Today we're doing another “Ask Amber Anything” episode, and I'm going to answer anything about weightlifting. I asked you guys what questions you have for me about weightlifting, getting strong, and building muscle. So today I'm going to answer them — I can't wait for you to listen to the awesome content, and I hope that you'll walk away from this episode feeling inspired to go pick up some weights.
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/90
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You're listening to Biceps after Babies radio episode number 90
Hello and welcome to Biceps after Babies radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, online fitness coach, wife, and mom of four. My guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Hey. Hey. Hey. Welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio, I'm your host Amber Brueseke. And today we are doing another Ask Amber anything episode. I've done a couple of these and then past In fact, Episode 20 was asked Amber anything about macros, Episode # 60, and 61 were asked anything about supplements, part one and part two. So those are some good episodes to go back and listen. And today we're going to do an Ask Amber, anything about weightlifting. So this is where I asked you guys what questions you have. And that's what I answer. I sit here and answer the questions that you guys currently have about weightlifting, about getting stronger, about building muscle. And we have some good content that we're gonna go over today. And I hope that you'll walk away from this episode feeling inspired to go pick up some weights.
Who wants freebies?! 1:40
So before I dive into this episode, I do want to let you know about a freebie that my team and I have put together to be able to help support you because I don't have to tell you weightlifting is like a visual thing, right? And so we're going to talk about concepts on the podcast and we're going to teach you some things about weightlifting and how to make sure you're doing it effectively. But there's a lot that can't be communicated on a non visual platform like a podcast. So what we decided to do was to put together some training videos that go through some of the lifts, and teach you all about the form, teach you all about how to set it up, and be able to compile those into a really accessible, easy to access place for you to watch these videos to really learn about form, learn about technique, learn how to make sure that you're doing these lifts right, and not injuring yourself. And so we decided to put this together as a free resource for you. And so if you go to www.bicepsafterbabies.com/howtolift, all one word, you'll just put in your name and your email. And we'll give you access to that page so that you'll have access to all those videos to make sure that your form is spot on to make sure that you're not hurting yourself, and to make sure that you are able to do these lifts in a way that's actually going to yield you the result that you want. So if that's interesting to you and you're wanting to learn more about how to make sure that your lifts are done properly, head to www.bicepsafterbabies.com/howtolift and will give you access to that page.
Build Your Workouts 3:11
The second thing that I wanted to mention before I hop into answering questions is that some of these questions that people have asked are already answered in a program that I've created called Build Your Workouts. So I created Build Your Workouts for those women who are itching to optimize their workout so that they can accelerate fat loss and build the body that they want. And in order to do that, you have to understand what people who actually have muscle, have the flat stomach that you want, have the tone legs that you want, that you don't currently understand, right, because they're doing something different than you're currently doing. And the secret is that they do not just do hours and hours of cardio, you know that they focus on building muscle through strength training, and that by lifting weights, you're going to build muscle which is the only way to actually speed up your metabolism and get that toned look that you want.
Customize your workout plan 4:05
And with a faster metabolism, you're then able to accelerate fat loss because muscle requires more calories at rest than fat does, which is going to lead to faster results while eating more food. Right? Can I get a heck yes. I love weightlifting, right. And that's not even to mention how empowering it is to walk around and just feel strong. There is something so amazing about just feeling physically strong. And unfortunately so many women are just not even sure how to get started lifting weights which I totally get it can be intimidating to either walk into a weight room with, you know, rows of dumbbells and machines and feel confident that you know, the time you're spending is making a difference. Or you know, even just in your basement like heading down into your basement and looking at the dumbbells and be like what the heck am I supposed to do with you? How am I supposed to make sure that the time I put into this is actually driving me towards the result that I want because the truth is a lot of people show up and they go through the motions, and they lift weights, but they're doing it in a way that actually isn't driving them towards their goals. And they're really just wasting a whole lot of time. And so that's exactly why I created Build Your Workouts, which is a program where I walk you through how to create a customized workout plan for your body, your goals, your timeframe, and be able to put that together in a way that you walk away feeling confident, yes, the time I'm spending is actually driving me towards the results I want, because I have all the pieces in place that need to be in place, and allowing you to be able to have that so that you can follow that program and be able to accelerate building muscle and losing the fat. And that's what Build Your Workouts is about. It's about giving you the tools and the secrets that a lot of people won't teach you because they just want you to buy their program. So being able to give you those tools to be able to create that program yourself and to be able to give you a template that makes it super easy to plug and play and walk away feeling really confident that every time you go into the gym, it's actually doing something that's actually moving you closer to your goals.
