her learning some exercises very safely and it may not seem like a lot to you or me but it may be a lot to her. She can dump the "toy weights" once she gets going but they are great to start, but i would suggest keeping the toy weights anyways, because try and do a set of reverse flys with a 10Kg dbs.

    A beginner should not be doing reverse flies.

    And a healthy adult female should be able to press and row as well as squat With a 10 kilo bell.

    Fooling around with toy weights and accessory lifts is bad advice for a beginner who isn’t otherwise injured

    while she isn't injured, she has bad wrists. small weights are fine, more reps are needed.

    op: it depends on how you want to do it and how much you want to do.
    lifting and such is very popular on mfp
    there are others who do body weight work.
    push ups, pull ups, planks, etc.
    my wrists were pretty weak when i started getting fitter. i did planks on my forearms, wall push ups. now they are stronger. however, i'm not sure how much early onset arthritis would come into play. not a dr. :wink:
  • mbaker566
    mbaker566 Posts: 11,233 Member
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    @jepo27 one nice thing is there is often many paths to the final location of being fitter :smile:
  • jseams1234
    jseams1234 Posts: 1,218 Member
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    1.5kg = 3.3 pounds. I've eaten burritos that are heavier than that. That's lighter than most purses. Significantly lighter than a bag of groceries and a few pounds lighter than a small newborn child... I agree that you shouldn't start with a weight that is too heavy or dangerous - but c'mon.
  • jepo27
    jepo27 Posts: 56 Member
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    Well...I must be a lot weaker than I thought then as some of you find my tiny weights laughable. I have done 3 to 5 sets of 30 reps the past few days and I ache all over my upper body, so I must be doing something right.
  • jseams1234
    jseams1234 Posts: 1,218 Member
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    jepo27 wrote: »
    Well...I must be a lot weaker than I thought then as some of you find my tiny weights laughable. I have done 3 to 5 sets of 30 reps the past few days and I ache all over my upper body, so I must be doing something right.

    Nobody is "laughing" at the weight you are able to lift. We all start somewhere and when I look back at where I started I can see a lot of dudes rolling their eyes at my pitiful little lifts. ;)

    However, your stated interest is strength training... I'd hazard to say that if you are able to knock out sets of 30 with the current weights you are using you need to bump them up a tad. Most people strength train in the 5-8 rep range and start what we call hypertrophy training in the 8-15 rep range. Once you get strong enough to reach the top end of those ranges the general rule of thumb is that is when you increase the intensity (weight).

    Anyhow, sorry if we and if especially I came off as snarky. It was not my intention. I hope you stick with it and you are able to reach your strength and health goals. :)