Thursday, November 01, 2012


During the first four weeks, the group focuses on using the strength machines—what I call Level 1 workouts—first as a circuit, then in pairs, back-to-back, to get a better workout. The machines are nice to start out on, because they provide a safe, controlled motion, and allow you to focus on each muscle group.

After the first month, it’s time to expand their horizons by starting them out on free weights. They notice the difference in their workouts right away because there are quite a few differences between machines and free weights.

Machines guide the motions. Free weights require you to control the weight the entire time. Machines isolate the particular muscle group you’re working on. Free weights force you to use accessory muscles to help stabilize your body during the movements. Finally, since you have to use more muscles, that means you’ll burn more calories during your workout.

While there are hundreds of different free weight exercises, a good plan is to start replacing each machine with one basic free weight movement. I call these Level 2 workouts. For example, the Chest Press machine is replaced by the Dumbbell (DB) Press on a ball. The Seated Row machine is replaced by Single Arm DB rows, and so on.

After a week of basic movements, we did a second free weight workout with similar, yet different exercises. They did the first workout on M-W-F in Week Five, and are doing the other on M-W- F this week.

Here they are in case you’d like to try them. Get with someone who can show you how to do each movement correctly. Or you can Google the movements and view videos on YouTube.

The goal is to do three sets of 10-15 repetitions for each exercise. All of the exercises are performed with dumbbells (DB), at a weight they could lift comfortably at least 10 times. If it gets too easy, use the next heavier pair of dumbbells in subsequent sets.


1. DB Squat (Legs, Hips)

2. DB Press on Ball (Chest)

3. DB Bent Leg Deadlifts (Hips, Legs & Lower Back)

4. DB Single Arm Rows (Upper Back)

5. DB Lateral Raises (Shoulders)

6. Single DB Overhead Press (Triceps)

7. Alternating DB Curls (Biceps)

8. AB Crunches on the ball (Crunches, Sit-ups, and Knee-In’s)

9. Ball Twists (Standing, Lumberjacks)


1. Walking Lunges (Legs, Hips)

2. DB Pec Fly’s on Ball (Chest)

3. DB Straight Leg Deadlifts (Hips, Legs & Lower Back)

4. DB Pullovers on Ball (Upper Back)

5. DB Arnold Press (Shoulders)

6. Bent-over double DB Kickbacks (Triceps)

7. Double DB Curls (Biceps)

8. AB Routine #1-5 (Crunches w/Knees Bent, Crunches w/Legs Up, Crunches to R side w/one leg crossed, Crunches to L side w/one leg crossed, Leg Lifts)

This week’s Biggest Loser was Ashlee Hiatt, who lost 1.7% of her body weight and 3.0 lbs. Second place went to Jeremy Whitaker, who lost 1.1% and 2.6 lbs. Third place was a tie between Sheryl Bennett and Vince Porter, both losing about 1.0% and 2.0 and 2.1 lbs respectively.

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