1. #1
    Stood in the Fire BlackPyramid's Avatar
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    3 Questions about working out

    Hey there. I'm doing a bit of strength exercises, 40 minutes 4 times a week, my equipment is my body, some furniture and a pair of dumbbells, I try to eat well ...

    My goal is to put on some more visible muscle and gain strength, however I'm not in a hurry with the muscle-thing, so if I get some strength - and the muscle in the long run - I'll be happy. My problems/questions are:

    1. Should I do my exercises as fast as possible (still in a good form) or should I take my time? Does it depend on the exercise? (i.e. doing pushups with 2 seconds down, 1 second hold, 2 seconds up should be better for me, but is this also true for biceps curls?)

    2. How long should I rest between sets?

    3. I do 15 reps/3 sets for most of the exercises, are there muscle groups I should train with a different number of sets/reps?
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  2. #2
    These are really general questions that can change depending on your overall goals/type of exercise, but to answer them as best as I can with the info provided...

    1) Generally, don't do it too fast. You don't want to start swinging it and just lifting with the swing. Hold it in place for a second or so.

    2) Whatever feels right. A minute, two minutes? No longer than five minutes I'd say.

    3) It really depends what your overall goal is. "More reps+smaller weights" will give you a different end product from "Less reps+bigger weights". What exercises are you doing? Does it feel like you should be doing more reps? If you're not pushing yourself hard enough then increase the weight so that 15 reps exhausts you.

    But honestly I hate posting any tips about bodybuilding because everyone has a different opinion on what works and everyone has their own myths and truths. Just do what feels right, push yourself. (Saying this because of this argument I found on google about reps: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...2714463&page=1)
    Last edited by vizzle; 2013-06-16 at 05:03 PM.
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  3. #3
    Stood in the Fire BlackPyramid's Avatar
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    Thank you for the input, I know that in the end it depends on your preferences and approach, but I don't always know if the things I could change are changes for the better and it's not like I would get immediate feedback, so I ask instead. :x

    I'm 1,90m (6'2") and 81kg (178,5 lbs) with ~15% bodyfat atm and I wouldn't like to gain more than 5kg of muscle (which would be my absolute limit).

    I'm doing push-ups, "bicycle crunches", leg raises, dumbbell bench press/flyes, standing dumbbell press, biceps curls, stuff like this.

    I'm rarely sore after working out, but I reach my limit with most exercises at 15 reps for each side. Is this a bad sign?
    Last edited by BlackPyramid; 2013-06-16 at 05:40 PM.
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    So all vegans want to kill animals.

  4. #4
    Brewmaster durrtygoodz's Avatar
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    5 sets of 5 = strength
    3 sets of 8 = hypertrophy

    If you want to get big and strong eat lots and lift heavy. As for rest, 2-3 usually. Depends on what muscle your doing though. Some muscles recover quicker than others.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by durrtygoodz View Post
    If you want to get fat and strong eat lots and lift heavy. As for rest, 2-3 usually. Depends on what muscle your doing though. Some muscles recover quicker than others.
    Corrected this for you. The eat big to get big myth is just that, a myth. All it ends up doing is making you fat.

    To answer your questions it really depends. From my standpoint I'd answer like this..

    1. You want to maintain good form regardless of speed but you don't want to go to fast. I go slow as it really works your muscles more than going fast. Raising a weight is harder the slower you go.

    2. Between reps I have no rest, as soon as you go down with 1 rep you start rep 2. I rest 45 seconds in between each set and I rest 1-2 minutes in between each exercise. The goal is to keep your heart rate up throughout your entire workout and this is done by not resting too much. Not being sore as you said is a good thing but you want to fatigue your muscles which it sounds like you are.

    3. I don't believe there is any difference in terms of how many sets/reps you should do. The only difference is that you can lift heavier weights with different/stronger muscle groups. For example, lateral raises (shoulder exercise) I can only do about 15 pounds at 5*5. But bicep curls I can do 40 pounds at 8*5. So really just vary the weight and reps as opposed to the number of sets. You could do that too, really it amounts to the same thing. If you do 15 reps for 5 sets with 10 pounds or 15 reps for 3 sets at 20 pounds it is fairly similar.