Let’s check the program 6:03
So I've created this program, and I put a lot of time and effort into creating it. And I teach a lot of these concepts in that program. And so, you know, sometimes today I'm going to reference that program. Because I've done I've already done the work to create it. And so I'll teach him about things that I maybe don't teach inside of that program today on the podcast. But if you're really interested in diving deeper into this and learning more about strength training, and how to put together your own program, then I really suggest you check out Build Your Workouts, and we'll link that up in the show notes. If you go to www.bicepsafterbabies.com/90, that will be the show notes. And if you just want to go directly to Build Your Workouts, it's www.bicepsafterbabies.com/workout. So I just wanted to put that out there because as we go through a lot of these questions, I was like, well, that question is the answer to Build Your Workouts? Well, I've already created a whole program that answers these questions. So we're going to dive into maybe some of the questions that I don't specifically answer in Build Your Workout. But there's a program that I've created that I dive way deeper into this. So we're just going to kind of scratch the surface. But we are going to give you some good stuff in today's episode that's going to help you if you're looking to be able to optimize your weightlifting routine.
Q#1: How do you know when you’ve injured yourself vs. just pushing hard? 7:15
Alright, so let's dive into your questions. To get these questions. I sent out an email to my email list and asked what questions they had. And we also posted it on Instagram and you guys let me know what some of your questions are about weightlifting. And so that's where I've taken these questions from. And we are going to dive into the first question, which was asked by Carly. And she said, how do you know when you've injured yourself versus just pushing hard? And that's a great question. So one of the biggest fears I hear with women especially as they're getting started with weightlifting, and especially as they're transitioning over from maybe doing dumbbells to barbell work, is this fear of injuring themselves and it's really important to understand that in the scheme of things and the in the terms of like sports and injuries, the rate of injury with weightlifting is actually really, really, really, really low compared to a lot of other sports. So there's actually been research that's been done and looking at the injury rate of various sports. And the way that they present this data is the injury rate per hundred hours of participation in a sport. So for example, soccer has an injury rate of 6.2 per 100 hours of participation. Basketball is around one, track and field is around 0.26, footballs around 0.1, and weightlifting is around 0.0012. So that's like just general weight training. And so when we get worried about this idea of getting injured and yes, it's something that you obviously need to be aware of, you obviously need to be able to do it right. But that rate of injury is much, much lower than going out and playing something like soccer or playing something like basketball. And so hopefully that puts your mind a little bit at risk and at ease that you aren't at a super high risk of getting injured. And, and that one of the things that I think is kind of counterintuitive and backwards is that a lot of people are really worried about getting injured by doing weightlifting. But the irony is, is that by weightlifting and getting stronger, you actually prevent a lot of injuries in the future. And so people will say, Oh, I have a bad back or Oh, I have bad knees. And what they'll do is they'll baby those body parts and they won't work them. And what does that do for the body part it only makes it weaker, which only makes it more susceptible to actually getting injured within everyday life right within just everyday bending, and twisting, and picking up things. If you don't have a strong back, it's going to be more likely to get injured. So that got that like, Oh, I have this injury, I shouldn't work this muscle, is actually the very thing that is keeping you stuck and keeping that muscle from getting injured. And if you take the time to work it and make it stronger, then you won't injure yourself doing things like reaching down to pick up your kid. And so getting strong is so important on so many levels. And I would say for somebody who's worried about, you know, have I injured myself, or am I just pushing too hard? Whenever we are weightlifting, there should not be pain. Anytime that there is pain, that is a signal that this is not about you just pushing hard. It's about like that's actually a signal that there is an injury or that there's something that we need to pay attention to. Pain is just a signal that lets us know we need to pay attention. And so I would say in your weightlifting, the original question was how do you know if you've injured yourself or if you're just pushing hard? Anytime that there is pain that is not it doesn't have a place in your training, there should not be pain. Now burning, fatigue, challenge, absolutely like that's part of pushing yourself hard. But anytime that crosses over into pain, we've gone too far. And that is a signal that we need to stop and readjust and make some adjustments to what we're doing.
