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Just starting to lift weights...

Kandahar

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OK, I'm a total novice when it comes to weight-lifting (as in, I had to look at the illustrations on the exercise equipment to see how to use it). Last week I lifted weights for the first time since I was about 15...and then lifted again this past Sunday. Ever since Sunday, my muscles have really been aching and I haven't gone back to the gym since then.

Is this normal due to the fact that I'm new to weight-lifting, or could it be a sign that I'm not using the machines properly? I've heard that if you don't lift the weights "correctly" you can do a lot of damage to your muscles. I want to go back to the gym tomorrow, but I don't want to hurt myself. How long is it OK for your muscles to ache after you lift before it could be a sign of trouble? It's been three days now...
 

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OK, I'm a total novice when it comes to weight-lifting (as in, I had to look at the illustrations on the exercise equipment to see how to use it). Last week I lifted weights for the first time since I was about 15...and then lifted again this past Sunday. Ever since Sunday, my muscles have really been aching and I haven't gone back to the gym since then.

Is this normal due to the fact that I'm new to weight-lifting, or could it be a sign that I'm not using the machines properly? I've heard that if you don't lift the weights "correctly" you can do a lot of damage to your muscles. I want to go back to the gym tomorrow, but I don't want to hurt myself. How long is it OK for your muscles to ache after you lift before it could be a sign of trouble? It's been three days now...
I played baseball in college as well as one season in the minor leagues, and our routine was (assuming we were in the off season) to do something like this:

Monday: Arm/shoulder workout
Tuesday: Leg/Back
Wednesday: Take the day off
Thursday: Arm etc
Friday: Leg etc

Obviously this is extremely basic, but you get the idea. We would also run a ton everyday. Running and stretching after your workout will help with soreness. You will be sore regardless for a little while if you are just starting, but as long as you are doing the proper technique that is not really a big deal. Ultimately you can workout everday, just don't do the same muscle group everyday, as they will need time to recover.
 

Kandahar

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I played baseball in college as well as one season in the minor leagues, and our routine was (assuming we were in the off season) to do something like this:

Monday: Arm/shoulder workout
Tuesday: Leg/Back
Wednesday: Take the day off
Thursday: Arm etc
Friday: Leg etc

Obviously this is extremely basic, but you get the idea. We would also run a ton everyday. Running and stretching after your workout will help with soreness. You will be sore regardless for a little while if you are just starting, but as long as you are doing the proper technique that is not really a big deal. Ultimately you can workout everday, just don't do the same muscle group everyday, as they will need time to recover.
That's good to know. The last two times I went to the gym, I didn't really concentrate on any specific muscle group. I just used whichever machines looked the easiest to figure out. Next time I'll try to concentrate on specific muscles.
 

Aunt Spiker

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There is a confusing line between "the burn" which you DO want and "hurting yourself" which you don't want.

So - wait a few more days, monitor your soreness. If it stays the same or gets worse then it's possible you injured yourself. If most of it goes away - but one area is still very sore - then you've likely injured yourself.

Various injuries: muscle strain, muscle sprain, torn or stretch ligaments and tendons . . . and so on (you can read up on sports related injuries for details on these injuries and how best to avoid them - avoidance is golden)

Keys to avoiding injury: Stretch - lots of stretching before you workout and stretch when you're done.

Cardio: whether or not you intend to maintain a level of cardio is up to you, everyone's opinions differ, but cardio in the beginning will help strengthen non-muscle areas: heart, lungs . . endurance - which will be a long lasting good start to a new routine. I think it's always a good idea.

Key caution when lifting machine or free weights (or kettlebells if you're like me): Do not snap or toss the weight around - you want to always be in careful control of your muscle-flex and extension, etc. . . this also includes using proper form when lifting (books and articles will help you figure this out depending on what exercise you're doing)

For your first few weeks (if you do it routinely-ish) you'll probably feel a good long burn for a few days after each workout - overall muscle soreness and aching - stiffness. But it should be no more than a strong ache - no severe or sharp *pain.* Once you get more fit and build more muscle the burn will be shorter and your endurance will increase, your body will become more efficient. When you start out you should go easy, you want to be a little "worked out" but not too much because (depending on your current fitness level) your body needs to adjust and come into swing with you - not against you.

