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hedwards: I use dumbbells for my entire workout. And you can do an amazing amount. I personally own and recommend Men's Health Ultimate Dumbbell Guide by Myatt Murphy

He covers pretty much everything you could ever possibly want to know about working out with dumbbells.
Do you use a bench or gym ball for sitting/lying?

I had a gym ball, but found it didn't do any good for my form. There's too much pressure on stabilizing the core for me to properly concentrate on working on my target group. I'd like to get a bench but a solid one doesn't come cheap.
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michaelleung: I used to jog until I realized not jogging was more fun in the short run. Help me.
Trainers are bloody good if you can afford them, knowing that every appointment you miss costs you money is a good motivator to get off your arse and do what you know you have to
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hedwards: I use dumbbells for my entire workout. And you can do an amazing amount. I personally own and recommend Men's Health Ultimate Dumbbell Guide by Myatt Murphy

He covers pretty much everything you could ever possibly want to know about working out with dumbbells.
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lowyhong: Do you use a bench or gym ball for sitting/lying?

I had a gym ball, but found it didn't do any good for my form. There's too much pressure on stabilizing the core for me to properly concentrate on working on my target group. I'd like to get a bench but a solid one doesn't come cheap.
These days I use a bench, but that's purely because I found one for free. Before I got one I used to use a ball.

I'm not sure that the results are really any better with a bench. The main advantage I found with it is that there's a couple exercises that I can do with it that didn't really work with the ball. But they were hardly irreplaceable.
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michaelleung: I used to jog until I realized not jogging was more fun in the short run. Help me.
I began jogging when I had a bunch of exams coming up; I decided that if I had the time to procrastinate, I sure had the time to go for a jog every now and then. I had discovered earlier that week that there was a 4.5km (2.8mi) dirt track near where I live, which was rather helpful. It sucked at first but after a week or two I noticed that my lap times were tumbling. I usually go there three or four times a week, but I don't take it too seriously - a blizzard or heavy rain is reason enough to stay indoors.

I don't mind running, but I know that some people couldn't be arsed to get out of their flats, let alone on the dirt track, without a friend, so you might try that. Should motivate both of you.

Also, I have yet to hit the track with someone who can outrun me, not that I'm actively trying to find them. I noticed that I breathe in a different way than anyone I have ever ran with, and that they are the ones who run out of breath first. Basically, what I do is breathe through my nose for as long as I can. Depending on the conditions, this lets me cover between about 500 and 1200 metres (0.3 and 0.75mi). Then I just try to keep breathing in the same pace through my mouth. Anyone care to try it out and tell if it makes any difference for them?
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Cambrey: I love cardio exercises but my nutritionist told me to lift weight because I was losing too much muscle. It took me a while to like it and to adjust (for instance, I couldn't use those work out machines -too painful on my back and arms-, instead I now use dumbbells and I enjoy it much better).
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lowyhong: Make sure your technique is correct too. It is too easy to hyperextend your lower back, or work your shoulders when you should be doing your chest. Look up Google and Youtube for instructional videos and advice.
Those machines are terrible for you anyway. You get really "strong" but then when you have to actually lift something in real life you hurt yourself because you weren't working out all those little stabilizing muscles and such. Dumbbells are the best followed by barbell. This is personal opinion not meant to be construed as fact, but I'd be deeply surprised if most serious lifters didn't agree.
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michaelleung: I used to jog until I realized not jogging was more fun in the short run. Help me.
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Aliasalpha: Trainers are bloody good if you can afford them, knowing that every appointment you miss costs you money is a good motivator to get off your arse and do what you know you have to
Make a rule, if you didn't jog you don't get to do X (where X is something you'd normally do): go out with friends, have a beer, eat desert, whack off, use the internet, whatever, find the one that missing pisses you off enough that you'll go.

The trainer is a good idea too, if you can afford it, that is fine, the above is free.

EDIT: Obviously to michaelleung.
Post edited July 16, 2011 by orcishgamer
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lowyhong: Make sure your technique is correct too. It is too easy to hyperextend your lower back, or work your shoulders when you should be doing your chest. Look up Google and Youtube for instructional videos and advice.
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orcishgamer: Those machines are terrible for you anyway. You get really "strong" but then when you have to actually lift something in real life you hurt yourself because you weren't working out all those little stabilizing muscles and such. Dumbbells are the best followed by barbell. This is personal opinion not meant to be construed as fact, but I'd be deeply surprised if most serious lifters didn't agree.
Depends, but really, dumbbells, barbells, both are vastly superior to machines when properly used. I personally prefer dumbbells largely because of the more natural motion that they allow.

If you're in a gym, then there isn't any inherent reason not to use barbells, but otherwise it's probably not worth the cost unless one really needs the extra weight.