  6. #6
    Stood in the Fire BlackPyramid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightZero88 View Post
    -snip-
    Thank you, that helped me a lot. :x

    One last question. What about exercises where my only option to make them more challenging is doing them slower or with more reps? (like this) Do I still gain strength and some volume from it or only stamina and should I do another exercise? I know that I inevitably have to change the exercises at some point. :x
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    If eggs are non vegetarian ejalculation is genocide.
    Quote Originally Posted by Elim Garak View Post
    So all vegans want to kill animals.

  7. #7
    Field Marshal shamozzle's Avatar
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    dont eat more or less, eat smarter and/or healthier
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by BlackPyramid View Post
    Thank you, that helped me a lot. :x

    One last question. What about exercises where my only option to make them more challenging is doing them slower or with more reps? (like this) Do I still gain strength and some volume from it or only stamina and should I do another exercise? I know that I inevitably have to change the exercises at some point. :x
    With an exercise like a superman all you can do is add reps and sets to it. Those are more toning then strengthening. For example, push-ups, they do build muscle but they're not as good as lifting. If you want to add weight to a superman you could try holding a light dumbbell in your arms and adding weights to your legs. I'm not sure if I'd advise this though as it could put strain on your body so I'd recommend just using more reps/sets.

    If you want to build muscle you will really need to start going to a gym where you can use a machine/weights. Doing push-ups/supermans/etc will only take you so far. I just re-read your original post and saw that you have dumbbells which is good but you'll need more equipment sooner or later. I am personally running into this issue because I just use the fitness center in my apartment but it's not very good. I like the convenience of it being close enough to walk to though.

  9. #9
    Brewmaster durrtygoodz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightZero88 View Post
    Corrected this for you. The eat big to get big myth is just that, a myth. All it ends up doing is making you fat.
    No, its a fact. To gain muscle to need to be eating at least 500 calories above maintanance. If you're eating less you won't get the progress you desire.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by durrtygoodz View Post
    No, its a fact. To gain muscle to need to be eating at least 500 calories above maintanance. If you're eating less you won't get the progress you desire.
    Please link me your scientific study proving this. Because it certainly is NOT true.

    "Requirements
    Because the human body is designed to sacrifice muscle when losing weight as a survival mechanism, only a certain body type will permit the simultaneous growth of muscle and loss of overall mass. If you're significantly overweight, your body may be able to support increased muscle mass even on a caloric deficit, provided it has less fat to maintain. If you're relatively lean and/or muscular, however, it is much more difficult for your body to increase muscle mass while experiencing a caloric deficit." [Source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/36...ixzz2WlBZ3Kx7]

    Note it says much more difficult but not impossible.

  11. #11
    I have no idea why people with no knowledge on the subject always choses to go on about and give so bad advice, anyway to first answer the OP

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackPyramid View Post
    Hey there. I'm doing a bit of strength exercises, 40 minutes 4 times a week, my equipment is my body, some furniture and a pair of dumbbells, I try to eat well ...

    My goal is to put on some more visible muscle and gain strength, however I'm not in a hurry with the muscle-thing, so if I get some strength - and the muscle in the long run - I'll be happy. My problems/questions are:

    1. Should I do my exercises as fast as possible (still in a good form) or should I take my time? Does it depend on the exercise? (i.e. doing pushups with 2 seconds down, 1 second hold, 2 seconds up should be better for me, but is this also true for biceps curls?)

    2. How long should I rest between sets?

    3. I do 15 reps/3 sets for most of the exercises, are there muscle groups I should train with a different number of sets/reps?
    1. Nobody seem to have hit the nail on this, if your primary goal is strength then there are a few effective ways to go about it. As you don't have much equipment there are only a few suitable ways to gain strength beyond endurance at the point where you can take x amount of reps. Explosive work, plyometric training. During the concentric phase of the exercise, move the weight as fast as possible, this should be below a second, while stile maintaining proper form, return to start position in good time too. This goes to on to question number two as well, you shouldn't exhaust yourself by doing this. Do 3-5 reps, and keep rest time no longer than 60-90 seconds

    3. 15 reps is too many for almost any muscle. Untill you do more advanced training, i would suggest keeping between 5-12 reps. Do lower reps on the big lifts and higher on isolation exercises.

