Fitness Plan v1.1

I started my current fitness program last April, before my birthday, my goal for 40, and starting this blog (I had been following a different, less focused approach for 18 months before that).  However, I felt the need to tweak it a bit recently for a few reasons:

  1. I was afraid I was plateauing in recent weeks on the cardio (doing elliptical for 2 years).
  2. My routine is pretty repetitive and I read something (can’t find the link) that one of the down sides to weight machines is that the fixed path of the bars can lead to muscle injury or overuse since there is no natural variation to the motion as there is with free weights.
  3. Not related to 2 (since both times occurred after off nights), I had mild shoulder aches over the last two weeks in each neck/shoulder which was hampering my progress on the chest press and shoulder press (I had to take 20 pounds off the shoulder press at one point).  I wanted to find a machine with a different motion to work the same area if possible.
  4. I was struggling to make real progress on the shoulder press even before 3.  I was concerned that that the over-isolation of weight machines meant I was not getting an area of those muscles or a nearby muscle necessary to make progress.
  5. I had maxed the weight stack on the back extension (300 lbs) and it overlaps a lot with the seated leg press muscle wise while simultaneously not getting as much upper back as I’d like.

So I have been sampling the following changes.

I still do weights before cardio (for maximum lifting power).  For cardio, I am now alternating between the elliptical and the cybex arc trainer (motion feels like a cross between an elliptical and a stairmaster).  The cybex also burns more calories per hour (if the measurements are to be believe, though often they are questionable).  The alternation should help slow down the body’s natural efficiency gains.  Would like to include the treadmill at some point, but not yet.

Weight lifting wise, I have completely swapped out the back extension for the row/rear deltoid machine.  This does mean I am currently not hitting the small of my back much, but based on the weight I was doing compered the row, I need the row more.  I am also swapping between the shoulder press and the lateral raise (both work the same area in different ways) and swapping the fly in for the chest press on occasion (ditto reason). Still doing 4×5 sets/reps.

So looks like below.  As before, this is far from an ideal pure strength program, but a reasonable compromise for me for now. Free weight equivalent lbs would be less, much less (probably 1/2).

Area Primary Machine  or Off-Session Machine
Chest Chest Press225lbs




Back Row/Rear Deltoid160lbs


Calves Calf Extension285lbs

+55 lbs

Shoulders Shoulder Press120lbs


Lateral Raise100lbs


Upper Legs Seated Leg Press345lbs


Back/Arms Assisted Chin-Up/Pull-Up55lbs assist/190lbs effective

-25lbs assist/+10lbs effective

All images taken of lifefitness equipment, no rights claimed.

About J.

40 year old IT guy on a health and fitness kick.

Posted on August 24, 2011, in Exercise, Fitness, Weight Loss, Workouts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Looks like a good mix. It is tough to hit the lower back with machines, but if you keep good tension on your abs for some of your chosen movements by default you will also strengthen the lower back, or you could incorporate a once weekly deadlift routine.

    Good luck in good health,

  2. Good for you! Shaking things up a bit helps motivation too I hope this helps your potential plTeau too.

  1. Pingback: Plateau Frustration « 52 Weeks, 52 Pounds

  2. Pingback: What comes next? « 52 Weeks, 52 Pounds

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