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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

Anybody have any experience with Convict Conditioning? I'm becoming a fatty fat fat and I hate gyms with a passion, so I'm looking for something bodyweight-based that I can kind of do anywhere.

Seriously, though, if you're looking for moderate strength gains and mostly fat loss, you don't need a gym at all. There's tons of ways to drop pounds and get swole with just calisthenics.

Leg curl machine is broke or something at the gym. it's not working correctly. What can I do to replace this exercise?

Does your gym have a cable machine? If so, you can use it set real low and/or with a bench. It's not gonna be perfect, but you can still hit your hamstrings and glutes, which is what you activate in a leg curl.

Also, Halt, to your earlier question given your health concerns, I'm gonna go against my usual instincts and recommend the Smith machine. I'm not a fan of this machine in general, because people do squats with it (which I'll grant is what it looks like it's for but is in fact way worse than free weights for,) and it takes up a ton of space in the weight room. That being said, it is very safe and I've seen it used to good effect when people put a bench underneath.

As to goals, I need to get on that Fitocracy thing, I reckon. I was on Fitlinxx (somewhat similar but just at the Y pretty much,) but now that's went away, so some goal/progress tracking might be nice. Most of my goals are not lifts, but sure, let's put em down in writing:

-275 1rm bench

-315 1rm squat

-bodyweight push jerk

-improve flexibility, particularly in my back and hamstrings

-cut 10 more lbs so I'm sitting around 165 most of the time, at which point I should have a...

-six pack

Again, aestheticism and even pure strength take a distant back seat to ability to perform martial arts/fight, so my main goals are as follows:

-Improve (really learn any) grappling

-Get some cage experience with my betters and have the cardio/muscular endurance to consistently roll with competitive fighters

-Box

-Finish my pudao form and concurrently become decent with the weapon

-Learn how to do a kip-up (just for fun)

My number one fitness goal for this year, though? Become a personal trainer/MA instructor. I got a plan, don't worry.

I think all of these are very reasonable goals, except for maybe the six pack. That has a lot to do with genetics, but my abs are reasonably defined now at 175, so mayhap I'll have the old washboard stomach at 165, if I get there. My lifting goals are pretty much just what I should be doing by year end if I continue to follow 5/3/1, which I see no point in stopping, so I'm pretty optimistic.

Sorry for the long post, everybody, but good luck to everyone on their own goals! Let's do this, bros! :)

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Solid goals, zirc and RFB. Let's keep the thread updated with significant progress toward these goals and especially when we hit them.

@Mocking, I've heard great things about Convict Conditioning but have never tried the program. RFB speaks the truth when he says you don't need a gym to get lean and mean. Keep us posted on the program if you try it!

@Halt, the closest thing to leg curls would probably be what RFB suggested in using a cable machine. If that's not an option, good mornings are great for hamstring work. And if you want a very challenging option that works more than just the hamstrings (though it definitely hammers the hammies hard) give hack squats a shot.

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Solid goals, zirc and RFB. Let's keep the thread updated with significant progress toward these goals and especially when we hit them.

@Mocking, I've heard great things about Convict Conditioning but have never tried the program. RFB speaks the truth when he says you don't need a gym to get lean and mean. Keep us posted on the program if you try it!

@Halt, the closest thing to leg curls would probably be what RFB suggested in using a cable machine. If that's not an option, good mornings are great for hamstring work. And if you want a very challenging option that works more than just the hamstrings (though it definitely hammers the hammies hard) give hack squats a shot.

Thanks and likewise! BW+90lbs pull-up is alpha as hell, bro. Is that gonna be a pull-up (palms facing you) or a chin-up (palms facing out?)

Seconding hack squats for Halt. Hadn't thought of those, but definitely gets that back of the leg. For that matter, dead lifts are pretty great, and hit the hams/calves. Given the concerns you mentioned about your arm giving, you might want to set up a variation inside of a power rack just to be safe, but the plus side there is that you can actually do a dead lift to a deficit position, which is even harder and hits the back of the legs even better.

Hack, I don't suppose you do martial arts, do ya? If so, do hook kicks. :)

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OA: Das it, mane.

Question to all: Trying to think of exercises I can do that put no weight on the lower spine (due to my disc injury) or actually pull upwards on the spine. For example, instead of OHP, lat pulldown. Instead of standing barbell or dumbbell curls, preacher curls. Can you guys help me think of other exercises?

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Question to all: Trying to think of exercises I can do that put no weight on the lower spine (due to my disc injury) or actually pull upwards on the spine. For example, instead of OHP, lat pulldown. Instead of standing barbell or dumbbell curls, preacher curls. Can you guys help me think of other exercises?

Maybe resistance bands in some way? I am not a bro doctor, but i'd assume for something like OHP, you'd just want to do lower weight dumbbell and do a GVT 10x10.

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OA: Das it, mane.