Q#2: How to do weightlifting when it flares chronic pain issues? 11:15
Okay, the next question is a little bit in the similar vein. And this question is from merussell12. And she said how to do it, I assume it is weightlifting. So how to weight lift when it flares, chronic pain issues, and she said hips pelvic floor. And so this kind of piggybacks off of our previous conversation about pain and weightlifting, in that if there is pain, that is an indication that we need to stop. Now, what most people do is they'll say, Oh, I have back pain when I lift so then I won't ever, you know, do anything that like, uses my back. And we've already established why that ends up causing more harm than good. And so instead what I really encourage people who have an injury or who have some chronic pain or have things like back pain or knee pain is what you want to do is you want to take, you want to be able to do the movement to the point that you can do it without pain, and then progress from there. So what most people will do is they'll pick up some dumbbells and they'll start squatting and they'll be like, Oh, my knees, they hurt really bad. I guess I shouldn't squat because it's bad for my knees. And instead, what I would love you to do is to put the dumbbells down and find a place, find how you can squat without any pain. And that may mean you know, trying to bodyweight squat, can you bodyweight squat without pain? Yes or no? If the answer is yes, awesome. Then we can start adding weight, right? We can say if I can bodyweight squat 10 reps without pain the next time, I'm going to add a one pound dumbbell or a five pound dumbbell and see if I can do that without pain. And you're simply starting where you can experience where you can with no pain and then progressing from there. Now if you can't even do a bodyweight squat, awesome. Can you do a half range bodyweight squat, right? So if you can do a half range bodyweight squat with zero pain, great, let's start there, we'll start progressing your range of motion and start moving you lower and lower over time. And then we can start progressing with the weight. If you can only do a quarter squat, great, let's do the quarter squat and progress from there. So really, when we're talking about injuries, or we're talking about pain, we want to be able to find what you can do without pain, and then simply progress you from there. So it's not about putting on weights. At first for some people, it's really about like, what can you do without pain? And then how can we baby step that along the way and allow you so we've recently met your body where they're at, and then slowly making it stronger from there.
Q#3: When losing weight, do I focus on the cut before I focus on gaining strength? 13:43
Okay, next question. And this one is from aaronjohnson4 she said, If I want to lose lots of weight, do I focus on the cut before I focus on gaining strength? And this is a question that I get asked a lot, because we talked about different phases of your journey in terms of what your prioritizing, whether you're prioritizing fat loss, whether you're prioritizing muscle gain, and it's really important to understand that those need to be prioritized separately. So when I ask a lot of women what their goal is, a lot of them will say I want to lose fat and gain muscle, right? They like want to do both of those things. And those both absolutely can be done. But what I really recommend because those are opposite paths, like those, there are different paths, the actions that you're going to take to get you towards those goals, that really taking those goals one at a time is really valuable. And so if you're going to optimize for fat loss, awesome, let's optimize for fat loss and then optimize for muscle loss after that. Now, when I say that, sometimes people will interpret that to say, okay, during my fat loss phase, I don't necessarily need to lift weights because I'm not optimizing for muscle growth, and then I'll add weights when I am done losing fat. And that is not what I'm saying at all. When you are when we're talking about how do we optimize for fat loss versus how do we optimize for muscle growth. I'm speaking much more to your diet and nutrition. So how your macros are set and the amount of cardio that you are doing. So cardio is catabolic, meaning it breaks down muscle tissue. It is so it's not something that we typically want to do a lot of when our priority is gaining muscle. However, it cardio is effective it is one tool that we can use in order to induce fat loss. And so your cardio will naturally be higher when you're focusing and prioritizing fat loss versus muscle gain and cardio will be lower when you're focusing on and prioritizing muscle gaining same things with your calories and your macros right? When you're focusing on fat loss, your calories are going to be lower and they're going to be in a deficit. When we're focusing on muscle gaining we're focusing on at least being at a maintenance level with your calories if not into a surplus. So it's very different, like calories are different. Cardio is different. Whether you're focusing on fat loss or fat gain, but the important thing to understand is that your weight training is not different.
Weight training 16:06
Weight train is the same during a cut during maintenance as a reverse during bulking, your weight training does not change during those periods of time. And so the weight program and the way that you set up your program for cutting is going to be very similar to the way that you set it up for maintenance or for a bulk. Now the one thing that will be different is that typically during maintenance and during a bulk, you have more calories, you have more energy, you're able to recover faster. So, you know, while you set up your program, similarly, for cut versus maintenance, you may find that you can't lift as heavy or you can't, you know, push as much weight as you could when you're in a deficit. So that's something that's normal, that's natural that happens. But in terms of how you set up your weight lifting routine, there isn't a change between cutting, maintaining or bulking. The real difference is how you start your calories and how you set up your cardio.
Build Your Workouts and Macros 101 17:03
And if you're interested in learning more about that, like how you specifically know how much cardio you need for your body, and your goals and how much calories and stuff you need, you know, that's where my other programs come in. So in Build Your Workouts, we talked a lot about that, about customizing it to you. And the Macros 101 to obviously talk a lot about how to customize the macros to you. So those are two programs where I dive a lot deeper into each of these different facets when it comes to either maximizing fat loss or maximizing muscle gains.
