Request of the fitness pros.

lordbeanlordbean Ontario, Canada
edited August 2009 in Fitness
I figured I'd split this into its own thread since I don't want to put what is essentially a completely new discussion in someone else's.

Here's the situation. I'm just about 6 feet and barely managing 130 pounds. I have no gym nearby, live in an area with no public transportation, and I don't have a car. I have the following currently at my disposal:

This bench
1 set each of 8 pound, 15 pound, 25 pound dumbells
A medicine ball
A bicycle (roadbike, not an exercise bike)

As it stands, my workout routine currently consists of a 3-day split divided thusly:

Monday: Dumbell flies, dumbell press
Wednesday: One-arm dumbell rows, dumbell shrugs
Friday: bicep curls, french press (skull crushers?), bicycle crunches

I know, legs aren't included in this split. I've been worried about doing anything that requires loading weight through the knees since I'm genetically inclined towards bad knees. I'd like to figure out some way to exercise them though.

What I'm essentially looking for is any and all advice that will help me even out the routine to include as many muscle groups as possible with the equipment I have available. Here's the biggest factors working against me for consideration in suggestions:

Possibly bad knees
Shoulder joints aren't perfect (discovered when I tried to do side dumbell raises in the past. At least one of my shoulders tends to grind a bit)

Apart from that, it's mostly fair game. I feel like I have a good enough handle on my diet to get enough protein per day to build mass, even with my problematic stomach, so that part should be ok as it is.

Advice will be appreciated.


  • NomadNomad A Small Piece of Hell Icrontian
    edited July 2009
    You're in a difficult position. Without a bench that supports a bar, the best thing you could do is expand your array of dumbbells. Either go buy cast iron ones or a few adjustable sets with plates, up to say 60 pounds or so right now.
    I'm just about 6 feet and barely managing 130 pounds

    If this is true and gaining weight is a goal, I would suggest you do something I'll dub the 'Offered Diet.' It's something I did when I first started lifting (5'11", 135#) with good results.

    Essentially, you have your set diet, at about 3000 calories. Clean food, high in protein. However, if food is offered to you, eat it. Doesn't matter what it is, cake, pizza, beer, more chicken breast, wheat pasta, whatever. You still eat everything else you'd planned to that day. So some days you may actually end up eating, say, 3500 calories, others just 3000.

    The point is two-fold. It keeps you sane while adhering to a relatively strict diet for the first time, it also fluctuates your calories and gets you eating more, which is important at your size.

    It's not a long term plan. You do it for a few months, it'll get you from 130 to 140 or 145 fairly quickly.

    If after a month or so, you've not gained any weight. I would suggest minimum one gallon of 2% milk a day on top of what you're already eating.

    With either option, you'll gain some fat, but if you're an ectomorph—as you seem to be suggesting—you'll gain very little.

    So size is made in the kitchen, but working out is crucial to it doing good and not just translating into fat.

    I'll need to ask a few questions before I can really give anymore advice:
    I'm genetically inclined towards bad knees.

    Says who... your doctor? Have you had previous leg injuries e.g., breaks, major sprains, MCL & ACL tears, torn meniscus, or surgery?

    Genetics don't dictate your joints as much as you might think it would. Arthritis and osteoporosis are genetic, but it doesn't mean you will have it. There's just an increased chance, same as if you ate red meat you get an increased chance of heart disease. However, while both examples may be linked to those causes, both are very concretely linked to a sedentary life.
    Shoulder joints aren't perfect

    Shoulder pain is pretty common. People will experience it either in dips or their bench. Dumbbell work often alleviates the pain entirely or greatly diminishes it. If your shoulders hurt on lateral raises I'd guess either the weight you picked is a little much and you're using too much momentum, or you're simply not used to it.
  • lordbeanlordbean Ontario, Canada
    edited July 2009
    I suppose I should clarify some details about my stomach, since it has a fairly heavy impact on the things you're suggesting...

