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Alright - after bulking for 3 months I've gone from 162 to about 180 on the scale. Granted at least 5 lbs of that is water weight I'm sure. My lifts all went up and I'm pleased with my visual progress

I see times when someone is in the middle of a lift and they start exploding blood out their nose.  What blood vessels are breaking when that happens?

Good work again, zircon! I'm sure there will be more hairy man pics to come.   Soul Splint: how's Romanian deadlift for you? That's what I've been doing, and it seems like at least there's less act

On the machines at the gym, there are two sets of numbers for each extra weight you put on it. One is called actual and one is called effective. The effective is always higher.

for machine, always go actual. The weights on machines is generally a bit misleading, because they are on a track. For example, doing a barbell bench press, I can typically push 235-240 pounds, but on a machine, I can basically add 100 to it and do around 350. The same for flies, where I will do a dumbbell fly for 40 pounds, but on a pec deck machine, i will top it out at 300 and it still feels light.

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10x rep 2plate+35lb squat today, next week is 3 plates :-)

Holy shit, man. That is nuts that you've gotten to that point so quickly. I thought my deadlift progress was something special, but that takes the cake. We're talking full-depth 10x315 back squats, right? If so, we all owe you an e-high five.

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I think the weight is technically 295? But yes, back squats. Now I *am* doing them on a smith machine, which I know some people look down on.. however I'm doing them with proper form, not some weird/bad form that is enabled by the machine. My trainer makes sure of that. His philosophy is that if you're using a smith for the exercise, you can focus 100% on moving the weight, as opposed to being partially distracted by other factors like balance.

For what it's worth, besides his pretty insane results, there are a lot of other huge guys at this gym - including some NFL players - and all of them use the same machine, so that's gotta count for something :-)

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For what it's worth, besides his pretty insane results, there are a lot of other huge guys at this gym - including some NFL players - and all of them use the same machine, so that's gotta count for something :-)

Well, it may be a Smith Machine, but the weight would still probably shoot my spine through my ass, so kudos there anyway.

Random progress report on me: about six months ago, I tried to do an L-sit chinup, and couldn't quite get it. Today, I randomly decided to try again (at the end of my workout, mind you) and did SEVEN with full ROM. All ur gold starz r belong 2 me.

Edited by Soul Splint
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It's usually a good idea to get some kind of cardio in before you lift. You want your blood flowing. That being said, I'm not sure whether it's good or bad to do a significant amount of cardio (like more than 10 mins) beforehand...

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Been seeing some slight improvements in the number of reps I'm pushing into my circuit. My first attempt at the circuit got me through 2 sets and just barely into my 3rd set. Now I'm completing a full 3 sets in the same amount of time.

I'm thinking of swapping out the jumping lunges though because my left knee kinda pops a bit and I think I should give it a bit of a rest. Anyone have a suggestion for a replacement? Should be focused on the legs. As a note, squats and the jumping in the burpees don't affect my knee so maybe it's my form?

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Out of curiosity, is it better to do cardio or weights first?

5-10 min cardio to warm up, do all your lifting to deplete the glycogen, then long-term cardio. Your routine won't burn that much gycogen though, so you can probably do whatver you want, whenever you want to. :-)

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Too much cardio before lifting is a bad idea. You don't want to deplete your muscles of glycogen before lifting because won't be able to lift to your potential if you're lacking in energy, so your muscles won't be challenged enough to grow at a reasonable rate. Just enough to get your heart rate up is all you need, probably a few minutes.

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I'm running into an issue where my hip flexors (like literally right at the very top of my legs) get pretty sore on my heavier squats. They're not particularly sore the day after, but I notice that if I'm doing something like going up and down the stairs a lot, or playing badminton (lots of lunging), I feel that soreness again. I don't normally do stretches - should I maybe work that into my pre-workout routine? It's crazy because THAT feels like the "limiting" factor to me right now. My butt usually feels sore after leg day, but I'm not experiencing much quad muscle fatigue even on my heaviest (3 plate!!) set. It's just that pain at the hip - and yes my form IS good...

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I'm running into an issue where my hip flexors (like literally right at the very top of my legs) get pretty sore on my heavier squats. They're not particularly sore the day after, but I notice that if I'm doing something like going up and down the stairs a lot, or playing badminton (lots of lunging), I feel that soreness again. I don't normally do stretches - should I maybe work that into my pre-workout routine? It's crazy because THAT feels like the "limiting" factor to me right now. My butt usually feels sore after leg day, but I'm not experiencing much quad muscle fatigue even on my heaviest (3 plate!!) set. It's just that pain at the hip - and yes my form IS good...

stretches after; before won't give you the help you need when you need it. It does seem a little weird, though a smith machine may force your body to move in a somewhat unnatural way than if you were doing free barbell. which may be part of the issue. Maybe try doing some lighter goblet squats (100lb if you have a dumbbell that heavy at your gym)in addition to help get that motion worked.

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Been seeing some slight improvements in the number of reps I'm pushing into my circuit. My first attempt at the circuit got me through 2 sets and just barely into my 3rd set. Now I'm completing a full 3 sets in the same amount of time.

I'm thinking of swapping out the jumping lunges though because my left knee kinda pops a bit and I think I should give it a bit of a rest. Anyone have a suggestion for a replacement? Should be focused on the legs. As a note, squats and the jumping in the burpees don't affect my knee so maybe it's my form?