Q#4: Tips on deadlifting body weight 17:33
Okay, this is a good one from arundhati18. She says I want to squat and deadlift my bodyweight by year end tips for working up to that. So what I will say first, Arun, is that it's awesome that you have set this goal and it's super important for you guys to be setting goals because if you don't have a goal, you have no idea what you need to do in order to get there. Now, if you aren't very good at setting goals or you don't currently set goals I'm really, really going to urge you to go back to Episode 88. I just did a podcast episode all about effective goal setting, and the mistakes that I see so many women making when it comes to setting their goals. And that is where I would definitely start to make sure that you have a goal because of how you eat, how you train, how you recover, how much cardio you do. All those questions can only be answered from the perspective of knowing what your goal is. And my advice to anybody, like verse for their cardio, for their weights, for their macros, for anything is all going to be based on goal what's your goal? Once we know the goal, then we can work backwards in order to achieve it. So it's awesome that Aaron has set this goal because now that we have an end destination, she wants to squat and deadlift her body weight by the end of the year. Now we can work backwards from that goal of how do we get you there? And one of the biggest answers is if you want to squat and deadlift, more weight, or you know you want to get heavier with those weights, you need to be squatting and deadlifting. So often people are like, I want to get my squat up. What accessory movements should I do? And the answer is, if you want to squat more weight, you just need to squat more times. Like you just need to squat. The best way to build your squat is to squat. The best way to build your deadlift is to deadlift. So yeah, we can talk about bringing some accessory work in and stuff. But really, if you're wanting to increase your weights, you just got a squat and you got a deadlift. Now, we can talk about rep ranges, and how the different rep ranges work and how you can work strength versus hypertrophy versus muscular endurance and I talk a lot about that in Build Your Workouts, but specifically for somebody who's looking to build strength, and that's what you know, if you're looking for a one rep max, a one RM of your body weight, you're looking to build strength, that's a single rep, maximum effort, lift. And in order to do that, you're going to want to keep your reps on the lower side. So I would suggest working within the rep range of one to five, that's a strength rep range. And being able to continually linearly progress that weight as much as you can. So what that looks like is, you know, you deadlift today, and you deadlift 80 pounds, then next time you come back to deadlift, you add some weight to the bar, you add 85 pounds, and then the next time you add 90 pounds, and then you add 95. And so you're just linearly progressing that weight up.
Progress in your program 20:31
Now, at some point, you're not going to keep going to be able to add five pounds to the bar every single time. And once that happens, then we need to get into lengthening your block cycles. So instead of adding weight to the bar every time you're looking at adding weight to the bar every week, and then every month and then every training block cycle, so we get into a little bit more complex programming. But for most people, you can get up at least to a, you know, a deadlift bodyweight pretty easy with probably just a linear progression and a squat weight, you know, you can probably get pretty close with just a linear progression before you have to go into a little bit more complex programming. But you gotta be squatting, you got to be deadlifting. And you got to be adding weight to that bar over time. Because adding that weight to that bar over time is what prompts your body to actually build the muscle and the strength that you need to to be able to lift that weight and hit your goal, Arun.
Q#5 :How often do you do CrossFit? 21:28
All right. Next question is from amberklowry. And she said, how often do you do CrossFit? So I personally do CrossFit five days a week, Monday through Friday, and then sometimes I'll lift with my husband on Saturdays. I've been doing some more like powerlifting type stuff on Saturdays just kind of for fun. We do it together. So that's what I currently do. But what's really important to understand about that, is that what I do is based on my goals, and that's not to say that like I'm optimizing for fat loss, or I'm optimizing for muscle growth, I'm happy with the amount of muscle that I have on my body. I'm happy with my body fat percentage. And I'm at the stage where I'm really more focused on performance and specifically challenging myself with new things. So I've, because I've taken the time and I've weight lifted for years, and I've done like two, two and a half years of powerlifting, I got really strong. I'm at the point now where I just want to take that strength that I've built and that muscle that I built and do new fun, different things with it. And so that's what's been fun for me about CrossFit is that I came in with a lot of strength, like I already had the foundation of the strength. But now I could take my strength and do things like handstand push ups, or do things like muscle ups, or, you know, do things like snatches, and I'd already built the foundational strength to be able to do those and now it's just about learning technique and adding in power and adding them speed and things like that. So those are my goals, right though, that's where I'm working towards right now. And that is why the way that I've set up my program works for me, that doesn't mean it's the only way to set up a program or that it's going to even work or translate over to you. And that's why getting clear first on what your end goal is, is so important, because my end goal isn't fat loss right now, right? And so if my goal was fat loss, or my goal was hypertrophy, like adding muscle mass to my body, my routine would look differently. So getting clear on that goal really reverse engineers the process to get you to whatever goal it is that you have, but those are my current fitness goals. And so that's the routine that works for me.
