Strength training tips part deux

Welcome to Friday! Regarding the Wordless Wednesday post from, errr,  Thursday…. Ever have those days where you think it is a day that it actually is not? Raising hand here. I had that all yesterday. Hence the post. At least I now know it is Friday, though! Yay!

I headed out for my lifting session today. I am totally ditching any isolation arm exercises except for shoulder now because they just don’t need the extra work.

Exercise Set/rep/weight Muscle worked
Barbell Squat 1 set of 10 at 55#

2 sets of 10 at 65#

Lower Body
Dumbbell Pull Over 3 sets of 8 with 30# DB Back
Barbell Bench Press 3 sets of 10 at 55# Chest
Decline Situps 3 sets of 10 Core
Alternating Reverse Lunge 3 sets of 10 each leg with 25# plate Lower Body
YTWL 3 sets of 4 each letter with 8# DBs (16# total) Shoulders
Low Back extension 3 sets of 10 at 100# Low back

New furnace at the gym now, so it was warmer today. I hopped on the treadmill for a little walking. I decided to have a lighter workout today. Maybe because it is Friday?

I was so  ready for brekkie. I soaked some steel cut oats last night so I could make pumpkin custard oats today!

I love those bowls where I am literally saying “yum, yum” as I eat them.  I love food.

Continuing the discussion from last week on lifting and talking a little more about designing a strength workout.  Let’s talk upper body from my unprofessional viewpoint.  Remember that you can choose how you want to do your strength training.  Either full body, or split training.  When doing split training, you will concentrate on one section of your body for that day.  So taking the upper body, you will work the triceps, biceps, shoulders, back and core (abs).  For general conditioning, you basically want to hit each group once during your workout.  Once you have a good solid chunk of time (6 months or so) on conditioning, then you can move to more specific body tweaking if that is the direction you want to go.

I like to start with the big muscle groups first, so I would do chest and back first.  There are so many different exercises to choose from, but the most important thing always is form.  If you cannot get a trainer to help you, do your research. Do a lot of reading and check out online videos like at or  Also – do all movements without any weight at all to make sure you have the form right.  There is no hurry to add weights, ever.  Attention – do not be afraid to get off the machines and step to the free weights!  Trust me.  I might talk about that at a later date, but I am sure most of you know by now that I am mostly off of all machines.  Not that they don’t have their use, but there is a huge difference between doing a chest press on a machine and with free weights.  But start there if you feel more comfortable.  I’d rather see you on a machine than not lifting at all.

So for me, this is an upper body workout that I have done in the past.

Incline chest fly: Chest
Assisted Dips: Full upper body
Lat pulldown: Back
Reverse crunches: Core
Biceps curls:  Biceps
Triceps kickback: Biceps
Front raise: Shoulders

Question – how many reps and how much weight?  As far as reps go, for good general conditioning you should be doing 8-12 reps with 3 sets, resting 1 minute between each set.  Again, that is just a good average.  As far as the weight goes – it really depends on you.  Do not be afraid to lift heavier.  Your body will tell you what is too much.  With that said, don’t pick up a 40# dumbbell for biceps curls right off the bat. Pick up a weight and do your set of 10.  If you can do that easily, try a little bit heavier weight on the next set.  If on the 3rd set you are easily completing your 10 reps, move heavier.  You want the last set to be really hard to finish, but not complete failure.  I never advise going to failure, especially if you are working by yourself.  Safety first!

Phew – now it’s time for lunch!  I made an omelet and added in some cooked (I just typed cookie) lentils and a laughing cow wedge .   This was actually quite good!

You know, I really don’t like beans that much, but I do love lentils.  I don’t know why I just don’t eat those more instead of worrying about getting in beans.  My mind is just so silly sometimes.

Work was slow in the midday, so I futtered around while waiting for it to be latte time!  I had a mint cup to kick things off:

Then the good stuff.

Again, my appetite is not ravenous.  This is really, really weird.  I think it must have to do with my decreased exercise finally catching up with me.  Normally on a rest day I am very hungry, but with lowered exercise in general, maybe my body finally is caught up?  (Lowered exercise because I am trying to lose some weight, btw).

I was up for the easy dinner tonight.  Cooked up some clams, sauteed brussel sprouts and ready to go!

I had one of those pescetarian days without even planning it.  I have to work tonight, hoping I can get a full day in to end the week off on a good note.  Hope you all have a more exciting night planned than I do!

Question:  Do like lentils or beans (or both?)

