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Old 07-30-2008, 22:17   #1
HavinaPretzel
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Some newbie questions about weight training

I'm 28, 5'11, 160, and am about to start a fitness regimen. My goals are to add muscle and get lean, as I'd weigh about 140 if not for my gut. I have some questions about weight training, which I have only a little experience with. I've started working out a few times before, but couldn't make it a habit, which brings me to my first question:

What can I do to reduce muscle soreness in the days after lifting? Even though I've always warmed up beforehand and stretched for several minutes before & after lifting, soreness is what's always held me up in the past.

Should I avoid exercise if I'm still sore from my last workout? I'd like to alternate days of weight and cardio - cycling or erging (I used to row, so I still call it that) - is that a reasonable for a beginner? And can I reasonably expect to work all the major muscle groups in one lifting session? I'm not trying to look like Mr. Universe, just be healthier and look & feel better. My diet is just ok right now, but I've already started improving it - mainly by bringing fruit to work and drinking less beer.

I appreciate any answers you guys can give me, as well as any general advice you might have for a weight training newbie.
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Old 07-30-2008, 22:40   #2
TurboRocket
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First, welcome. There are a good few regulars in this forum who I'm sure will try to help with useful tidbits. I'll try to start it off.

- What to do to reduce muscle soreness? probably two things, 1) ease into your new regimen, and 2) stick with it. My guess is you jump into a workout routine, get sore, and then get de-motivated and probably stop. Your muscles are sore because they are adapting to new stress you are putting on them, which is good. As your muscles adapt, they get stronger.

- Warming up is certainly a good idea. Contrary to popular opinion, static stretching before weight training is not a good idea. Do dynamic stretches. Static is where you see people holding a stretch position for, say 30 seconds, and not moving. With dynamic stretching, you're moving, and not holding a position. Doing lunges might be considered dynamic stretching, for example.

- Consider buying the book Starting Strength, by Mark Rippitoe (aka Rip, or Coach Rip). It can be purchased at www.StartingStrength.com. I bought it, and only wish it was around when I was in my 20s.

- Alternating days should be fine but just make sure you get enough rest. The folks over at www.CrossFit.com do a 3-day on, 1-day off cycle. You could try that and see how that does for you. Maybe start with cardio(day 1)-strength(day2)-cardio(day 3) for your first few weeks, then switch to strength-cardio-strength as your body becomes more adapted to the new stress of working out.

- In terms of muscle groups, you'll be hitting a lot of them in one day if you follow Starting Strength. Regardless of whether you follow SS, concentrate on big, compound exercises, like the squat, deadlift, press, and cleans.

- Diet is definitely important, and it sounds like you are making strides. Don't forget the good fats, like nuts, olive oil, avocados, etc. And lot's of leafy greens.
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Old 07-30-2008, 22:40   #3
mpg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HavinaPretzel View Post
I'm 28, 5'11, 160, and am about to start a fitness regimen. My goals are to add muscle and get lean, as I'd weigh about 140 if not for my gut. I have some questions about weight training, which I have only a little experience with. I've started working out a few times before, but couldn't make it a habit, which brings me to my first question:

What can I do to reduce muscle soreness in the days after lifting? Even though I've always warmed up beforehand and stretched for several minutes before & after lifting, soreness is what's always held me up in the past.

Should I avoid exercise if I'm still sore from my last workout? I'd like to alternate days of weight and cardio - cycling or erging (I used to row, so I still call it that) - is that a reasonable for a beginner? And can I reasonably expect to work all the major muscle groups in one lifting session? I'm not trying to look like Mr. Universe, just be healthier and look & feel better. My diet is just ok right now, but I've already started improving it - mainly by bringing fruit to work and drinking less beer.

I appreciate any answers you guys can give me, as well as any general advice you might have for a weight training newbie.
There are a few things you can do to help reduce DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness). A light recovery jog, good nutrition, particularly post workout nutrition, contrast showers (hot, cold, hot, colt, etc.), and myofascial release with a foam roller will all help. After a few weeks you shouldn't be getting as sore.

Stop doing static stretches before you workout. Warmup and do dynamic stretches prior to working out, static stretching afterwords if you need it.

Yes, you can still workout while sore.

Yes you can do cardio on your off days, and yes you can work all major muscle groups in one workout.

I believe that just about any beginner, unless your priority is long distance endurance training, should start out on a good 5x5 routine. Bill stars, Stronglifts ( http://stronglifts.com/stronglifts-5...ining-program/ ), doesn't matter to much.
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Old 07-30-2008, 22:42   #4
mpg
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Originally Posted by TurboRocket View Post
- Consider buying the book Starting Strength, by Mark Rippitoe (aka Rip, or Coach Rip). It can be purchased at www.StartingStrength.com. I bought it, and only wish it was around when I was in my 20s.
Posted before I replied . I feared the worst when I saw a strength and conditioning section here. Seeing you recommend starting strength assures me that this place is in good hands.
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Old 07-31-2008, 16:26   #5
HavinaPretzel
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Thanks guys, I have to run some errands today and will definitely pick up Starting Strength. I'll also quit the static stretching and will try alternating showers, which I haven't previously heard of. I'm really looking forward to starting and, knowing me, I'll only have to force myself until I start seeing results..then I'll be hooked!
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Old 08-02-2008, 20:54   #6
California Jack
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Originally Posted by mpg View Post
Posted before I replied . I feared the worst when I saw a strength and conditioning section here. Seeing you recommend starting strength assures me that this place is in good hands.
Starting Strength Weider is the way to go.
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Old 08-02-2008, 23:17   #7
silentpoet
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Learn to love the pain. You have to see pain as a positive sign of effort expended on your part. Another thing that helps is Tiger Balm ointment. It is my favorite of the easily available ointments. All the other tips for soreness are good. Some body parts you can massage yourself, but you have to be willing to be a little tough on yourself when massaging to get the most benefit. It is not a relaxing massage. Also a whirlpool type bath if you have access to it is great.
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