Regardless of what level of fitness you want to achieve - sleek, athletic, weight loss, just healthy, or the Hulk, www.bodybuilding.com is a GREAT source for all sorts of articles, exercises, information, supplements and so on. They have a stellar forum, too - which can get you on track and help keep you there.
 
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rivrrat

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I would suggest making sure you warm up your muscles a bit, then stretch, then workout, then stretch a little again. When you're doing reps, I've been told a good general rule is to do as many as it takes so that the last three are kind of difficult to do but maintain good form. You just really want to feel the burn on the last three. So either use enough weight to get there, or do enough reps to get there. But just remember to maintain good form. Eeking out those last reps but doing it in bad form is only going to increase your risk of injury.

You *should* be a little sore the next day or so, especially when you're just starting out. That first week is going to be killer, but it should be a "good" sore. Not sharp pains, as mentioned by Aunt Spiker.

Make sure you stay well hydrated too, and get enough calories, carbs, and protein.
 

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You went to hard on your training.


For the first month or two you should take it relatively easy, not lifting to faluire on any exercise untill your muscles are conditioned to this type of exercise. After a while a very good and hard workout will only result in sore muscles for a few hours to at most a day, and nothing like you feel now

I remember after a break from lifting I went back to the gym, did a heavy leg work out and found walking up or down stairs painfull (muscle soreness pain not joint or torn muscle pain)
 

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So far I don't have any real pain...just soreness in my muscles. Hopefully that means I didn't hurt myself. Is it better to wait until the soreness goes away before lifting weights again, or is it better to work through it? I went to the gym last Sunday, and my plan was to go twice a week while I'm new. I was hoping to go tomorrow night.

Oh and another stupid question: How long are you supposed to rest between each set?
 

Lord Tammerlain

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So far I don't have any real pain...just soreness in my muscles. Hopefully that means I didn't hurt myself. Is it better to wait until the soreness goes away before lifting weights again, or is it better to work through it? I went to the gym last Sunday, and my plan was to go twice a week while I'm new. I was hoping to go tomorrow night.

Oh and another stupid question: How long are you supposed to rest between each set?
You can go back just work on a muscle group that is not sore. Having sore muscles is a sign they have not recovered from the workout previously done


Depending on the specific workout, between sets I would wait around a minute or two. Generally allow for breathing to get back to normal. This assumes you are not doing circuit training, super sets or drop sets though, in those case you would finish the grouped set then take a longer break before doing another one
 

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The first few times you go back to the gym you're going to be more achy than usual. For instance, when I started working out 3 years ago, I found it hard to elevate my arms the next day above my shoulders, and my abs really hurt. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but after the 48 hour rest period you should go back and work those muscles again. The aches will go away after if you work them out again. Otherwise it will take as long as a week.

Eventually you won't have those aches and it will even feel satisfying to work out.
 

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OK, I'm a total novice when it comes to weight-lifting (as in, I had to look at the illustrations on the exercise equipment to see how to use it). Last week I lifted weights for the first time since I was about 15...and then lifted again this past Sunday. Ever since Sunday, my muscles have really been aching and I haven't gone back to the gym since then.

Is this normal due to the fact that I'm new to weight-lifting, or could it be a sign that I'm not using the machines properly? I've heard that if you don't lift the weights "correctly" you can do a lot of damage to your muscles. I want to go back to the gym tomorrow, but I don't want to hurt myself. How long is it OK for your muscles to ache after you lift before it could be a sign of trouble? It's been three days now...
Aching is usually normal, you would definitely know if you damaged your muscles.
Already lots of good advice posted but I will emphasize adequate stretching is key to prevent damage.
Stretch and stretch a lot, if you're embarrassed about doing it in public, do it before you go to the gym.

Final words, stretch a lot before you lift. ;)
 

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If you had injured something you would know it. The soreness is perfectly normal, and may be very intense for the first couple of weeks. It's okay to keep lifting while you're sore, too. It'll subside after a while.

Rest between sets depends on your personal preferences. A good rule of thumb is to "stay warm". It means you're still a little tired from the last set but no so much so that it becomes excessively difficult to finish out the next set. Thirty seconds to a minute is usually sufficient; just walk around a little and swish some water in your mouth. Don't gulp water though, because you'll get cramps. A couple of sips and a swish around will suffice.

The key is to remain consistent. You'll never see any gains if you don't stick to it. The first few weeks are the most boring and mundane but it should pass. Also, good form is essential to staying injury-free. I suggest you work on your core strength before dedicating yourself to a lifting regimen.

