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Old 06-22-2011, 06:12 PM   #41
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Looks pretty cool. If you cannot work out the back squat, can you turn around and face the machine and do either a front squat or a bent leg dead lift?

IMO either of these is perhaps better anyway than the back squat.

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Old 06-22-2011, 06:19 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
I haven't gotten the squat working well yet. ...the problem is, when I load things up, it's hard to get the squat bar into position without having to bend down too far. I have to pull it over my head. If I have to bend way down, they I'm risking my back. I'm talking to their tech support, which is good, and I've got some things to try.
I wish I had a great answer for you but I don't, I noticed the same thing. However, it didn't bother me once I got used to it because it was only the first rep that I had to bend down too far and I just took it really easy starting out. Subsequent reps I just never went below thighs parallel to the ground. Yes, I realize you've already figured that out.

If you hear a better way, I'd be interested myself...I hope you like your Bowflex, I found mine to be very effective and safe to work with alone (no spotter).
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Old 06-22-2011, 06:21 PM   #43
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What do you mean by a "front squat?"

I can do a squat using the hand grips, but I have to work out some details on that.

I can do a dead lift like this:

DeadLift.jpg

But I'd be too worried about my back.

Actually, you've made me realize that I could a "dumbbell squat" like this:

DumbbellSquat.jpg

And set it up so that I don't have to have the resistance on all the way to the floor. That is, the rods would engage only when my thighs are parallel to the floor. Thanks, Ha.
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Old 06-22-2011, 06:29 PM   #44
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Al, I don't know much about squats but from your description of the other exercises, you're doing just fine with them! I'm glad to read that you are being careful not to overdo at first. There's plenty of time for slowly increasing weights as you become accustomed to the machine.

There's an old saying that you probably know, "Better light and right, than strong and wrong." In other words, make sure you have the form correct first, and then you can always add weight as time passes. The reason is to prevent injuries and get the desired benefit. Although this saying was meant to apply to free weights, I keep it in mind even when using the machines.

The gym was so hard for me today, for some reason. It felt as though all the weights were heavier! I barely made the last rep on the overhead press and a couple of other machines. Oof. At least I was able to complete my workout as before, but just barely. Maybe it's the extreme humidity and heat - - even though the gym is air conditioned, it seemed like the AC was barely keeping up.
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Old 06-22-2011, 06:32 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
What do you mean by a "front squat?"

I can do a squat using the hand grips, but I have to work out some details on that.

I can do a dead lift like this:

Attachment 11977

But I'd be too worried about my back.
What I mostly do is deadlifts. I have never hurt myself that way, but I have with squats. Re the front squat, with a barbell you clean the bar to your chest just below your chin, then squat keeping very straight. You can't usually use as much weight as the back squat. But looking at your last drawing, either face the machine forward or backward, and clean the hand grips to your shoulders, and squat. Also, if you can place your feet pretty much inline with the handgrips, you can do a very straight backed deadlift. Squat down, grab the grips, and stand up. Rinse, repeat. To me, this is the way to go.

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Old 06-22-2011, 07:18 PM   #46
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I noticed the same thing. However, it didn't bother me once I got used to it because it was only the first rep that I had to bend down too far and I just took it really easy starting out. Subsequent reps I just never went below thighs parallel to the ground.
That's helpful.

So you bend way down and pull the squat bar up and over your head?

I would like to only be able to do about 10 reps. How many reps do you typically do?

The tech suggested that I have the squat straps loosened all the way, put the bar on my back, and then tighten the straps (like tightening a backpack). I can't try that yet, because the seller still has one of the straps (I'll pick it up Saturday).
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:36 PM   #47
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Actually, you've made me realize that I could a "dumbbell squat" like this:
Unless you're squatting a couple hundred pounds, I think the free weights will give you far more control than the machine's constraints. The body's micro adjustments to control the weight are at least as helpful as the gross-motor coordination.

And if you are squatting a couple hundred pounds then you'd use the weights on a squat rack.

I've learned to hate squats & lunges, but they seem to be the best combination of low-impact and strength-building for injured knees.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:45 PM   #48
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Well, with the dumbbells I'd have 45 pounds in each hand, and I could do up to 20 reps and never went near failure. So I figure I'd need maybe 60 pounds to be able to do only 8 reps. There's no way I could feel confident pulling 60 pounds off the floor.
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:10 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
What do you mean by a "front squat?"

I can do a squat using the hand grips, but I have to work out some details on that.