Question to all: Trying to think of exercises I can do that put no weight on the lower spine (due to my disc injury) or actually pull upwards on the spine. For example, instead of OHP, lat pulldown. Instead of standing barbell or dumbbell curls, preacher curls. Can you guys help me think of other exercises?

How do bench exercises feel, in general? Also, you said squat was your number one lift. Do you have a quad press machine that has the weight loaded on your shoulders like a backpack? We've got that one at my gym in addition to the old-school one where your head is close to the ground. If you have it, does it feel ok? Sorry, I'm (fortunately) not super familiar with back issues and how to cope with them when lifting.

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What are your thoughts on HIIT/Tabata regimen? I need to get back into shape after slacking off over the winter break.

I'm aiming to get back into condition for semi-competitive swimming, and I'm wondering if HIIT/Tabata would be a good supplemental routine.

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What are your thoughts on HIIT/Tabata regimen? I need to get back into shape after slacking off over the winter break.

I'm aiming to get back into condition for semi-competitive swimming, and I'm wondering if HIIT/Tabata would be a good supplemental routine.

It's the best.

Really, though, more and more research shows that it has as good or better results than longer exercise sessions. I personally saw great gains over the last year and some doing mostly Tabata. It also (obviously) doesn't take anywhere as much of your time, which means you can get on to important stuff like video games.

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BW+90lbs pull-up is alpha as hell, bro. Is that gonna be a pull-up (palms facing you) or a chin-up (palms facing out?) :)

Alpha? Me? :-? Maybe someday...but yeah, these are on pull-ups (palms away). Funnily enough, I used to hate pull-ups and sort of tolerated chin-ups. Now I tolerate chin-ups and LOVE pull-ups. Knocked out 6 reps yesterday on my first set with a plate attached to me, so I think two plates should be doable by the end of the year.

EDIT: Now that I really think about it, this goal might be a little low. I'll adjust it later if I need to (which would be AWESOME).

Question to all: Trying to think of exercises I can do that put no weight on the lower spine (due to my disc injury) or actually pull upwards on the spine. For example, instead of OHP, lat pulldown. Instead of standing barbell or dumbbell curls, preacher curls. Can you guys help me think of other exercises?

Are you looking for all exercises, or exercises for particular muscle groups, here?

What are your thoughts on HIIT/Tabata regimen? I need to get back into shape after slacking off over the winter break.

I'm aiming to get back into condition for semi-competitive swimming, and I'm wondering if HIIT/Tabata would be a good supplemental routine.

HIIT/Tabata is KING for conditioning while actually stimulating muscle growth, whereas steady-state/long-term cardio can hamper muscle growth. Make sure you adjust your calories to keep burning/adding and then tear up some interval training. I'll be getting back into HIIT sprints myself once it warms up a bit.

Edited by Soul Splint
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Knocked out 6 reps yesterday on my first set with a plate attached to me, so I think two plates should be doable by the end of the year.

EDIT: Now that I really think about it, this goal might be a little low. I'll adjust it later if I need to (which would be AWESOME).

.

From my experience, i'll say that transitioning from 1 plate to 2 is pretty damn fast, but 2 to 3 is ridiculously hard, specifically for grip strength (im not there yet). I have a feeling you will easily get 2 plates within the next 12 months.

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@Mocking, I've heard great things about Convict Conditioning but have never tried the program. RFB speaks the truth when he says you don't need a gym to get lean and mean. Keep us posted on the program if you try it!

I will do that. So far all of the exercises are ridiculously easy, but I'm pacing myself in the manner that the book recommends, so I think it will pick up in future weeks. That's pretty much my first impression on ConCon though; it's very progressive, and very rehabilitative, so sudden gains are not really a viable goal. It's fine for me though, since I have a bad shoulder and no real desire to be cut like diamond. I just want to be able to crawl under racks of gear again without feeling like I'll be stuck there forever.

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Does your gym have a cable machine? If so, you can use it set real low and/or with a bench. It's not gonna be perfect, but you can still hit your hamstrings and glutes, which is what you activate in a leg curl.

Also, Halt, to your earlier question given your health concerns, I'm gonna go against my usual instincts and recommend the Smith machine. I'm not a fan of this machine in general, because people do squats with it (which I'll grant is what it looks like it's for but is in fact way worse than free weights for,) and it takes up a ton of space in the weight room. That being said, it is very safe and I've seen it used to good effect when people put a bench underneath.

I'm actually not a fan of the Smith machine. I've used them to enough extent to where I just don't like them.

I'm forgetting if it's the weird fatigue I experienced, or the unbalanced left side of my body due to my epilepsy, but i try to compensate non-compound movements if I can, and the smith machine has never really helped. I'm much more able to gauge where I'm at as far as muscle use with barbell squats and deads rather then with a smith machine.

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I'm actually not a fan of the Smith machine. I've used them to enough extent to where I just don't like them.

I'm forgetting if it's the weird fatigue I experienced, or the unbalanced left side of my body due to my epilepsy, but i try to compensate non-compound movements if I can, and the smith machine has never really helped. I'm much more able to gauge where I'm at as far as muscle use with barbell squats and deads rather then with a smith machine.

