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  1. #1
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    Default Creating upper body strength from pretty much nothing

    I've never been athletic. I manage to stay at a healthy weight by eating well and leading a lifestyle that involves lots of walking. I tried running, once, and I went about it completely the wrong way, so I had no fun and gave up after a few months. But as of the day after tomorrow, I'm going to try again, Monday/Wednesday/Friday mornings, with my roommate. (I bought running shorts and everything!)

    This anticipated change in lifestyle got me thinking about my lack of upper body strength, since my day-to-day physical activity is lower body only. I figure, since I'm making this big change in terms of lower body strength and aerobic exercise, I might as well fix this other problem too. (Maybe I could go to the gym on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and pump some iron.)

    So... if you have absolutely zero upper body strength, how do you go about trying to create it? I can't do real push-ups (only girl ones), and I'm pretty horrible at sit-ups too. I also have extremely limited knowledge of gym equipment, and -- most importantly -- how to use it over time, and how to check your progress with weights etc. Again, I'm essentially starting from nothing, so I have no gym experience, and, frankly, no idea what it feels like to have a fit upper body.
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    EJCC: "The Big Questions in my life right now: 1) What am I willing to live with? 2) What do I have to live with? 3) What can I change for the better?"
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  2. #2
    Reptilian Snuggletron's Avatar
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    Try the upper body exercises out of the core 7 (Bench press, rows, dips, pull-ups). These are compound exercises and hit lots of major muscles. If you're uncomfortable with these, you could try free weights. As always, try to learn and keep good form, as this is most important. Try to lift the heaviest you can in good form for 10 repetitions. I tend to do 3-5 sets with each exercise, with ~minute-long breaks in between. Eat more food with complete proteins. Also, to gain muscle you'll want to eat at least 1x your body weight in grams of protein (So, if you weigh 130 lbs you'll want to take in at least 130g of protein a day). Consider whey protein supplements, because it can be difficult getting enough protein to gain muscle mass.

  3. #3
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    Girly push ups are still effective, fyi.


    And can be done anywhere with anything!


    Except maybe with dignity. Lolz. Jk. I'd make a bad (good?) trainer.

  4. #4
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    I think starting with those girly push-ups and then progressing onto more stereotypical ones could work.

    I mean any exercise is exercise even if it isn't the most efficient and you have to start somewhere.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

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  5. #5
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    You want rest days between workouts. Also, weights before cardio.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  6. #6
    Supreme High Commander Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    I've never been athletic. I manage to stay at a healthy weight by eating well and leading a lifestyle that involves lots of walking. I tried running, once, and I went about it completely the wrong way, so I had no fun and gave up after a few months. But as of the day after tomorrow, I'm going to try again, Monday/Wednesday/Friday mornings, with my roommate. (I bought running shorts and everything!)

    This anticipated change in lifestyle got me thinking about my lack of upper body strength, since my day-to-day physical activity is lower body only. I figure, since I'm making this big change in terms of lower body strength and aerobic exercise, I might as well fix this other problem too. (Maybe I could go to the gym on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and pump some iron.)

    So... if you have absolutely zero upper body strength, how do you go about trying to create it? I can't do real push-ups (only girl ones), and I'm pretty horrible at sit-ups too. I also have extremely limited knowledge of gym equipment, and -- most importantly -- how to use it over time, and how to check your progress with weights etc. Again, I'm essentially starting from nothing, so I have no gym experience, and, frankly, no idea what it feels like to have a fit upper body.
    If you feel that the social factor is going to help you stick with your new program, I should talk to your room mates and see if they want to join you for a bit of upper body work. My advice is to forget the gym, buy your own free wights for at home. They are a lot cheaper and more convinient, especially when you are just starting off. You can get together with your friends and experiment with what works. There is a lot you can do with just a set of dumbells and the variable resistance can be a good way of gaging progress. Pick a weight you handle for about 8 reps initially, keep training till you can do 12 then put the weight up a bit, taking you back down to 8 or so.
    Don't make whine out of sour grapes.

  7. #7
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    I'm doing P90, which has some yoga mixed in; one day cardio, one day toning. There's push-ups in the toning set; they can be effective along with the others.... and yes I do the pushups with my knees on the ground rather than the toes right now, I can't do them otherwise. (I have trouble even with these.) But I put on muscle from it and can do more than when I started. There's a set of normal pushups, a set of wide pushups, and then a set with some wide, some narrow, and some normal. I'm also using the exercise band for all the other toning exercises and noticed improvements in capability over a month's time without putting on visually a bunch of muscle.

    The bands have been effective. I think free weights are better than machines because you have to keep the weight steady when doing them, which builds additional tone in other muscles. If you don't have any strength, you should be able to buy dumbbells that are sufficient right now to tax your muscles. I think the discipline to stay on schedule with the routine is the hardest part. Self-discipline and all that.
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  8. #8
    Sweet Ocean Cloud SD45T-2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    I've never been athletic. I manage to stay at a healthy weight by eating well and leading a lifestyle that involves lots of walking. I tried running, once, and I went about it completely the wrong way, so I had no fun and gave up after a few months. But as of the day after tomorrow, I'm going to try again, Monday/Wednesday/Friday mornings, with my roommate. (I bought running shorts and everything!)

    This anticipated change in lifestyle got me thinking about my lack of upper body strength, since my day-to-day physical activity is lower body only. I figure, since I'm making this big change in terms of lower body strength and aerobic exercise, I might as well fix this other problem too. (Maybe I could go to the gym on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and pump some iron.)

    So... if you have absolutely zero upper body strength, how do you go about trying to create it? I can't do real push-ups (only girl ones), and I'm pretty horrible at sit-ups too. I also have extremely limited knowledge of gym equipment, and -- most importantly -- how to use it over time, and how to check your progress with weights etc. Again, I'm essentially starting from nothing, so I have no gym experience, and, frankly, no idea what it feels like to have a fit upper body.
    Back before my health went in the crapper, I had 3 different routines that I did twice a week. For example, Monday and Thursday were for biceps, forearms, abs, back, and traps. Tuesdays and Fridays were for pecks, delts, triceps. Wednesdays and Saturdays were for leg stuff. I also did jogging a cycling for cardio. This is probably beyong what you had in mind, and I don't think you're doing wrestling either.

    At any rate, I'm sure Halla would be happy to give you adivce.
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  9. #9
    mrs disregard's Avatar
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    Two words Free weights

    And push ups

    And leg lifts abs

  10. #10
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    Perhaps it's best to do something you love and have a long term goal within it that would require many smaller improvements.

    Like competitive dancing would provide a long-term goal, competitions would provide milestones and social factor, and a step to that would be doing weights for body strength, not for itself but as a step towards winning your next competition.

    Now replace dancing with something else that you feel is worthy of dedicating the next 20 years to. Fencing? Surfing? Whatever. You are an ESTJ, you prolly would love the long-term goal and structured competitions.

    EDIT: It would be kind of like a part of who you are as an individual, rather than a cumbersome routine you need to do for some fleeting goal of looking good or whatever where you'll feel like you are working instead of having fun!

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