Adding More Weight.

Since I have doctor’s orders to take a week off from running, I’m trying to focus on other forms of activity rather than long for the one I am missing.  It’s all about positive energy, right? 

We’ve been working on getting back into our regular strength and weight lifting schedule these past few weeks.  As building the home gym continues,  we keep discovering things we like, things we don’t, and things we wish we had here at home.  Ever since we quit the gym a few months ago and decided to make our own gym at home, the benefits (no commute, loud music, do it in sweatpants) far outweigh the cons (less equipment, more than one treadmill, etc.).  That said, there is always room for improvement, and the money we save each month not paying for a gym membership has allowed us to invest in some fun equipment.

Tonight’s addition – a full barbell with a 100 lb. plate set! 

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When we worked out hard at our old gym in Cincinnati, we did a lot of heavy weight and barbell work.  I firmly believe that shorter sets of heavier lifting is much more effective than longer sets with lighter weights.  Heavy weight builds muscle, light weight helps you burn fat.  Both good – but totally different results.

I’ve been missing my pre-Charlotte biceps for a while, and I’m glad to see they are slowly coming back.  These weight plates should help a lot!  We got a new set of 100 lbs. total, and combined it with old plates we had from way back when.

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Casey mapped out a workout from hell, that made me groan just reading it.  But I have learned over time that the workouts I dread most are typically the most effective. 

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I didn’t get pictures of every exercise, but I made sure to hit a few of the highlights for you guys.  (I put my own reps and weights used in parenthesis to in order to give some perspective.  When in doubt, try something a little heavier!)

Exercise 1:  Bent-over Rows – bend over and pull weight straight up, keeping arms as close to the side of your body as possible.  (I did 3×8 reps with 25 lb weights)

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Exercise 2:  Shoulder Press – hoist weights up to shoulder level with arms bent at a 90 degree angle.  Press all the way up and return to 90 degrees.  (I did 3×8 reps with 20 lb weights)

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Exercise 3:  Cleans – Ugh, these are tough, but worth it.  Start with barbell at waist level, and flip bar up forwards bringing it up to shoulder height.  (I did 3×8 reps with 60 lbs of weight)

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Action shot – mid flip!  I think it might be the steroids!  :)

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Exercise 4:  Deadlifts – I’ve read that these are the single most effective total-body exercise that you can do.  Every time I do these I am sore the next day – it never fails!  Start by bending over and picking the bar off of the ground about 6 inches.  Stand straight up, using your back and legs to bring the weight up to waist level.  Return bar to just above floor level and repeat.  (I did 2 sets with 70 lbs and 1 set with 80 lbs)

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Exercise 5:  Ab Roll-outs – Start on your hands and knees, leaning on the barbell.  Using your abs, roll out forward as far as you can go, and then crunch your stomach muscles to come back to your starting position.  Weights don’t matter in this one – it’s all body weight.  (I did 3 sets of 8 reps)

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We did a few other basic things like pushups and chin-ups, but I really just wanted to highlight some of the exercises we did using the new barbell.  A lot of strength moves can be done with either one long barbell (like what we bought) or with two individual free weights (like in exercises 1 and 2).  The “fun” thing about weight lifting is that you can always try new variations and types of strength moves, and keep your workouts interesting.

It always helps to have a nice support system too.

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If you’re interested in any of my other workout and weight lifting posts, check out these links:

This coming weekend, I am hoping to put together a post outlining all the different things we have in our home gym – pieces I recommend, how to find good budget buys on exercise equipment, and more.  And coming up tomorrow afternoon, a really interesting health-related post from a special guest blogger – my wonderful and healthy husband, Casey!  :)