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Dumbell routine - please critique!

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning' started by kestrou, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. kestrou

    kestrou Pin Member #4

    Jul 3, 2000
    In The Pocket
    OK, I'm really a runner, but especially now that I'm knocking on 40 I've started doing some simple weight training to add muscle to my arms and shoulders, but I need some guidance on that part.

    I know what I'm doing in the running/cardio part (and my resting heart rate of 50 shows it! :) ) but I'm really lost on weight training since I've never really done it.

    What I'm doing now is the same routine Monday, Wednesday & Friday mornings of two sets of 20 reps (which is all I can take!) of the following four dumbell routines - sorry, but I don't even know the names for all of these ;g

    1) Arm Curls - standing straight, arms fully extended, barbell starts at the knee and finishes at the shoulder as I bend my elbows. Alternating right/left.
    2) Pressing the dumbells "up" from my shoulder to full arm extension. Alternating right/left.
    3) Shoulder Shrugs - arms straight, shrugging both shoulders at the same time in a vigorous/exaggerated fashion
    4) Laying flat on my back, arms fully extended at right angles (think "nailed to the cross") bring dumbells together/up above me and then lower back down - dumbells never touch the floor, so the toughest part is when they're "amost down on the floor".

    OK, I told you I didn't know what I was doing, right?! ;f

    I'm not wanting to get really big, but thought I could get some good feedback on what to add to my routine or how to improve it.

    Any help out there? I'll offer marathon training advice in return! :)

  2. testosterone


    Aug 26, 2003
    las vegas
    ok from what I gather, here are the names of the exercises you are doing.
    1)dumbbell (DB) curls...sounds as if you are doing these in the correct fashion. Just be mindful of your tempo..bring her up slowly, no pause at the top and lower slowly...alternating is good. For biceps you can also do hammer curls..hold the db as you would a hammer and simply lift and lower it...also concentration curls...seated put your elbow on your knee and with the db slowly curl the db...
    2)DB shoulder press ...this works the deltoids (shoulders) not do these alternating. Do them both at once. Take the db's down and shoot them back up. The deltoids are a very small muscle group and they get overworked very easily. Do not over work them. I would only do them once per week. Another exercise you can do for shoulders is a lateral raises, both front and side...for front laterals you simply alternate lifting the db in a controlled fashion..........the db can either be held vertical or horizontal since you are taking them to the front...for side laterals, with elbows bent take the db's out to your side....hold in a traditional db fashion...
    you can also target the rear delts by doing a reverse fly...knees bent, leaning forward...........with both arms do a reverse fly..
    3)Shurgs...key here is to let the db's ride along the quad......also dont get too want a slow, controlled movement (see a pattern here)...hold at the top and hold at the bottom (bottom being the most important)....
    4) fly's........again, controlled...dont go down too far, seen too many injuries from this...only go down a bit past your chest. Also do presses (exactly like a bench press, only with db's)...Pullovers are also helpfull. put your back into the middle of the bench and grasp the db, your neck should be hanging over the the bench dont want it down so far as to be close to the wont get a good stretch that way. Simply take the db, raise it over your head to the middle of your chest and lower it again. The hold of the db is key here because you dont want it crashing down on you. TO grasp it for this exercise you have to cradle the head of the db into the palms of your hands...

    all of these exercises are simple and very effective. The key to all work is to be controlled and keep your tempo smooth. Nothing is worse for your training or health and saftey then doing things in a haphazard, fast speed. especially with db's, you can rip or sprain a muscle very quickly.
    To get the best effect from your workouts always try to concentrate on the muscle you are working on. That way you can 'feel' whats happening.
    Its difficult trying to describe the proper techique for things w/o showing would prob be very helpful to you to go to a book store and pick up a general weightlifting book. I think that arnold's book would be ideal.
    good luck.

  3. California Jack

    California Jack Millennium Member

    Aug 2, 1999
  4. ateamer

    ateamer NRA4EVR

    For overall fitness, it's hard to beat old-school stuff. It also costs very little to get/make the equipment and it can all be done at home. I still have the powerlifting bug, so it's hard to change, but I can see the future holds sandbag lifts, keg presses and other dinosaur lifts alternated with barbell workouts.
  5. California Jack

    California Jack Millennium Member

    Aug 2, 1999
    Hey ateamer,

    Sounds like it's time for you to make the switch to strongman.:)


    If I were going to lift only dumbells, my workouts woiuld consist of three to five of the following;

    dumbell snatches
    clean and press
    clean and push press
    side press
    bent press
    floor press
    tricep extensions
    hammer curls
    Turkish get up
    dumbell squat
    dumbell deadlift (both one and two hands)
    dumbell rows
    step ups
    split squats
    maybe SLDL

    You can do lots.