Core Training Workout Routine - A Good Core Training Workout Routine Takes More Than Ab Exercises
 

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Congratulations on starting your new program! :thumbs:

I started lifting in February (I don't use very heavy weights :3oops:), and I am HOOKED. I've never looked or felt better, and I find that I'll squish in a workout even on days I really should rest.

You probably have DOMS which should subside in a few days. It can be painful as heck, but it really is a good feeling pain. Personally, I prefer to do at least a 5 minute warm up of some sort of cardio just to warm up the muscles, work out, cool down exercises and then full stretching. I do believe stretching is key to not getting DOMS. Well, that and not overworking your muscles. You also need to make sure you eat plenty of protein afterward. If you're not a cottage cheese fan, become one. Oh, take a warm whirlpool bath for DOMS, and you will be in Heaven.

In between lifting days, you can do something light like pilates or cardio until your body is used to the weights. That will help with the soreness and also keep you in the habit of working out.

Good luck. :)
 

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Soreness (or DOMS: delayed onset muscular soreness) is the bodies response to resistance during a period when the said muscle is "stretched". For example, the soreness you would get from sprinting 16 100m dashes would greatly exceed that of running the same mile, or even two. Reason be, when you are sprinting, you are extending your legs more so than running while simultaneously requiring more "force" to cover ground at a greater rate.

Same basis applies to resistance training. There are a few ways to go about it; all depend on three elements. 1.) Genetics: Is your body highly responsive to muscular stimulation? A genetic freak will be able to withstand (from a fatigue perspective) multiple full range of motion resistance exercises, while the other end of the spectrum would feel instant fatigue (and then soreness) after the first set. 2.) Pain threshold: self explanatory yet often overlooked. Even if you like the feeling of soreness, its probably not a good idea to overload your legs on a Sunday afternoon when you work in an office building that requires you to climb up (and down!) 100 stairs per day. That and you'll look ridiculous doing it. 3.) Knowledge base: not only is it important to employ proper form (if for nothing else than a means to decrease your risk of injury), but proper nutrition, hydration, and recovery aid. Feed the muscles what they need (protein) and as quickly as possible following resistance training. Dehydration has been shown to lead to muscle fatigue. Lastly, it is a very bad idea to stretch sore muscles, especially when soreness is really bad if they are not properly warmed up. More muscular injuries are caused by improper stretching than anything else.

In closing, the duration of your pain will rely on how long it takes you to allow your body to assimilate its new requirements. If its something you plan on doing for the foreseeable future, you will require much more time if you are only going once or twice a week.

Good luck:2wave:
 

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DOMS comes from an inadequate warm up leading into resistive or aerobic exercise and/or an inadequate cool down/stretching period at the end of exercise. The warm up is important because it prepares the peripheral areas for work through vasodilation of the blood vessels in the areas to be worked. The cool down is important because it still causes muscle contractions that facilitate the return of the blood flow from the peripheral portions of the body to the cardiopulmonary center(heart/lungs) where waste is removed from the blood and blood is reoxygenated. The soreness is less a function of the work you did, but rather a pooling of deoxygenated blood/ cellular waste products in the peripheral area.
 

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Oh and another stupid question: How long are you supposed to rest between each set?
All depends on what your weight lifting is geared towards. Power, strength, or muscular endurance is the first question I would ask you.
 

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Your soreness will last longer if you avoid working your muscles (IE: waling stiffly, sitting down/laying down more than usual to avoid feeling sore, avoiding full strides and movements of arms/legs during daily routine). If you use your sore muscles to their full extent while doing everyday things it will help stretch and get rid of the soreness sooner. The more "clamped up" you are the longer it will last.
 

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It is normal. But, I think you should start with a moderate amount of weight lifting and increase it gradually of a long period of time, to give you muscles a chance to build up. The muscle pain will go away after a while, and likely wont happen after you gain a level of fitness, but I would build up very slowly. And, be sure to do plenty of gentle stretching after a weight lifting session.
 

Kandahar

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All depends on what your weight lifting is geared towards. Power, strength, or muscular endurance is the first question I would ask you.
To quote Kevin Spacey from American Beauty, "I just want to look good naked." :lol:
 

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To quote Kevin Spacey from American Beauty, "I just want to look good naked." :lol:
Are you starting out as a heavy person, or a thin person or just in the middle but non-muscular?
 

