Mom to 3yr old *E* and stepmom to 10 yr old *M*
1. Squats are a VERY difficult exercise to master. I would definitely work with someone who knows what they are doing and who can give you feedback on your form before you try to do any serious kind of weight. Small errors with small weights can turn into major injury later on. It might even be a good idea to just squat with no weight in front of a mirror to get a sense of form, or to do Swissball squats. If you want to get really hi-tech, it wouldn't hurt to have someone take a picture of you doing a squat (you can do this at home) to see whether or not you're not doing any of the big no-no's (rounding your lower back, letting your knees drift way over your toes or out of line with your toes, letting your knees cave inwards, etc.).
For the record, I speak as someone who has never squatted due to bad knee problems. I'm hoping to squat in the near future, so I've been reading up. :)
2. Some of the same principles apply to the other compound movements you are doing -- let your muscles and connective tissue get used to the movements and range of motion you are doing at a VERY low weight or no weight at all. If this is the first time you are doing some of these exercises, you might very well feel sore the next day simply because your body needs to adapt. Don't worry about how much weight you can lift -- just concentrate on doing everything in a controlled motion with good form, and you'll be amazed at how quickly you go up! (This means that for some exercises (e.g. bench press) you might want to start with lighter dumbbells before you tackle the 45-lb bar.) I started on machines, and when I switched to free weights (only about a month ago) I was amazed at how much I had to lower the weight just to learn the movement properly. And I could still feel it the next day!
3. In general, work out larger muscle groups before smaller ones. Otherwise you run the risk of fatiguing smaller supporting muscles before you do more complicated lifts. Since the bench press uses your anterior deltoids (front of your shoulder), you should do that before you do the shoulder press.
4. Jen gave me this advice on one-armed rows (these are SUCH a good exercise for the back. They're my new favorite!) -- before you start to lift the weight, pinch your shoulder blades together and keep them that way through the entire set. Also focus on lifting to your hip more than to your chest. This helps to ensure that you are doing more of the lifting with the back muscles that you are trying to target, and not with your arms.
5. Be sure to start some kind of journal so you can record useful info and details -- not just how much weight you lifted, but where you had problems, if you had any pain, how it felt the next day, etc. Over time, you should get better at recognizing at what works for you and what doesn't.
That's my two cents. If you do this full body workout 3 times a week, you will definitely see improvements. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
I think you are the one who recommended Krista's site to me and it was a godsend! That site is absolutely AWESOME!! I have been searching for weeks/months for something to no avail. Finally I now have that awesome website! I am passing it along to all of my friends today! :) Thanks again! ~N
We drove to Greece this weekend and hiked Mt. Olympus. We weren't able to summit since you have to stay in a hostel halfway up and we called too late (it was booked). So we hiked from the starting point at 1100 m. up to the hostel at 2100 meters. It wasn't rigorous in terms of technique, but it was four hours of constant climbing, with only three short (< 2 mins) flat sections. At first I tried to keep up with my runner friends, but when I clocked my heart rate at 220 (!!!) I slowed way down and took it at my own pace. It was a gorgeous hike, though. We're going to go back at the end of August and try to summit -- we booked the hostel already.
So my new goal is to work on my CV fitness. In the olden days, I think my muscles would get fatigued so early that I didn't notice how CV unfit I was. This time, my legs were fine during the hike, although my knees were killing me on the way down (two and a half hours of going down, down, down, down... ow). Instead I was totally out of breath and, like I said, way above my max heart rate at times. I ended up leapfrogging half the climb with a German woman who was in her 50s and a smoker. I figure two months of really focusing on cardio should help get me to the point where I could keep up with a non-smoker. :) I guess I really needed the incentive!
It's great to hear that you've enjoyed Krista's site. I found it completely by accident and she instantly converted me. I find myself reading it almost every time I go to the gym, for little nuggets of information. I had been doing weights kind of half-heartedly beforehand, using mostly the machines. Between her site and this board, I have learned SO much and I can definitely see the improvements.
Just a quick word -- you will almost definitely have trouble with a barbell bench press if you're just starting out (unless you are one of those women who are really strong through their upper body, in which case I hate you already). Try it with dumbbells first.
Another good site is www.exrx.net for lists of exercises that target each muscle group and little videos showing how they are performed. I trust Krista more when it comes to really detailed form advice, though.
On squats, you need to be careful on these, espcially if you have bad knees. When my knees are bothering me, I'll turn my knees and feet out a little, like a ballet plie. You don't get gluts, but it's easier on the knees and back. Do you (shesmine) have someone you can ask about form at the gym? Little things make all the difference, esp. w/ things like lat pull downs. I think it's important to start with good form and it's hard to see it yourself. If you look around, you'll see more people lifting incorrectly than correctly and that can lead to a lot of problems.
Vanessa, Yes it was a freak accident and it was a very painful recovery. :( No good at all! As far as upper body strength, LMAO girl you should see how weak I am! I will have to try the hand weights first b/c there isn't a light bar in the weight room. Just like that 45lb bar which I would be lucky to raise 1 inch! LOL Thanks ladies! ~N
Of course, I'm feeling it already when I reach down for the puppy! LOL, what a neat feeling. So, my plans? Workout like a fiend until Friday, and go see League of Extroidinary Gentlemen without any guilt for missing a workout day:)
Co-author of: MONSTER'S INK HORROR ANTHOLOGY By Cyber-Pulp Press