From Exercise Machines To Free Weights

machine free weights

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and there is good stuff.

Very often in gym’s advertisements, we watch a lot of high-tech machines to do exercises and the free weight zone is a small hidden room.

What I see in my gym, it’s people start their training with a little bit cardio and they use machines. They do this because it’s easier and this look more secure. Unfortunately, this is not the reality. The Matrix trap us with these machines.

Attention : If you have a medical prescription or you need to use machines for a special reason, continue to follow your training program prescribed by your doctor or physiotherapist.

Why

why

The truth is that machines force muscles and joints to make movements that aren’t natural.

Machines force your body to move weights in a single pattern (up – down or left – right). Our bodies naturally don’t move like it, this is the problem. Movements or our bodies aren’t straight lines, it’s rather « S ». The result is that machines develop our muscles in a way that isn’t balanced and they endanger our joints and spine.

Like you can see, machines don’t put your body in safety and in addition, they don’t work your stabilizing muscles. Don’t work stabilizing muscles is very bad for everyday activities.

When you bent forward to take something on the floor, you body use a dozen and a dozen muscles at the same time. But since you no longer work your stabilizing muscles because of machines, your muscles don’t know how to work together so your body uses a muscle.

Study case

« Smith Machine » is famous to do squat in safety so it protects your back. Lie ! This machine is perfect to destroy your back and compressed your spine because this machine force your body to move only up and down. The real squat allow to do the fundamental movement and when you do it, you notice that your body doesn’t do a straight line from up to down. With the real squat you do a natural movement.

Do exercise with weight or with bodyweight is more efficient to burn calories than machines.

Full body

full body

All exercises classified in 2 categories : pull and push

I remember, I did a full body training program for 1 year before lift weight. This is what my Taekwondo’s teacher advised me and he was right (wow, Korean wisdom). A full body training program, 3 times per week is more efficient than a machines training program, 5-6 times per week for beginners. If you want to train more, you can do Tai-Chi or walking during rest days.

Full body is important

With full body, you learn to each body’s muscle to work together, you synchronize you body. This is allow you to be healthy, avoid using too much a muscle and avoid injury due to a weak stabilizing muscle. To maximize your body, eat healthy and you’ll burn more fat, build muscle and build a body of which you’re proud.

What is great with a full body training program, it’s when you skip a training day, it doesn’t matter. You’ll not have certain muscle more developed than any others because each training session work all body’s muscles

Bodyweight (full body)

bodyweight training

Mastering basics movements with bodyweight is perfect to prepare you for a training with weights.

It’s primitive movements therefore natural that allow you to become stronger without material.

The best example are gymnasts. Look gymnasts body, it’s amazing, impressive and the majority of their training are with bodyweight exercises.

Basic exercises

  • Push = push up, dips, handstands

  • Pull = pull up, body rows

  • Legs = bodyweight squat, pistols squats, lunges, box jumps

For each exercise, you do 2-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions.

No it’s too simple  ! => Do this training program and if it’s too easy, increase the difficulty. You can do push up with one hand or pull up with one hand (like my friend Inti). You can also add more set ou repetition.

No it’s too difficult => Do this training program and if it’s too difficult, decrease the difficulty. You can do sets of 3 repetitions. The principle is you progress to do 4 sets of 10 repetitions. Take your time but be regular.

No I want abs => When you do squat, push up and pull up, you keep your core tight and by this way you work your abs. But if you want to do an exercise specially for abs, you can to plank and side plank.

Strength training (full body)

strength training

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman, dumbbells and barbells are your friends.

Basic exercise

  • Push = Bench press, Overhead Press

  • Pull = Deadlift, Bent Over Row

  • Legs = Squat, Deadlift

For each exercise, you do 2-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions.

No I don’t like squat => Do you think squat is an useless exercise ? I advise you to read the book of Mark Rippetoe. If you seriously want to train, this book is for you !

No I afraid of weights => Don’t panic. Most people in free weights section are too busy to look at themselves in the mirror, they will not look at you. You can use a barbell or dumbbells for each exercise to improve your pure strength. I advise you dumbbells.