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Are you starting out as a heavy person, or a thin person or just in the middle but non-muscular?
I would say I'm in the middle but non-muscular. I'm 6'3" and 190 pounds, so I don't really consider myself fat...but I'm definitely not skinny either.
 

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I would say I'm in the middle but non-muscular. I'm 6'3" and 190 pounds, so I don't really consider myself fat...but I'm definitely not skinny either.
Well you are in a good situation as far as weight goes. You are within an ideal range for your height(which I share, although I am a bit heavier), so you don't need to worry about bulking up, or losing weight. You can go whatever way you want, which would be to lean out or put on a little mass.

My advice starting out would be to follow this simple setup for each exercise you do at the gym. It's called the Delorme Regimen. It incorporates a warm-up into the routine which may help offset the DOMs you experienced. Which ever machine or exercise you are doing, find out how much weight you can move(lift,push,pull etc...) 10 times. This is your 10RM. Then when you perform the particular exercise, do 3 sets with the first set being at 50% of your 10RM, then 2nd set at 75%, 3rd set at 100%. So let's say you do a flat bench press and your 10 rep max is 150lbs. Your first set will be 10 reps at 75lbs. The second set will be at 75% of your 10RM and under this scenario you would do 110-115 10 times, and you finish the third set with your 10RM,(150 lbs).

I would say starting out, try to focus on a muscle group each night you work out. Hit 4-5 different exercises for that muscle group using this method, and don't work that group again for at least 48 hours. Muscle hypertrophy doesn't occur at the gym, but while you are resting. Also, give yourself about 2-3 minutes between each set for rest.

As you begin to get more comfortable in the gym, you can try out new combinations of sets/reps to prevent accomodation by your body. There really is more than one path to a good looking body. My advice here is just to get you started and to prevent the DOMs you experienced. Some strength gains are made by 3 weeks, but this is due to neural adaptation by your body. True hypertrophy(growth) of the muscles take around 8 weeks to occur, so its a bit of a waiting game.

My area of education is in musculoskeletal function(as well as neuro). Others would probably have better advice for you regarding the diet portion of this which is of equal importance.
 

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Are there any good chest exercises that I can do without weights? I've got some (relatively small) manboobs that I want to get rid of ASAP, so I want to exercise my chest as much as safely possible...but I don't usually have time to get to the gym more than about twice a week.
 

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Are there any good chest exercises that I can do without weights? I've got some (relatively small) manboobs that I want to get rid of ASAP, so I want to exercise my chest as much as safely possible...but I don't usually have time to get to the gym more than about twice a week.
With no weights or other equipment? Pushups.
 

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Are there any good chest exercises that I can do without weights? I've got some (relatively small) manboobs that I want to get rid of ASAP, so I want to exercise my chest as much as safely possible...but I don't usually have time to get to the gym more than about twice a week.
I'd say cardio, to get rid of the fat.
The moobs are either caused by fat accumulation in the chest area, or by excess estrogen caused by fat stores elsewhere in your body (fat produces estrogen).
Run, bike, jump rope, skate, row... do something that makes you sweat and gets your heart rate up.
You'll burn calories, and eventually lose fat.

The reason i say this is, I've known a few guys who tried to get rid of their moobs by doing chest muscle exercises, and only ended up making them more prominent.
It is impossible to spot-reduce. Doing chest exercises will not make you lose fat in your chest area. It will make the muscles underneath the fat more pronounced, and then your moobs will stick out more.

So, yeah. I'd say cardio, for that specific problem.
 

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I'd say cardio, to get rid of the fat.
The moobs are either caused by fat accumulation in the chest area, or by excess estrogen caused by fat stores elsewhere in your body (fat produces estrogen).
Run, bike, jump rope, skate, row... do something that makes you sweat and gets your heart rate up.
You'll burn calories, and eventually lose fat.

The reason i say this is, I've known a few guys who tried to get rid of their moobs by doing chest muscle exercises, and only ended up making them more prominent.
It is impossible to spot-reduce. Doing chest exercises will not make you lose fat in your chest area. It will make the muscles underneath the fat more pronounced, and then your moobs will stick out more.

So, yeah. I'd say cardio, for that specific problem.
The increase in size is only temporary since the mere existence of muscle burns calories and facilitates getting rid of fat.
 
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