Weightlifters: Anyone want to tweak my routine?

So I went back to the gym after a long break, and this time I got me a trainer to help set up a routine for me to follow. I told him my goal was getting my back stronger (I sit all day and my back hurts), and just general “moving my muscles” in order to get my muscles maybe to burn some fat and get my metabolism working.

Well I started this routine at the end of July 2010, then never got back with the trainer, and now the trainer is AWOL. So I’m sort of stuck with this routine. Other than a few weeks off here and there when I’ve been sick, I was going 3 days a week to the gym. Now I’m down to 2 but might go back to 3.

Thanks to a good phys. ed teacher in high school and a Women’s Weight Training class in school, I have pretty good form out of the gate. Plus some of the guys at the gym help me. But, I do not know how to change up my routine by myself. I really like my routine and am comfortable doing it, but I know I need to switch it up. It’s been 6 months!

The weights and reps I do have gone up since I first started. I actually went up too high on some weights I think…someone pointed out that I was going too fast, and I said that’s because I wanted to get done. I lowered weights and slowed down and that seems good.

Anyway, any of you more experienced lifters want to take a crack at making me a new routine? If you think that’s a bad idea, I’ll suss out a new PT to come work with me. But if anyone has any suggestions for things I should switch, that’d be cool.

I am a 31-year-old female, who is obese. I do have big muscles and strong bones. No injuries or maladies to work around. There’s nothing on me to tone unless I lose 100#, so I am focusing on core strength and general “getting one’s ass moving”. I do a 12-min walking warmup and walk 30 mins after for cardio.

Here’s my routine:
Day 1
Back Extension machine 115#/15
Ab Machine 110#/15
Smith Chest Press 50#/12
Squat (body weight)/13
Lat row machine 60#/15
Lat pulldown machine 60#/15
Lunge (boty weight)/12 per leg
Dumbell Incline Chest fly 15#/13
Rope triceps on Cable pulley 40#/15
Crunches 15
Medicine ball rotation 8#/30

Day 2
Smith machine shoulder press 50#/12
Smith front row 50#/12
Step up (body weight)/13
Dumbbell Arnold Press 12#/15
Leg Curl machine 75#/15
Leg Extension machine 65#/15
Row machine 70#/12
Dumbbel bicep curl 15#/15 (each arm)
Rope bicep hammer curl 40#/15
Crunch w/Medicine ball 8#/14
Flutter kicks 20 secs

Here’s the available equipment at my gym, spoilered so as not to make this post too incredibly long:

Dumbells from 2.5#-65#
Adjustable benches for dumbbells
Adjustable benches with racks
Olympic bars
EZ Curl bars
Hyper extension bench
Preacher bench
Ab bench
Dip/Chinup bar station
Power rack
Smith machine
Leg press (seated, not lying down)
Leg Extension machine
Leg Curl machine
Leg adduction/abduction machine
Seated calf machine
Lat pulldown & lat row machines
Peck deck
Cable pulley machine with variety of handles
Chest press
Shoulder press
Back extension machine
Ab machine
Row machine
Glute extension machine
Stability balls
Medicine balls 2#-10#

Any help would be appreciated - thanks!

Good luck with your routine! I am no expert but I do lift weights, so I thought I’d weigh in. Heh.

How are you feeling about your current workout? f you feel like you’re working the muscle to failure, then it’s great. If you’re not, you’ll want to add weight. I’d also encourage you to consider multiple sets, with a rest in between, if you feel you aren’t reaching that point (you don’t really need a ton of reps in a set). If you can, carry a clipboard and note where you’re at - it makes for less fiddling around in a month or two when you’re stronger and can’t remember what you were lifting. :slight_smile:

It may sound funny but I’ve found that calf raises have been really helpful for me - I do two kinds, on the leg press (with plates) and on a step bench (so you can extend your heel down further). It seems to have really helped my feet and ankles, especially with handling increased cardio intensity. I was skeptical but I really notice a difference.

If you need variation or increased difficulty, one idea is to riff a bit on what you’re doing now. For example, squats are great exercises and work your legs really well. But you can do regular squats, or wide squats, or you could try adding resistance bands or dumbbells to add weights, and so on. Or, likewise, with crunches, there are dozens of varieties. So, when you’re feeling bored, maybe try looking around online and finding a couple of ideas, and swapping out one or two things in your routine for a variation on that. Or, add them if you’re feeling up to it (e.g. wide stance squats with dumbbell in addition to regular squats). Lots of exercises can be changed around with different stances or grips.

Abs are particularly easy to add variation to in my opinion since there is often not a lot of gear that goes with them. For example I am fond of the 90 degree reverse crunch:


and stability ball crunch:

Also I don’t see any oblique ab exercises, which I like a lot too, and there are tons of those:


Core strength is pretty useful especially if you’re overweight - helps support the back a lot. It’s also an area I think that you can see results pretty quickly.

If you have lower back pain, go to your library and get a book on stretching and yoga exercises. This will help you out more than you can imagine. I had lower back pain and 15 minutes of stretching and flexing the lower back and using yoga was so beneficial.

As for your routine, any routine works provided you don’t do it to excess. You should be changing your routine at least every two weeks. Muscles respond when you work them differently. So you want to vary your routine as much as possible.

As for metabolism, you need cardio. You need to to this 5 times a week, 60 minutes a day, to help your heart.

You need to do 65% to 85% of your max heart rate

To get his you subtract your age from 220 and figure the percents

So 220-31 = 189bpm (beats per minute)

This is your theoretical maxium heart rate. You should NEVER go over this

65% of 189 = 123
85% of 189 = 161

So you want to do an hour of cardio and keep your heart rate between 123 and 161.

This is a GOAL to work to. No one expects you to get their instantly. Since the OP said she was obese, you need to watch your legs. The bike is the best for you to use, since it will be easiest on the legs. Use resistance to increase your heart rate.

Swimming is also excellent for obese people as it minimizes impact. Then work from the bike to the treadmill to the elipitcal to the stairstepper.

Shoes are extremely important for overweight people. A great pair of running shoes will reduce pain and injury.

So remember cardio first. A strong heart is what you want. Then stretching and yoga exercises for your back. Then do the weight. It’s not the routine that matters, it the variation in the routine. Always keep chaning it. Your body responds to change.

Good luck