Q#6 :Where do I start on how to lift weights? 23:43
Okay, this next one is a good one and it's one I hear a lot. This is from chrisy_ reynolds5 and she said, Where do I start? I feel like I don't know how to lift weights. So first of all, awesome Chrissy I am so excited that you are embarking on this journey and starting and you know, nobody comes out of the womb, knowing how to lift weights, every single person had the first day in the weight room. They had their first time lifting weights, and they have learned how to do it. So the first step, I would say, is just making the decision that you are committed to learning this process. Because it is something you're going to learn and you're going to get better at, and you're not going to rock at it initially. And that's okay. Nobody not rocks at it initially. But we all just make a decision that we want to do it because we know it's important, and we want to learn and then we go through the process of learning.
So I love to have people start first with just learning proprioception. So proprioception is like knowing where your body is in space. And what you'll find a lot of weightlifting is about proprioception, it's about making sure all of your body parts are in the right space. So when you go into a squat, your knees are tracking forward appropriately, your hips are tracking back so that you're going deep enough, right? It's like being able to keep all that together into one fluid movement. It takes a lot of muscle memory and a knowledge and understanding of where your knees are at like being able to not like understanding where your knees are at, feel where your knees are at so you know if they're in the appropriate position. So, I like to have people just start with bodyweight like getting a bodyweight squat. Doing something like a bodyweight deadlift. And I don't mean like, your weight in a deadlift. I mean, like grabbing a broomstick and learning how to hip hinge and and do a bodyweight, how do you know how to do a bodyweight curl and learn the technique for a curl like what are the things that you need to know about? Where do your elbows need to be? Where do your shoulders need to be? Those types of things. So learning proprioception is really valuable. And, in fact, I have a little fun story about this. So my husband and I have a gym at our house. We have a shutout in our backyard and we've, you know, built it up into a gym with a rack and a bunch of bars, and plates and things like that. And for about a year I lifted out in the gym and then I went to CrossFit, but my husband still lifts in the gym and does all of his training there. And like I said, I joined him a lot of times on Saturdays and kind of do some family lifting. But what's been really cool about that is our kids have been able to see us, right, they, they come in and out of the gym, they see us lifting. They see us doing pull ups, they want to be like us, and they want to try out all the equipment and things. And my 11 year old son, my husband and I have been working on snatches out in the backyard. And so my 11 year old son came out and was like, kind of like watching us and and you know, see what we're doing. And my husband was like, do you know what you want to snatch and he was really excited about it. And so we're like, awesome, like, let's get you snatching. Our goal with him right now is not to add weight to the bar. It's not to do any of those. So our goal right now with him is to work on body mechanics and proprioception so that he knows where his body is in space and knows the movements. And so you know, when he hits 14, you know, 15 is a little bit older and can start packing on muscle mass, that he'll already have that hurdle cross of knowing where his body is in space, knowing what the form is, knowing what the technique is. And so we just got us we have a super, super light bar for him. And we're just walking him through technique. And I think a lot of people try to skip this step, and they go just like adding weight. And if you'll take the time to really focus on and learn technique, you're going to be so much further ahead when you go to actually adding weight because lifting incorrectly with improper form is not going to get you where you want to go. And so starting slower, making sure you have really good form before you add weight is going to be so beneficial for you down the road. And and so this is one of the reasons that I created this page that I was talking about at the beginning of the episode where I've put together some videos talking you through the form, how to set up for a deadlift, how to squat like, what do you need to be thinking about when you squat? How are you benching? How are you doing pull ups, those types of things, push ups, making sure that you have the correct and proper form without any weight before you start going to add weight. Okay.
What you can initially do 28:14
And I think after you've had some of that proprioception and that understanding of body mechanics and form, starting with dumbbells is a really great option. It's a little bit less intimidating, the weights are a little bit lighter. And it's a great place to start. And then I would say after dumbbells if you're feeling ready to make that next step, but then getting into barbell training, barbell training, is superior to dumbbells in the way that we can progressively overload major muscle groups and compound lifts, right? So squatting with dumbbells is fine, but nobody can pick up 200 pounds of dumbbells and like to squat it right. So at some point when you're really wanting to start to challenge your muscles and get stronger and and grow, you're going to need a barbell in order to pick up those heavy weights. So that's kind of the progression that I would suggest starting with bodyweight, get the technique, get the form, right? Maybe progressing then to dumbbells and then making that jump into barbell training. Now there's nothing to say you can't start with barbell training. You totally can. But if we're talking about a progression that kind of helps people who maybe are feeling a little bit uncomfortable with weights feel a little bit more comfortable , that's a progression that works really well.