No I’m afraid of being ridiculous => Everybody don’t care if you life a dumbbell of 4kg (8.8lbs) or you squat 181kg (400lbs) because everybody struggle to do their training program. Forget people, stay focus and do you training program until the end.

But if I do bad => At the beginning use light weight to do movements with the good form, the good technique. When you’ll stronger, you’ll can add weight slowly each week to reach your limit. You can hire a personal trainer for 1-2 sessions to learn and improve basic exercises techniques or form.

No I want only lose weight => It’s simple, you do basic exercises and you eat less. The training is the same for lose weight or gain muscle. It’s diet that make the difference ! It’s a science :

  • Eat more calories than you burn = gain weight

  • Eat less calories than you burn = lose weight

Your physical condition, it’s 80 % diet and 20 % training. If you want bulk, you need to have a specific diet to do this.

Track and adjust slowly your training program and your diet to see your progress.

No matter what you do, don’t be afraid of the free weight zone. Remember than 90 % of people inside are focus to do their exercises by looking in the mirror therefore don’t worry. Do your exercices, become better and become stronger.

What do you feel when you train with free weights ?

-Steph

Do You Want To Build Your Body Naturally ?

katniss eerdeen daniel craig

Ah ! You want to look like Katrnis Everdeen, Daniel Craig and Captain America. And immediately like Homer Simpson !

You’re in luck because there will always be magazines, products and supplements that promise you that you can have this body type in a few weeks/months. But you have no chance because the reality is not that. You can have these results, yes, after devoting time, energy, effort, discipline and dedication.

You wonder how to get there ? Most people think it’s necessary to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time to become a superhero. I talked about it in this article.

If you read the article, you know that my recommendations are to start to lose fat and then gain muscle. I’ll talk about it today and if you’re a very thin person, this article will help you.

My recommendations:

  • Lift heavy, gradually lift heavy

  • Include squat, deadlift and compound movements in your workout program

  • Sleep as much as possible

  • Eating more calories especially training days with a lots of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables.

  • Repeat month after month after month after month after month

  • When you doubt, eat more than you think

  • If you gained too much fat, reduces carbohydrate calories on non-training days.

For skinny people, you’ll have to struggle to eat more because you don’t eat enough. By eating more you’ll build muscle and add fat. After a few weeks, you can lose fat if you notice that your bodyfat percentage continues to rise.

« And Steph, I have a problem, I can’t go to the gym ! Can I gain muscle with bodyweight exercises ? »

bodyweight workout

Hear me well, you can gain muscle with bodyweight exercises, gymnasts trains mostly like that. But it will be damn hard like Metal Gear at the most difficult level, especially for your legs. If you want to gain muscle as fast as possible, it’s almost a requirement to have a barbell for squat and deadlift.

This world isn’t a Disney movie and there’s something important, genetics – there are people who are naturally thin, people who gain fat easily or gaining muscle easily. In all cases we must struggle to get results (those earning muscle easily, at the first plateau, they stagnate and cry !). Each has its genetic and we can do our best to fight in this battle but for some people the struggle will be harder than others.

« And Steph, I want more muscle but not too much »

marc fitt dennis wolf

miss bikini fitness female bodybuilder

You see, this question comes from people who are just starting a workout program, especially girls.

The unknown is scary and we’re afraid to do somethings if we don’t know how our bodies will react. Added mainstream magazine that say « lift light weights to tone arms ! » and you imagine quickly if you lift heavy weights, you will become like Hulk.

The truth: If you want to become like Hulk chose training that matches, that means: a hypertrophy training (increase muscle size), have a superior genetics, taking steroids, eat like a horse and focus on nothing except the muscle size for YEARS. If you don’t want to be like Hulk, you will not be like Hulk. Don’t do these things above, it’s simple.

It’s true that from a genetic point of view, there are people who gain muscle more quickly than others, but this is not a radical difference. It’s people who are very thin and have a fast metabolism who ask this question. Once they gain 18-22kg (40-50lbs) of muscle and fat, they’ll soon realize that their body is much better and they will never think to ask this question again.

-Steph