Well, I feel you on not liking the Smith machine much. I was mainly thinking of using it for upper body exercises like bench and military presses, spurred in part by your description of inclined dumbbell lifts being tough/dangerous. For that matter, have you tried using kettlebells for the same lifts? I hear they're safer and good for balance loading stuff.

@Soul Splint: That's funny, that's the opposite of the terminology I'm familiar with for pull-up/chin-up. Also, it's the opposite of my experience, more or less. I've always been much better at palms facing inward.

Sooooooo, OCR, I mentioned that I wanted to become a personal trainer. A big part of that is becoming certified as such. There's a ton of certifications out there. Which one(s) do you recommend, if any?

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@Soul Splint: That's funny, that's the opposite of the terminology I'm familiar with for pull-up/chin-up. Also, it's the opposite of my experience, more or less. I've always been much better at palms facing inward.

Sooooooo, OCR, I mentioned that I wanted to become a personal trainer. A big part of that is becoming certified as such. There's a ton of certifications out there. Which one(s) do you recommend, if any?

That is funny, because I used to think the same thing. However, it seems the general population disagrees with us: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chin-up

As for certifications, it really boils down to looking at what kind of money you're willing to spend (on certification and re-certification), how often you're willing to recertify, how rigorous you want the testing to be, and how many hours of continuing education you're willing to put into the certification to maintain it. When I was considering it, I remember that ACE was pretty easily my first choice (not least of which because it's also one of the most widely-recognized), with NASM being second. This page gives a pretty good breakdown between some top choices: http://www.becomingatrainer.com/best-personal-trainer-certification/.

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That is funny, because I used to think the same thing. However, it seems the general population disagrees with us: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chin-up

Huh, how about that. Bodybuilding.com also has the same terminology. Weird. I must have got that from some broscientist. Thanks for the correction!

As for certifications, it really boils down to looking at what kind of money you're willing to spend (on certification and re-certification), how often you're willing to recertify, how rigorous you want the testing to be, and how many hours of continuing education you're willing to put into the certification to maintain it. When I was considering it, I remember that ACE was pretty easily my first choice (not least of which because it's also one of the most widely-recognized), with NASM being second. This page gives a pretty good breakdown between some top choices: http://www.becomingatrainer.com/best-personal-trainer-certification/.

Yup. That's pretty much where I was from doing some looking, but it's always good to get more encouragement. I liked that article, thanks. I guess my plan now is to do ACE this year, NASM next year, and maybe get specializations the years following. NASM has an MMA conditioning specialization, which seems fairly up my alley, so that's on the docket for sure, but that's a tough start-up cost with them, so I think ACE is the way to go for now. Thanks again!

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my definition of chinup is the same as the wiki article, FWIW.

Yeah, I think that's the commonly accepted terminology, I was just confuzled. To be pedantic, I could say that you bring your chin up in both movements, but you use more of the muscles associated with the "pull" muscles (such as your biceps) when you have your palms facing inward. Meh. Splitting hairs.

Related, so that we can get off of semantics in a lifting/exercising thread, what's your favorite motion of this kind? I like chins cuz I'm better at them, but I think my favorite overall may be hammer grip pull-ups. Just feels like it hits a lot and is pretty low impact.

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I've been slamming the Stairmaster lately for cardio:

http://www.dailyhiit.com/hiit-blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Stepmill.png

This thing is brutal. When I first tried one a few years ago, I had it on 50 steps per min and made it maybe 5 minutes.

Today, I started at 90 and worked up to 135 steps/min (which is practically a jog) - over the course of 31 minutes, did 200 flights of stairs without stopping. 4 miles of distance, finishing at 15 mets.

Dragonforce, Nightwish, and Pendulum pumps me up :D

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I never understood why people got pull up and chin up mixed up so frequently.

Anyway, my nutrisystem package arrived today. Let me tell you, dry ice burns so quickly. I was thinking I would get all my food at the same time, but look what happened to the second package with the non-frozen food.

1/16/2015 - Friday

11:14 am Delivered New Bern, NC

11:14 am Delivery exception GREENVILLE, NC

Delivered to address other than recipient

8:44 am On FedEx vehicle for delivery GREENVILLE, NC

7:16 am At local FedEx facility GREENVILLE, NC

2:31 am Departed FedEx location ASHLAND, VA

12:43 am Arrived at FedEx location

So I guess it will come on monday. It's time to feast on all the other food I have in the house so I can finish it before it spoils.

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chin ups because i get some brocep into the mix too. ^___^

seriously though, if I only did one exercise, it'd be pull ups, but since I typically do these after heavy deads and half the time heavy dumbbell rows, I need to add some other muscles in there in order to hit a good rep range. I joke about it, but my bicep and triceps are actually a bit underdeveloped compared to the rest of my upper body, as i don't have the time in the gym to specifically focus them, and stick to compound movements. They get hit, but not enough, IMO.

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