But, to your point, dumbbells are particularly good early on for ensuring that your muscle groups are balanced. It's impossible to use your good arm or leg to compensate for your weak arm or leg. And for many people there isn't really any reason to move on to barbells as you can get plenty strong just with 100lbs., or so worth of dumbbells.
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orcishgamer: Dumbbells are the best followed by barbell. This is personal opinion not meant to be construed as fact, but I'd be deeply surprised if most serious lifters didn't agree.
That's pretty much what the trainer at the gym center said to me.
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orcishgamer: Those machines are terrible for you anyway. You get really "strong" but then when you have to actually lift something in real life you hurt yourself because you weren't working out all those little stabilizing muscles and such. Dumbbells are the best followed by barbell. This is personal opinion not meant to be construed as fact, but I'd be deeply surprised if most serious lifters didn't agree.
It's true. I use dbs and bbs for most of my workouts, but working my posterior delts, I prefer using cable or lever. You can still use dumbbells for that purpose, but I find the movement to be too "free". It's very easy to do it wrongly, plus it just feels overall uncomfortable for me. Same with training your lats. You can probably do a standard db row, but it is all too easy to let gravity take over at times and round your upper back by accident. For these I prefer using the cable.
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hedwards: But, to your point, dumbbells are particularly good early on for ensuring that your muscle groups are balanced. It's impossible to use your good arm or leg to compensate for your weak arm or leg. And for many people there isn't really any reason to move on to barbells as you can get plenty strong just with 100lbs., or so worth of dumbbells.
Still gotta watch the form bro. The trainer at the gym I frequent - he's not big, nor does he even look moderately muscular (with clothes on), but damn he can execute a one-hand chin-up, and he has demonstrated the power of core muscles when it comes to lifting heavy (effortlessly yanked the entire stack of 200lbs on the cable machine with his core and lats). You can be doing db curls separately, one on each hand, and for your weaker hand, you may actually be compensating with hyperextending your back, so you end up with a weaker bicep at the end of the day.
Post edited July 16, 2011 by lowyhong
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lowyhong: Still gotta watch the form bro. The trainer at the gym I frequent - he's not big, nor does he even look moderately muscular (with clothes on), but damn he can execute a one-hand chin-up, and he has demonstrated the power of core muscles when it comes to lifting heavy (effortlessly yanked the entire stack of 200lbs on the cable machine with his core and lats). You can be doing db curls separately, one on each hand, and for your weaker hand, you may actually be compensating with hyperextending your back, so you end up with a weaker bicep at the end of the day.
That's not really compensating, that's doing the exercise wrong. If you can see a breach of form that serious it's no longer the correct exercise. Compensation isn't something that's going to be readily visible without looking closely.

Many times people do the exercise wrong because it's easier to do it that way than correctly. Just pay attention around the gym and I bet you'll find that of all the form infractions out there that the vast majority are ones that make the exercise easier. Bouncing or otherwise cheating the move.
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lowyhong: I use dbs and bbs for most of my workouts, but working my posterior delts, I prefer using cable or lever.
Actually, it's funny you mention that, I prefer a cable for lats too. It's mostly because I'm not confident in my form doing a DB row or something better. My back is so weak in comparison anyway, anything helps, I just want enough muscle back there to have better posture and counteract the 9-5 job that is basically sitting.
As an aside, here are a few of my favorite fitness links in case any of you are interested.

http://www.charlespoliquin.com/

http://www.scoobysworkshop.com/

http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/

http://www.alanaragon.com/

http://www.youtube.com/user/fatlosslifestyle
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hedwards: Many times people do the exercise wrong because it's easier to do it that way than correctly. Just pay attention around the gym and I bet you'll find that of all the form infractions out there that the vast majority are ones that make the exercise easier. Bouncing or otherwise cheating the move.
Exactly. I went from benching 80kg down to benching just the bar itself, after realizing my form's completely wrong. I used to always wonder why there are people in the gym who are buffed up but bench only 40kg.
To add on, there's http://www.exrx.net, the famous muscle/workout directory. Not really meant to be taken as a workout Bible, but it's good for referencing.
Post edited July 16, 2011 by lowyhong
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hedwards: Many times people do the exercise wrong because it's easier to do it that way than correctly. Just pay attention around the gym and I bet you'll find that of all the form infractions out there that the vast majority are ones that make the exercise easier. Bouncing or otherwise cheating the move.
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lowyhong: Exactly. I went from benching 80kg down to benching just the bar itself, after realizing my form's completely wrong. I used to always wonder why there are people in the gym who are buffed up but bench only 40kg.
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lowyhong: To add on, there's http://www.exrx.net, the famous muscle/workout directory. Not really meant to be taken as a workout Bible, but it's good for referencing.
Great site there, can be a good resource for "how in the world does this/that exercise work?"
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hedwards: Many times people do the exercise wrong because it's easier to do it that way than correctly. Just pay attention around the gym and I bet you'll find that of all the form infractions out there that the vast majority are ones that make the exercise easier. Bouncing or otherwise cheating the move.
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lowyhong: Exactly. I went from benching 80kg down to benching just the bar itself, after realizing my form's completely wrong. I used to always wonder why there are people in the gym who are buffed up but bench only 40kg.
That would be me. I forget what I used to bench, but it wasn't anywhere near as much as some other folks. Part of that was my obsessive fixation on form and part of that was that I'm at the slow twitch end of the spectrum, I can't lift as much as most folks can, but I can wear just about anybody down.

I'm also lucky enough to have long ligaments so when I'm really into my training I can get those nice popeye biceps.

I tend to suggest people just focus on themselves, what they can do and incrementally pushing themselves to lift more rather than worrying about what other folks are lifting. I'm skeptical that being able to bench a car is really as helpful as some folks think it is without real world strength gains. Which means the other muscles that one has also being strong.
Anyone else on Fitocracy, go ahead and tag yourselves with "GOG" so we can find you.

After using this site for a couple of days I'm convinced this is a good way to have a great social support circle for fitness without a lot of geographically close workout buddies. That is kickass. The whole leveling up thing is kind of cool too.

I really like this new area I've moved to, I end up walking 2 or more miles a day for the hell of it. That on top of a workout is probably really positive. I'm thinking about starting a beginning yoga class to meet a few other friends focused on fitness locally. I'd like to hit a couple mountain climbs in August or September if I have the stamina by then.

Incidentally, is my grip that freakishly strong? I blew the end of the scale off one of those grip measuring machines again today. It's not the first time and I've had doctors reset them because they thought they messed up, until I did it again. I think this machine stopped around 150. Is that really that much above normal for an adult male?
Post edited July 16, 2011 by orcishgamer