Q#7: Must haves for building a home gym 29:30
Oh, sbethany asked a really fun question. She said must haves for building a home gym? So like I mentioned we have a shed in our backyard that we have turned into our home gym. And if you are looking to create your home gym again, I would say what is your goal? Right like we always have to work backwards. What's your goal? Are you trying to get strong? Are you trying to build muscle? Are you just trying to be healthy? What is that end goal? And what do you already have, you know, a comfort level with or you already have you already lifted barbells? Are you more comfortable with dumbbells?Like where are you wanting to go? If you are just kind of getting into this starting with dumbbells is a really great option. So if you're building your workout space, and dumbbells are a great first purchase for somebody, and you can get adjustable dumbbells or you can get, you know, an array of dumbbells, but you will want to have at least a heavy, medium and lightweight dumbbell sets, because you're going to need those different weights for different exercises. But that's a great place to start. Now, if you're like, no, I really want to get into like real weight training, I want to be doing some more big compound lifts, which when I say compound lifts, that means you're working multiple mouse multiple muscle groups simultaneously, something like a squat or a deadlift or a bench.
Rack,barbell and weights 30:48
Then I would say a rack is one of the first big purchases that you're going to want to make a rack and a barbell. And you can do so much with just a rack and a barbell. We personally have a titan short rack. So because our shed is a little bit shorter, we have the short rack. It's not quite as tall as the other ones. But that's worked really well for us. We purchased that now it's been three years that we've had the Titan rack and it's held up great. It's been wonderful, is cheaper than the Rogue, Rogue is kind of the higher end, it's more expensive to buy the Rogue rack. I'm sure it's great. But for us when we were looking at it, we're looking at Titan and Rogue and Titan was a lot cheaper, and it's been a great, it's been a great purchase. So we have a Titan rack and then you can buy a barbell. And I would start with I mean it depends on what you want to do. The standard barbell is a 45 pound barbell. And I've always used a 45 pound barbell when I did my power lifting and deadlifts and squats and stuff. Every powerlifting meet that you ever go to is going to have a 45 pound barbell. But then I went to CrossFit and I like magically I was introduced to these things that are called 35 pound barbells. And those are really, really nice because they have a smaller grip, and they fit a woman a lot better. So I've actually really started to like using the 35 pound barbell because it fits my hands a little bit better. So it depends on what you want. 45 pound barbell is a standard. The 35 pound barbell is nice, especially if you're doing Olympic lifting, because you can have a little bit easier time holding that bar. It's a little smaller grip. But any you know, getting a barbell, 45 pounds 35 pounds is important. And I would say invest in the best barbell that you can get. Don't go cheap on your barbell, cheap barbells fall apart just like the barbell is like this, the foundation of your lift. I wouldn't go cheap on it. I'm pretty sure, I can't remember if we went to Ohio, power bar if we got a Rogue. I know one of our bars is Rogue. We've built our bars up over time. So we now have a 45 pound. We actually don't have a 35 pound yet, but we have some trainer bars that we use with our kids that have been nice. So we've kind of built a bar bar or artillery, I guess we have 245 pound bars over time, but rack, barbell, plates and plates can wait can get expensive. Just as a side, I really suggest starting out with getting weights on Craigslist. Now I know with the Coronavirus, it's kind of hard to find dumbbells, it's kind of hard to find racks like all these things that we're talking about are kind of hard. This is not a great time in terms of how much it's going to cost you to be building a home gym because well a lot of people are trying to build home gyms right now. So it's kind of shooting up the prices for everything. But in general I Craigslist is a great place to go for weights and you're usually looking to pay $1 a pound so for like a 40 five pound plate, it's about $45 that's just kind of a general reference for you, you can get under that great but that's just kind of a general thing that you look for in terms of buying weights. And if you can get an awesome set you're gonna save yourself some money probably getting a set. But yeah, that's a really good place to go. We started with Craigslist, we use Craigslist weightless for a really long time. And then when we started needing to be able to, you know, my husband started like deadlifting three plates on each side, we needed to add to our artillery and so we've gotten some Rogue bumper plates as well. But you can definitely get started with just what you can find on Craigslist. So those are the things you need really is a rack of barbell and some weights and you can do so much with adjust those things. And if you want to have some dumbbells, you can throw that in as well. But that would be my suggestion of where to start. Start there. And then you can start to, you know, add on things that you want to add on. Do you want to add on, you know, some rowing or an assault bike or Do you want to add on a box? Or do you want to add on some more dumbbells or a ball or whatever, like you can start to build your gym up that way, but very, very basic, get some weights, get a rack, get a barbell, and maybe some dumbbells.
