What strength machines should a gym newbie use?
I started working out at home in Feb I was 230ish at the time. I've currently weight 190, I'm 5'2" and 35 year old female. I've recently gained access to a gym for free so I plan on using it but I don't have much experience with gym equipment and there is no one at this gym to advise me so I'm wondering what machines I should use. My goal is to be able to do a full sit-up, I can barely get my shoulders off the mat now and to be able to do full push-ups I can do about 20 modified now. Up till now my workout schedule has been to jog on a manual treadmill and to do p90 (1 not x) with 5lbs dumbbells which are getting too light for me. I'm thinking of doing the following as I quickly get bored.
Sun- stationary bicycle 1hr-2hr
Mon- p90 with 7.5lbs dumbbells and 1hr treadmill
Wed- strength machines, I need help here not sure which ones, and 1hr treadmill
Fri- repeat (mon)
Sat- elipitical 1hr-2hr
Not having much experience in strength training I'm not sure if this is right. I'd like to lose about 60 more pounds and build some muscle. I'm okay diet wise so I don't need advise there. If anyone could give me advise or suggestions I would greatly appreciate it.
In addition to answering your main question, I’d like to offer you some other ideas that may help you based on the details you provided. Based on the goals you mentioned - getting stronger and losing weight - I recommend primarily choosing exercises that work large muscle groups; this is whether you stick with machines or use free weights and/or other options. This could include exercises such as Chest Press, Seated Row, Overhead Press, Lat Pull Down, Leg Press, Hamstring Curls - mostly exercises that are multi-joint. Single joint exercises like arm curls and triceps extension have their place, but you will work those muscle groups when doing the multi-joint exercises anyway and you’ll see better continued progress with multi-joint exercises. They require more muscle action to complete the movement and thus more effectively help you burn more calories during, and after, your workout, a great benefit if you’re looking for additional weight loss.
The main advantages of machines are that they are easy to set up and use and (with exception) safe to use as well; but they certainly have some drawbacks. Free weights and particularly dumbbells would give you more overall options and be more beneficial for your weight loss long term. They offer a greater variety of exercise movements than do machines which helps not only with boredom but helps you progress past plateaus in your weight loss. When helping my own personal clients a combination of dumbbells and body weight exercises work very well.
I also see that you spend quite a bit of time doing cardiovascular exercise on your days off from weight training. There is nothing wrong with longer bouts of aerobic exercise if that is what you truly enjoy doing, or find that it has worked for you and/or you’ve been consistent with it. Alternatively you can trade duration for intensity. Often I have clients who normally have been working out on a piece of cardiovascular equipment for 60 minutes to at least slightly increase their intensity so they can do finish the same amount of work in 47 minutes. Going a step further you can try doing some interval training; bouts of hard effort (greater than your current intensities) and “active rest” (equal to your current intensities) during the same workout.
These shorter but more intense cardiovascular training sessions have many benefits - the obvious: burning more calories per unit of time than steady state aerobic exercise, plus increased EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) or in other words a higher more lengthy increase in metabolism - calorie burning - during the 24 hours after exercising, and lastly it should also help increase your aerobic capacity so when you do steady state cardiovascular workouts you’re able to maintain a higher intensity as well. Incorporating resistance training in conjunction with these shorter, more intense workouts and interval training could help boost your metabolism 10-15% over the long term which will accelerate weight loss and help maintain weight in the future.
I hope this is helpful. Good luck with your future endeavors and stay active!
Congratulations on your achievement! You should be very proud of yourself! Keep your efforts going and it gets easier, as you have seen.
I agree that working big muscle groups would be a benefit to you. My concern is that no one is available to show the proper way to use the machines at your new gym. Proper form is so important, and you will benefit more from the exercise if you are doing it correctly.
I'm cautious about advising you with a specific workout routine since I don't know your limitations/joint issues, etc, but in general you will benefit from some additional strength training in your program. While the machines are a great choice for something different, you may want to think about adding another day of strength training with the dumbbells. Exercises that use many muscle groups with the legs--such as a squat to overhead press, or lunge with a bicep curl-- will both build muscle and keep your heart rate up which will burn more calories. In addition, you are developing your core strength when utilizing the free weights.
One other suggestion you may want to consider is hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions just to show you proper form and set you up on a more specific program catered to your goals.
You are doing such a wonderful job! Again, congratulations and keep going!
Wow, congratulations on your success; keep up the great work.
You may use any machine that you are comfortable with and know how to use properly. If something does not feel right, do not use that machine.
I also agree with multi joint exercises instead of isolating a part of the body.
Doing weight lifting twice a week with two days rest in between would be great for now; using resistance that you can move anywhere from 15-25 times... that means you want to start with light weights.
I think it is an excellent idea to hire a personal trainer who can show you proper execution and answer all your questions to design the balanced workout for you and prevent injury... starting out with proper form is easier than breaking a bad habit of poor form.
The things that concern me, is that you mention jogging and you seem to do much cardio on one piece of equipment at a time, both of which can lead to overuse injuries. This is a good example to hire a personal trainer, to work together for your continued success in the safest way.
Once more, congratulations; you must be so happy and feel much better.
Keep working on those push ups and sit ups...safely, please.
NAPS 2 B Fit