Congratulations on your weightlifting routine!! Everyone who engages
in physical exercise gets special kudos from me, since much of my life
was devoted to fitness instruction and personal training. And no, you
are not vain! However, I will certainly suggest that you also
incorporate some exercises to strengthen the entire upper body and
back, so that you don't end up with an imbalance.
Currently, you are lifting approximately 50.5 lbs, or 23 kilos. I
don't know your personal body weight, or how long you have been
lifting, but I would wager that 23 kilos is far too little to gain
significant muscle mass. Lifting with 3 sets morning and evening, for
2 days on and one day off is primarily geared toward muscle endurance
and toning. The very fact that you can lift a set weight for 3 sets of
ten reps, and then go back and do 3 more sets at night is a clear
indication that the weight is too light.
When trying to build muscle mass, your first priority is to pick a
weight that is actually heavy enough to build the muscle to greater
size. There a few different training methods that will accomplish
this, and everyone has their individual preferences.
One recommendation is to find the amount of weight that you can lift
for only one repetition, and then take 70% of that weight for your 3
sets. You basically find your one rep max through trial and error, so
be patient. Also, be careful! Finding your one rep max can take a toll
on your ligaments if you are not prepared, so you might ask someone to
spot you on this.
After you have found your 70% weight, do 3 sets of 12 reps. If for
some reason, you feel that 70% is a bit too easy, you can always add a
small, incremental weight plate of 2 1/2 pounds. Nevertheless, you
should always be squeezing out that last rep of each set with major
intensity. Do NOT allow more than 1 minute to lapse in between reps or
sets. Don't let any time for your muscles to recuperate.
After you have finished 3 sets, you should definitely feel that you
are maxed out and can lift no more!!
Another method is a pyramid, where you do a series of 12, 10, 8, 6,
and 4 repetitions for 3 sets. The first 12 reps are basically a
warm-up weight (like your 23 kilos). The following sets are gradually
done with heavier weights, so that you are squeezing out the last
repetition of each set. This will mean adding more weight to each set.
The final four should be fairly agonizing, with the last repetition to
ultimate failure. You may need a spotter for these last 4 reps.
Again, you can do this pyramid for 2 or 3 sets. Do not allow more
than a minute in between reps, and sets. However, the ultimate goal,
again, is to feel as if you have maxed out and can do no more.
It is not unusual to take two days off between this type of heavy
weight training. Your muscles need time to repair and build Often,
you do not feel any soreness until the second day after your training,
so be patient and let muscles recoup a bit.
As soon as the sets become easy, with either method, you can up the
On the same day, you might also do some pec flys for another chest
angle, and some military presses to build up your shoulders. You can
use the same method of repetitions. However, be PARTICULARLY careful
with pec flys, since ligament strength is the deciding factor when
your arms are extended.
Also, don't neglect your back. If you have access to a machine, do
some lat pulldowns of some seated rows. If you have no machine, do
some bent-over rows.
My final suggestion is that you use free weights instead of machines
for most of your exercises. Free weights work with your imbalances,
and cause both limbs to work, as opposed to machines, which only cater
to your weaknesses on a particular side.
I hope my answer has been of help. I wish you good luck, and
No search strategy was used. My answer was based on personal
Clarification of Answer by
26 May 2003 17:12 PDT
It's great you are so enthusiastic. As long as you really push out
the reps, and eat a bit more than you do at present, you should see
results in 2-4 weeks. However, I recommend you add a bit of extra
protein and carbohydrates, since you will be working out extremely
hard. You can make your own protein/carb shakes with skim milk,
protein powder, and a banana. Please stay away from raw eggs!
It is often recommended to eat some form of protein within 30 minutes
of your workout, so if you can have a shake already made, and drink it
once your body has settled down a bit, that would be great. Don't
neglect fruits and vegetables, and some good, high fiber carbohydrates
like oatmeal or wheat bread.
You will get to know your own body and how much you feel you need to
eat with the added workout. However, do make sure you eat a meal with
protein, carbohydrate and fat several hours before you workout so that
you have energy stores to work with....and also, drink plenty of
If you want to add a comment to this question in 3-4 weeks, I would
love to hear how you are doing. Also, if you want to continue with
variations and more workout options and exercises, feel free to
address a question to me in the future and I will point you in some