    Just to explain the concept of explosive training for strength, it's physics. Let's say you do 50kg during a lift, do move the weight, you need to exert a force greater than that, perhaps 55kg to move it at the desired pace. This means, your muscle exert that amount of force, and thats the strength your CNS adapts to. To move the weight faster, you need your muscles to exert more force onto the weight. To beautiful, or sad thing about this is, your muscles doing explosive work can exert more force than when carrying something heavier. Your muscles might be able to give off about 80kg in a peak, but you might still fail if you lifed 80kg. But doing to explosive work lets your muscles adapt. Very simplified explanation, this technique works best in combination with heavy training, but it's still the best if your not able to get heavy equipment.

    Quote Originally Posted by NightZero88 View Post
    Corrected this for you. The eat big to get big myth is just that, a myth. All it ends up doing is making you fat.
    False.

    Quote Originally Posted by durrtygoodz View Post
    No, its a fact. To gain muscle to need to be eating at least 500 calories above maintanance. If you're eating less you won't get the progress you desire.
    False to an extent. 250 calories or 500 calories, you will make progress either way. More calories will give more muscles to a certain threshold, but also more fat.

    Quote Originally Posted by NightZero88 View Post
    Please link me your scientific study proving this. Because it certainly is NOT true.

    "Requirements
    Because the human body is designed to sacrifice muscle when losing weight as a survival mechanism, only a certain body type will permit the simultaneous growth of muscle and loss of overall mass. If you're significantly overweight, your body may be able to support increased muscle mass even on a caloric deficit, provided it has less fat to maintain. If you're relatively lean and/or muscular, however, it is much more difficult for your body to increase muscle mass while experiencing a caloric deficit." [Source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/36...ixzz2WlBZ3Kx7]

    Note it says much more difficult but not impossible.
    I love your link, livestrong is the strongest broscience place around. They state alot of information that aren't even mentioned in their references, they need to stop extrapolate alot of information that doesn't exist. No study has ever shown that trained subjects can gain muscle while losing weight. It's Physiology 101. Your body won't start wasting resources on building muscle when it is already stopping or lowering certain metabolic processes to adapt the lowered calorie consumption.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Labze View Post
    I love your link, livestrong is the strongest broscience place around. They state alot of information that aren't even mentioned in their references, they need to stop extrapolate alot of information that doesn't exist. No study has ever shown that trained subjects can gain muscle while losing weight. It's Physiology 101. Your body won't start wasting resources on building muscle when it is already stopping or lowering certain metabolic processes to adapt the lowered calorie consumption.
    What? You mean internet articles aren't refereed, double-blind control studies?

    Gotta love people asking for scientific studies then referencing something that clearly isn't a scientific study.

  13. #13
    If you have questions and are new to exercising, I would suggest buying "The Men's Health Big Book of Exercises". It's not expensive, gives you options for each body part and has a lot of info on the exact questions you're asking.

    I started it about 6 weeks ago and can see improvement already.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Projali View Post
    What? You mean internet articles aren't refereed, double-blind control studies?

    Gotta love people asking for scientific studies then referencing something that clearly isn't a scientific study.
    What? From the given link:

    "Protein Requirements
    While a caloric deficit implies that you're eating less food overall, it is possible to increase your protein intake during a caloric deficit by adjusting your diet to include more protein-rich foods. To succeed in building muscle and losing weight simultaneously, consume 1.6 g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight daily. To meet this goal, you'll likely have to rely heavily on protein sources, such as meat, fish, beans, eggs and tofu. You may also consider a powdered protein supplement."