Q#8: When should I invest in a lifting belt and lifting shoes? 35:14
Alright, the next question is one that I get a lot, because people see me, videos of me squatting and deadlifting stuff on Instagram. And then they have the question because they see I'm wearing a belt, and they see I'm wearing lifting shoes. And so they have a question, when should I invest in a lifting belt and lifting shoes? And the answer to that is, whenever you're serious about it, like whenever you actually are dedicated to making this, you know, a progression for you that you're working on it. At that point, when it stops becoming like, oh, you're just kind of messing around and you're actually serious about it. And I don't mean serious in the way that like, you're going to compete doesn't necessarily have to be that but when you're serious and you're like, you know what I want to get my squat up like I'm going to work to squat as heavy as I can. I'm going to work to like you know, deadlift my body weight. If you're serious about that, then it's time to get a belt and lifting shoes. And just to be really clear on what like, what do those do for you.
Weightlifting belts 36:10
So there's a lot of misunderstanding in terms of weightlifting belts, thinking that like it supports your back or protects your back when you're lifting and it kind of does but but indirectly, the belt doesn't support the back with the belt really is is a tactile cue, in order to brace your abs harder. So when you go into a squat, or a deadlift or any compound lift, one of the things when you're lifting heavy weights is you need to be able to transmit that force. And in order to transmit that force through your body. You can imagine the tighter everything is, the more you can transmit force from your body into the barbell and into moving the barbell. And so that's one of the reasons that compound lifts like squat, deadlift, bench, snatch, clean, like all of those are such good total body work, because the whole goal is to keep the body as tight as possible while you're executing this lift. And that includes the core because the core is part of transmitting that force. And so the tighter we can keep the core, the more weight you're going to be able to lift. And so a tight core is really important when you're weightlifting. And so as the weights get heavier, you have to brace harder, right? Like that's, that's part of the deal. And so what a belt can do is provide that tactile cue to brace and almost give you something to brace against, right? Like you can imagine if you're pushing against a pillow. You can't push as hard against a pillow as you can against a solid wall. And so what that belt does is it provides that ability to like brace really hard going down into the lift. Now if you're just getting new at using a belt, I really recommend you only use the belt for the lifts that you really need. So for example, when you're doing your warm up sets, I don't wear a belt on my warmup sets, you don't want it to become a crutch, or something that you have to have. I don't use it on my warmup sets. But when I get to like those last few warm up sets, which were right before my working sets, that's where I, you know, throw the belt on and use it.
Lifting shoes 38:16
And then for lifting shoes, a good lifting shoe makes you feel really solid. It provides a solid steady platform to push from the soul of a lifting shoe is very rigid, as opposed to like the soul of a running shoe or even a CrossFit shoe which has more compression. You don't want compression, like in a weightlifting shoe because if you have progression, you are leaking energy, right? You're leaking that energy out and it's not being transmitted through your body and into the barbell. So the soul of a weightlifting shoe is very rigid to be able to allow you a solid surface to push from and then it usually has a little bit of an elevated heel, which allows you a little bit better biomechanics for when you're doing something like a squat, and so those are the two things that really help and benefit somebody with a weightlifting shoe. Now, they aren't cheap, like weightlifting shoes run around $200. So, you know, you can get away with not having a weightlifting shoe for a while, it's not something you absolutely have to purchase. But again, if you're serious about lifting heavy, if you're serious about getting into Olympic lifting or powerlifting, then a shoe is going to be a really important investment and the earlier you make that investment, the better you're gonna be able to use it during your progression.
Purchase when you are serious 39:31
So I would say you know, both of those purchases are purchases that you make when you make a decision that you're serious about, you know, progressing this and really, you know, adding weight, you know, seeing how high you can get if you're just messing around with it and you're just kind of doing some general lifting and maybe working more on like hypertrophy and stuff growing your muscle size, then you don't necessarily need to invest in a weightlifting belt or shoes. But if you're really wanting to lift heavy and increase them out that you're lifting, then that's the time to make that investment.