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24 thoughts on “Strength training tips part deux

  1. Andra Ruscoe

    Lentils tikka masala simmering on the stove right now!

    Good points about lifting. I’m loving the 28 day shapeover, by the way. His explanation of how to do each move is excellent. I did the chest fly and the “hugging a big tree” made me do them just right. LOL

  2. Cilla

    Both! I have to be careful about adding beans and lentils to dinners, though, because my boys are not that fond of them (chickpeas are evil, apparently).

    Great tips for lifting… and you were right the other day: the barbell didn’t eat me, and I managed the deadlifts okay 🙂 Thanks, Lori.

  3. Lisa

    Well if it gives you any idea how MY day was going…I didn’t even notice that you said “Wednesday”. LOL

    One of these days I’ll make it to your side of the world and I want to lift weights with you. 🙂

  4. Kelly

    Love your strength training posts. And you get a big flashy gold star for doing reverse lunges with 25#! Yikes. The lunges and squats kill me. Hope to eventually get better at those.

    I’d like to second the part about not trying to start with too heavy weight. Tried that with a tricep exercise and about tore my elbow off. Not good.

    The links are GREAT. Never knew about those before. Thanks!

  5. Leah

    I LOVE beans and cook them weekly.

    Had to look up “pescetarian”, and was pleased to know I wasn’t too far of the meaning. 🙂

    I hope you got your work in and can enjoy your weekend off. Have a good one!

  6. debby

    I had to look up pescetarian too! You know already I don’t like beans and I do like lentils a lot. But I never have cooked them myself. I overcooked them once and never tried again. So I just eat the ones Vicky makes. I had some yummy oats this morning too!

  7. Shelley B

    Well, at least Friday came up quickly for you! I was wondering what you were trying to tell us with yesterday’s post, lol! 🙂

    Wednesday was the first time I’ve done weights with machines – I was surprised that I ended up working as much as I did, because on first try it felt like the machine was doing all the work. But I adjusted the amount of weight and that helped. Very different from using free weights, to be sure!

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  9. Kim Zepp

    I don’t care for beans (except for green beans) and I’ve never tried lentils. Guess I should try them!
    Yep, I looked up pescetarian, too. I was way off on the meaning. Oops. (Don’t tell anyone I used to teach 8th grade English!) 🙂

  10. Fran

    Thanks for the strength tips, they are really helpful. The program I’m following now has only two exercises with machines (leg press), the rest is free weights. I have to say I prefer them, somehow it feels like you work harder with free weights.

  11. Jody - Fit at 53

    I like lentils & some beans but my bod does not.. bloating.. UGH! Course I have this issue with a lot of things & I generally just eat them in smaller amounts & stay away from people! 😉

  12. Rachael

    I love you weight lifting tips. I am also a weight lifter and at some point I will be putting my progress on my blog in some format or another. My husband and I usually workout 5-6 days per week concentrating on different muscle groups each day with 40 minutes of cardio. I like to see what other people are doing as well for a little variety. Thanks for sharing your workouts. 🙂

  13. Alissa

    I don’t know why but I don’t eat lentils very often. I didn’t grow up eating them and I think that’s why? They’re good though! I should start eating them more often.

  14. Kelly

    Re: comment on my blog. I accept that challenge! I will only weigh in on Sundays starting tomorrow. No more daily scale stepping. 😉

  15. Amanda @ BakingWithoutABox

    Oooh kitty mug and grapes! Did my first “in the gym” pull up today! Thought of you and waiting for “advising folks” to swarm. Didn’t happen. Yay!
    My nutrition has been off compared to workouts lately so I’m stealing your Laughing Cow idea. How’s it feel knowing people look up to you even when grocery shopping? 🙂

  16. Ishmael

    Hah, I have to work to get in lentils because I love beans and would eat those any day of the week (tummy troubles aside). I lifted weights for the first time in months last week and man, I was sore for several days after! I guess that means I was doing something right. I’ve got to make time for more; it’s one of my constant goals.

  17. Amber

    I am so not a beans person. I like French Cut green beans (yes, I NEED them that way) but I really won’t go for any other bean. I generally don’t like the texture, or the flavor really. I just don’t like them! D:

    1. Lori Post author

      Okay, that is really funny because the only way I like green beans is french cut as well. Don’t ask me why LOL!

      1. Amber

        Hah! Who knows! All I know is there’s just something FAR more enjoyable about them when they are French Cut and I refuse to believe otherwise. 😀

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