    Although they state this, none of the studies that they use as reference has come to this conclusion, or even investigated this.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by NightZero88 View Post
    Corrected this for you. The eat big to get big myth is just that, a myth. All it ends up doing is making you fat.
    You are right that eating big does indeed make you put on plenty of fat. I'll give you that.

    However, it also does significantly improve muscle gains. Being on a caloric surplus increases your rate of muscle growth much more than it would be if you were on a caloric deficit. Your diet also consists of much more quantities of all the essential nutrients. This is called dirty-bulking, and is one of the best ways to put on muscle fast if you don't care about your bodyfat, and couldn't be bothered to eat smart. Not ideal, yes, but it works.

  16. #16
    I found this information and approach useful: http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/optimal-workout-volume/

    Read the follow ons on sets & reps. General idea is that it's first a question of how many total repetitions you do per muscle per week, then you want to divide that into a reps-per-set breakdown that works for your goals.

    And the number of sets/reps you're doing atm are very high. I'd roughly halve that, increase the weight slightly & do it two to three times a week.

    As far as speed goes, focus much more on control & feeling the target muscle working than worrying about fast versus slow.

    "At a moderate pace" is not a bad thing. People have made arguments for both fast & slow, and they quite likely have something to them depending on your goals, but it's hard to go wrong with "moderate but controlled".

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Labze View Post
    Although they state this, none of the studies that they use as reference has come to this conclusion, or even investigated this.
    I was agreeing with you. The person you quoted asked someone for scientific evidence of their claim and then linked a pretty shoddy article as his evidence for his claims.

  18. #18
    Dreadlord
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightZero88 View Post
    Please link me your scientific study proving this. Because it certainly is NOT true.

    "Requirements
    Because the human body is designed to sacrifice muscle when losing weight as a survival mechanism, only a certain body type will permit the simultaneous growth of muscle and loss of overall mass. If you're significantly overweight, your body may be able to support increased muscle mass even on a caloric deficit, provided it has less fat to maintain. If you're relatively lean and/or muscular, however, it is much more difficult for your body to increase muscle mass while experiencing a caloric deficit." [Source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/36...ixzz2WlBZ3Kx7]

    Note it says much more difficult but not impossible.
    Yes its possible, but its also not reccomended with his current stats. He is fairly light for the height he has. He should eat a lot and gain some mass before cutting down(or do a leangains approach).

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Projali View Post
    I was agreeing with you. The person you quoted asked someone for scientific evidence of their claim and then linked a pretty shoddy article as his evidence for his claims.
    Ah, sorry my bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Velaniz View Post
    You are right that eating big does indeed make you put on plenty of fat. I'll give you that.

    However, it also does significantly improve muscle gains. Being on a caloric surplus increases your rate of muscle growth much more than it would be if you were on a caloric deficit. Your diet also consists of much more quantities of all the essential nutrients. This is called dirty-bulking, and is one of the best ways to put on muscle fast if you don't care about your bodyfat, and couldn't be bothered to eat smart. Not ideal, yes, but it works.
    All comes down to the definition of eating big. Being in a caloric surplus is primarily not about increasing the rate of muscle growth, its the only way. Only when your in a caloric surplus will the muscle protein synthesis be bigger than the muscle protein breakdown.
    (Muscle protein Synthesis - Muscle Protein Breakdown = Net sum of gained or lost muscle).

    Your definition of dirty bulk is wrong. What your talking is about is a normal bulk. Dirty bulk includes eating lots of junk food to gain a huge caloric surplus, like 1000 or bigger. McD, Pizza, Soda and other calorie dense foods are usually common in this type of bulking, as well as very large quantities of other foods.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Labze View Post
    Your definition of dirty bulk is wrong. What your talking is about is a normal bulk. Dirty bulk includes eating lots of junk food to gain a huge caloric surplus, like 1000 or bigger. McD, Pizza, Soda and other calorie dense foods are usually common in this type of bulking, as well as very large quantities of other foods.
    Heh. It's hardly a scientifically defined term. In the bro-science circle I hail from, dirty bulking simply means to eat plenty - without regard for the sum total of nutrients you consume, with no guidelines at all. As long as things go into your system on a regular basis.

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