Actually, you've made me realize that I could a "dumbbell squat" like this:

Attachment 11978

And set it up so that I don't have to have the resistance on all the way to the floor. That is, the rods would engage only when my thighs are parallel to the floor. Thanks, Ha.
This last photo is what I mean by dumbbell deadlift. It is really the same thing as a dumbbell squat when done this way. Perhaps you are thinking of straightlegged deadlifts, which I do not do.

Try 50# in each hand. If that is not enough, try 60.

Also, I don't know if I posted it, but there is research from McMaster U that showed that 3 sets x reps to failure with (.3)* 1repmax weight were more effective at stimulating muscle fiber-growth associated hormones than 3 sets x reps to failure with (.7)* 1repmax weight. No comparison was made with fewer sets, or only one set to failure.

I plan to bring by trap bar from my son's and get some cardboard box or something to slide it under my bed with, then use it and some plates that I can store in the corner to get most of my workouts right here. I'll have to get a good mat to set the rig down on, but I would never need to drop it. I can also work in the garage. I'll start at 115, and see if I need more. But I plan to do 3 sets of each exercise, each one to failure. I am reading the Body Science book, and I am impressed, but IMO there are some real jumps that are not necessarily valid. Might be, but I can't find any research to support it.

Also, there may be some things for which volume is not at all important, and others where it is- like bone mineral density or ligamentous toughness.

Overall, I do like the idea of less weight and more reps, because it is way less likely to get away from you, and if it does it is way less likely to cause havoc. and you don't have to psych yourself up to start.

Trap Bar Deadlifts 275 lbs x 61 reps - Bing Videos

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Old 06-22-2011, 09:14 PM   #50
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Well, with the dumbbells I'd have 45 pounds in each hand, and I could do up to 20 reps and never went near failure. So I figure I'd need maybe 60 pounds to be able to do only 8 reps. There's no way I could feel confident pulling 60 pounds off the floor.
Well, under most circumstances that'd be squat-rack time, but another alternative to 60 pounds would be single-leg squats with 30 pounds.

I've been consistently building up my knees by doing double-leg squat sets with 50 pounds for a year. At this point in earlier times, in typical competitive testosterone-poisoned guy mode, I would have kept raising the weight until I couldn't pull it off the floor to squat it. Besides, hoisting weights one at a time up onto massive squat-rack-supported barbells, grunting with effort as we pile them on, makes us chick magnets.

But now I keep the same 50 pounds and focus on absolutely perfect form with explosive power. It's been the same weight for over a year but I can still finish three sets of 15 reps with trembling hamstrings and dripping in sweat. I also move a lot faster from one exercise to another to keep up the heart rate and accelerate my fatigue, so by the time I get to squats I'm already a hurtin' puppy. I guess in some small manner it's vaguely similar to CrossFit.

But I take comfort from knowing that if I ever get competitive again about the mass then I can revert to single-leg reps.
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Old 06-23-2011, 02:27 AM   #51
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Al - congrats on picking up the Bowflex. i can't help you with the squat problem - I don't do squats or any leg exercises on my Bowflex. The machine takes a while to get used to, given the rod system allows muscle movement in all directions during an exercise. Its just as much exercise maintaining a good range of motion as it is lifting the weight itself. After using it a while you'll develop your own set of favorite exercises that will maximize the benefits of the workout.
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Old 06-23-2011, 04:59 PM   #52
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That's helpful.

So you bend way down and pull the squat bar up and over your head? Yep, then I go into the deep knee bend to start and carefully stand up, then never go below thighs parallel to the ground after the first rep. And with the Bowflex the resistance gets stronger and stronger (unlike a weight stack), so the start of most exercises is easier (less resistance) than the last few inches.

I would like to only be able to do about 10 reps. How many reps do you typically do? I am almost always** shooting for 8 to 12 reps. If I can't do 8, I back off on weight/resistance. If I can get past 12, it's time to increase resistance. My goal is building/maintaining muscle, otherwise I'd be going for high reps (ie, if weight loss was my goal). YMMV

** If it's abs or anything where my back is targeted, I pick my resistance based on 20-24 reps because I don't want to risk a back strain. If I strain and arm or leg muscle it's a temporary nuisance, a back strain is a lot harder to recover from and more debilitating while it's on, again YMMV.

The tech suggested that I have the squat straps loosened all the way, put the bar on my back, and then tighten the straps (like tightening a backpack). I can't try that yet, because the seller still has one of the straps (I'll pick it up Saturday). Longer (custom) straps would help, but I've never resorted to that, shouldn't have to IMO.

BTW, I also use dumbbells to augment my Bowflex lifts. Better for some exercises IMO.
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:16 PM   #53
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^^^^ Al after Bowflex workout
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