    I may be an ectomorph, but I have a very bad stomach. Part of the reason I have difficulty gaining weight is because my stomach simply will not accept many of the "regular diet" foods that most people can eat, or at least not in large quantities. Here's a brief overview:

    -My stomach produces far too much acid. I'm on a large dose of a proton-pump inhibitor drug just to keep the level reasonable.
    -As a result of the above problem going undetected (how do you figure out what heartburn is when you always have it? no standard for comparison), my esophagus is significantly damaged. Complex carbs (such as potatoes and bread) often stick in my throat halfway down and must be washed down with water. The same occurs with certain kinds of tougher meat, most notably steak.
    -Also as a result of the first point, I have lost my ability to burp normally. Air starts to come up the pipe, but is never released at the top - something blocks it, and it rebounds, going back into my stomach. Many burp reflexes in a row (if I ate something I shouldn't have) will start to splash acid up my esophagus, making me feel like I have heartburn even when I have the PPI in effect. This is quite nauseating.
    -I am lactose intolerant. Consumption of even a small amount of lactose without a lactase tablet results in extreme production of gas (which in association with the above point, cannot be passed as a burp - it must be forced through the system to the other end).
    -I am very sensitive to sodium. Intake above 1500mg / day at the outside will begin to cause background problems that cannot be solved by drinking water, such as mild nausea, reduced appetite, exhaustion, and probably some other things I'm missing.
    -In relation to above point, consumption of more than about 500mg of sodium in a single sitting will give me indigestion. I've had to become very careful picking my foods in the grocery store.
    -I am mildly sensitive to fat. Pure fat or products containing a large amount of fat (such as regular peanut butter or even regular miracle whip) literally nauseate me. I haven't pegged an exact amount, but I believe the breaking point to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 15g in one sitting. Levels below that can be acceptably broken down without side effects.
    -To top all this off, my fast metabolism tends to cause me to dehydrate faster than most people. I drink approximately 8L (about 2 gallons) of water in a typical day, and up to 12L (about 2.7 gallons) when I've accidentally consumed too much sodium. If I start to become dehydrated at all, the odds I get indigestion even from an otherwise easily-digestable meal go up quite a lot.

    With these points, you should have a better idea of what I'm trying to work with. To sum it up in terms of what I can and can't eat:

    -I can't eat lactose without lactase pills, and milk is out due to the fat content
    -Unless I want to feel sick, I have to stick to low sodium products
    -Low fat products, same reason as above
    -I can't eat anything that naturally causes a lot of gas unless I'm ready to deal with the consequences (biggest examples include baked beans, carbonated beverages, and anything that causes me to swallow a lot of air)
    -I really shouldn't have anything that causes dehydration (such as alcohol, caffeinated beverages, high-sodium products)
  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited July 2009
    Warning: I AM NOT A DOCTOR.

    That said, I believe you have a rare but treatable condition known as Goseeadieticianitis. He/she will have the answers to these restrictions.
  • lordbeanlordbean Ontario, Canada
    edited July 2009
    Heh. Like I said in my first post, I don't think diet is the problem. I have enough methods worked out of getting high protein intake while satisfying all the conditions my stomach imposes. What I'm looking for primarily are tips as to what exercises would be good to perform with the equipment I have.
  • lordbeanlordbean Ontario, Canada
    edited August 2009
    Anyone, anyone? Don't be shy, speak up...


    All I want are ideas for possible isolation and/or combination movements I can perform with dumbells that aren't already on my list. I'm trying to expand my routine.
  • NomadNomad A Small Piece of Hell Icrontian
    edited August 2009
    You need to answer questions about your knees and such.
  • lordbeanlordbean Ontario, Canada
    edited August 2009
    Well, I'm less worried about my joints than I used to be. Few weeks back I started taking a light glucosamine dose and it seems to be helping quite a lot. I feel confident enough in my joints to try some movements that I might have had trouble with before.
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