    Good luck,
  6. bvafiades


    Dec 2, 2004
    Dexter Maine
    first i need to ask you what you have access to? are you going to a gym? or are you working with a limited number of dumbells at home?
  7. kestrou

    kestrou Pin Member #4

    Jul 3, 2000
    In The Pocket
    Thanks for the feedback all - glad I came to this forum!

    Again, I'm not trying to get huge - but want to keep the muscles "toned" as I enter my 40s - although wifey says a little muscle bulk would be OK in her book! ;f

    testosterone - I know enough to know that a "slow rep" is almost always better than a fast one - so I am concentrating on form (as I understand it) over just "swinging weights around" - but hadn't thought about concentrating on "the muscle", trying to do that now and it seems to slow the rep down - which is good!

    CJ - Appreciate the links and list of exercises - I need to get up on the terminology to be able to discuss this intelligently.

    bvafiades - I'm not going to a gym, and really don't want to "make that commitment" as my lifting routine is only three days a week and done in 30 minutes before hitting the shower in the morning and I'd kinda like to keep it at that (although I spend hours per week running - average 25 miles/week, which isn't a "lot" but it's not bad either! ^c). Getting ready to "step up" on the barbell sizes as from my Internet-reading I believe two sets of 20 reps is definitely "toning" and two sets of more weight that I can only get about 10 reps on is more "building". Don't laugh, but right now I'm using 25 pounders for the curls and shrugs and 20 pounders for the shoulder presses and flys and have been at this for a month. See, I told you I was a beginner! ;f Plan to step up to 30 and 25 pounds on those, respectively, and add in another couple of the exercises below.

    Don't go looking for any pictures of "buff kestrou" anytime soon - but thanks again and I'll be back with more questions! ^c

  8. Kestrou,

    A suggestion on dumbells. Though they go very much against everything I normally am inclined towards (they are not filled with sand, they are not hard and dirty, and they do not have big weird handles), I must suggest the Bowflex/Nautilus select tech dumbell system. Those are the ones that range from 5# to 52.5# with an adjustment of a dial. I actually have a set. They are in the bedroom next to my wife's treadmill. Usually when I do run, it is barefoot on the treadmill. I also use the select techs for curls, overhead press and whatever stuff I feel spontaneously inclined to do.
    They are expensive, probably no less that buying a complete set of dumbells in that weight range. HOWEVER, the come with a rack and can easily fit unobtrusively behind any door in the house. The grips are comfortable and the mechanism is very secure. I have done cleans and swings with them with no trouble. My wife does pushups with 20# on them and then stands up and does overhead press, and they hold up fine.
    If you have not purchased anything, these are very streamlined and neat looking. It sounds like they would fit very well with what you are trying to accomplish. If you go for individual dumbells in this weight range, they will take up a whole room wall. Plus the overall weight will be huge. This will be a consideration if you have a two story house or a basement. Good luck Kestrou.

  9. One other thing I thought of, is that you should do as many lifts as you can one handed. If you do one handed dead lifts and one handed overhead press for example, you will work not only your lifting side, but also your "core". If you lift two handed you work the muscles directly involved with the lift, but you can work even more muscles by going one handed. You are also able to concentrate more on the one limb being worked.
  10. bvafiades


    Dec 2, 2004
    Dexter Maine
    I could go on forever on this subject and talk way over your head but I won't do it becuase it would do you no good so check out the website great compilation of articles and exercises and also a how to on any exercise you could think of.
  11. Please, bvfiades, go ahead and talk over his head. Actually you would be writing in this case. Nonetheless, I am sure some of us mouth breathers can put our monobrows together and bring your words of wisdom down to his level. I wish I were as smart as you make yourself sound. You must be making a lot of money training the Olympic track team and lifters up at the OTC on Colorado.

    By the way, it would do you some good to do a grammar check before you submit your poorly written and grammatically painful run-on sentences.