There are tons of variations on squats you can try. Jumping lunges will primarily target your quads and glutes, so you could throw in some front squats and goblet squats to hit both of those areas pretty well. Youtube them to check out proper form. I know you don't have access to weights, but even holding some random object that weighs 5-10 pounds while doing these will really boost your results :-)

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There are tons of variations on squats you can try. Jumping lunges will primarily target your quads and glutes, so you could throw in some front squats and goblet squats to hit both of those areas pretty well. Youtube them to check out proper form. I know you don't have access to weights, but even holding some random object that weighs 5-10 pounds while doing these will really boost your results :-)

Seconding on goblet squats; even holding a backpack filled with books will get results pretty well. Actually, a backpack filled with books would be good to add weight to pushups and such as well. :-)

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More warm-up sets are really good for priming the joints and small muscles for hard work as well as letting your gamma motor neurons know what they're about to get into (it's the neural network which determines how many muscle fibers will be recruited for work; it's anticipatory in nature, so enough warm-up lifts give it the proper feedback to let you lift the heaviest weight possible). For squats and deads, I do 4-5 warmup sets. So if I were doing 3 work sets of 5 reps at 280 on squats, I'd do a warm-up series like:

95x5

135x4

165x3

195x2

225x1

Or something like that. Just stay below warming up at 80% of your work weight or you'll hurt your sets. Interestingly, I read a study a while ago that showed ~10% increase in work weight when warming up with a protocol like that. Wish I could link you, but I have nooooooo idea where to find it anymore.

And I don't want to cramp your style, but Smith machines are dangerous. They've been pegged as the most injurious piece of gym equipment. I don't know if that's true, but I think I buy it.

A huge compound lift like a squat is really risky to do under a constricted bar path like the one a Smith machine permits. A squat is a very biomechanically complicated movement since you're moving a lot of weight balanced over your center of gravity with essentially your whole body (quads are the biggest part of the equation, but it's really just about a full-body lift). I wouldn't be at all surprised if the posture the machine forces you into is unduly stressing some part of your squat's kinetic chain. If your hip flexors are hurting, I'm going to guess that the machine is forcing you to hold your pelvis more upright than your body would prefer, so the hip flexors may be stretched and strained.

Is there a reason you're doing them in a Smith machine as opposed to a power rack with free weights?

Edited by ectogemia
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They're what my trainer recommends. He uses them for his (very large) squats as well. His perspective is that using them allows you to not worry about balance, and instead just focus on the lift itself with 100% of your concentration, rather than using part of your focus on balance etc. He also believes they minimize the risk of injury - he prioritizes not getting injured above most everything else, because an injury that prevents you from lifting for weeks or months is the most detrimental to progress (as opposed to doing a slightly sub-optimal exercise).

Far be it from me to argue with the guy - he's probably the strongest, most fit person I've ever met, and he's 55 to boot. It's hard to argue with his insane results and lack of any injuries ever.

That being said I'd be interested to ask him if we can try a bar squat on Friday (leg day) just as a point of comparison, to see if it affects my hip pain during the lift.

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They're what my trainer recommends. He uses them for his (very large) squats as well. His perspective is that using them allows you to not worry about balance, and instead just focus on the lift itself with 100% of your concentration, rather than using part of your focus on balance etc. He also believes they minimize the risk of injury - he prioritizes not getting injured above most everything else, because an injury that prevents you from lifting for weeks or months is the most detrimental to progress (as opposed to doing a slightly sub-optimal exercise).

Far be it from me to argue with the guy - he's probably the strongest, most fit person I've ever met, and he's 55 to boot. It's hard to argue with his insane results and lack of any injuries ever.

That being said I'd be interested to ask him if we can try a bar squat on Friday (leg day) just as a point of comparison, to see if it affects my hip pain during the lift.

He's right about prioritizing not getting injured. I stress fractured my left ulna by ignoring pain during barbell biceps curls, which are sorta superfluous anyway if you do weighted chin-ups, but I digress... That put me out of commission for months, and I lost a couple dozen pounds of muscle.

He may just have the magical anatomy to do a safe Smith squat. I bet if you start doing free-weight squats, your problem will disappear. But if you transition to free-weight squats, you should definitely reduce your weight to allow your stabilizers and core to catch up after having been neglected during Smith squats.

I won't argue with your trainer's results, and yours have been really solid, too, but I will argue with his focus on moving more weight by not focusing on balance. One of the most important benefits of squatting is the massive gain in core strength (dem abs...) which can be attributed to keeping a few hundred pounds of moving weight directly over your center of gravity. You may be squatting somewhat less weight when compared to your Smith squats, but the machine is doing some of the work for you. My own philosophy is that you should always move as naturally as possible and let your body carry the burden because it maximizes your control over the movement which takes the machine variable out of the injury equation, a variable which you can't control. When my physical health is at risk, I want to make sure I'm in charge of what's going on.

Edited by ectogemia
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I really must make an apology. I come into this discussion and I do nothing but ask for help. Whenever someone else needs some discussion on something, I just stay quiet because I know that everyone else can answer it better than I can.

Well I really appreciate all the help I've gotten since this group started. You have done nothing but encourage and teach me and it's been helpful the whole way through. So thank you.

But I must ask another one...... what are leg lifts tracked as on fitocracy? This kind is you lay on your back, raise your legs about 3 inches, slowly spread them out laterally and bring them back to the center, lower them to the ground.

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