Q#9: Best way to know that you're getting your perfect form? 40:03
Okay, we're going to do two more. The next question is what is the best way to know that you're getting your form perfect. So again, I'm going to reference you definitely go drop in your email and your name and get access to that page that I have all of these lifting videos on, that's going to give you a lot of good form tips and technique. So if you go to www.bicepsafterbabies.com/howtolift, you'll be able to drop your name and email in there and get access to that page. That's going to be really helpful for you. But the second thing that I will say is if you are lifting, and you are currently not videoing your lifts, today is the day you're going to start. If you're not videoing your lifts, you are missing out on learning such important things. It is one thing to think you know where your body is in space. It's one thing to look in a mirror and think you can see your form and it's a totally different thing to video you and be able to watch back the lifts that you're doing. And video in your form is one of the best ways to improve your form over time. And so I video like all of my lifts, I and you know, I video my squats, I video, my deadlift video my snatches, like I'm always videoing and then the cool thing about that is then you can slow down the video to really watch the technique. And as you get you know more into this, you're gonna learn things, you're not going to know all the technique at the beginning, that's okay, you don't have to know the technique. Technique really is about layering cues on over and over and over again. So you start with some of the very basic cues, get those down, then you layer on some new cues. And as you get into doing the lifts, and as you read resources, like the ones I gave you, and there's lots of free resources online and YouTube, you're going to be able to get better at recognizing, you know, errors that you're making in your lifting. And so video in your lifts is so crucial to being able to lift better. And this is not just for barbells. Like I really recommend that people who are lifting dumbbells, video those lifts there are, there's probably improvement to be made in your lifts.
Q#10: How do you know what your starting weight should be? 42:15
Okay, and then this is the last one. This question is how do you know what your starting weight should be, say, for bicep curls or any movement, really, what is the maximum reps you should be able to complete with good form to be able to go up. So I talk a lot about this process in Build Your Workouts, but I will say just really quickly, how to know what your starting weight should be. It's a little bit of experimentation, you just got to start with a weight and the goal is by the end of the rep range that you're currently working in. And again, the rep range you work in is dependent on your goal, depending on your body, depending on a lot of things and that's what I teach and build your workouts. But the goal is whatever rep range you're working in that the last two to three, like repetitions should be challenging, but that you can maintain proper form throughout all of them. And that's what's told you that you've selected the appropriate weight. So maybe you try the first one and you know, it isn't challenging, well, then you know that you need to go up, and you need to go up until you find that appropriate weight. And then the second part of that is that you need to be tracking your weights. So once you find that appropriate weight, right, which the first time you go into the weight room, it's kind of like a guessing check. Let's see, see how it goes. Once you've found that weight, you need to record it. And then you need to bring that with you when you go back to the gym the next time so you're not guessing every time you actually have a place that you're starting from and working week to week. So it's really important in addition to the video in your list, which I just talked about, that you're recording and tracking your lists, because you don't want to be just going back and guessing and just kind of willy nilly in it every single time.
Training or working out? 43:57
There's a difference between working out and training, working out is just showing up and doing some things and like moving your body and there's nothing wrong with that. But if you actually have a goal, you need to be training. Training is working out with a purpose, working out with an intention for a goal. And if that's the case, then you need to be intentional about your training and you need to be intentional about how you're putting your workouts together, you need to be intentional about the rep range you're using. You need to be intentional about the weights you're selecting, and the exercises you're selecting. And like I said, I go a ton more into how to be more intentional with that in building your workouts which we've linked up in the show notes at www.bicepsafterbabies.com/90.
Align workouts with your goal 44:39
All right, so we've come to the end of the episode and I hope that maybe you got your question answered. Maybe somebody else asked the question that you didn't even really know that you had and you got that one answered as well. But I'm hoping that you're walking away from listening to this episode really excited about picking up some weights, picking up some barbells and some dumbbells and being able to progress towards the goal that you have set for yourself. And really making sure that your workouts are aligning with a goals, there's there's two aspects to hitting a physical goal, the nutrition aspect, right, so we need to make sure our nutrition is supporting the goal that we set, and then the workout aspect and making sure the workout supports the goal that you've set. And that's why I have two programs. I have Macros 101 that teaches you how to customize your nutrition towards your goal. And I have Build Your Workouts which has helped to create how to customize a workout to be able to push you a little bit closer to your goal.
Let’s connect and learn the technique 45:32
Last time I will mention it but remember if you're wanting to get some more tips and techniques in terms of how to actually squat, how to deadlift, where your back should be, where your leg should be. All of that good stuff. Definitely go to www.bicepsafterbabies.com/howtolift put in your name and email and you'll be able to be taken to a page that has all of the videos that I've created, that are going to walk you through step by step through that technique. So that you can start deadlifting and know that you are doing it right. I give you the five step deadlift setup to be able to make sure that you're in the right position when you start to pull from a deadlift. So that's www.bicepsafterbabies.com/howtolift. That wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber now go out and be strong because remember my friend, you can do anything.
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