Here's my dilema. I plan to use machines for the main exercise for each body part (with a couple of exceptions) - for example on my upper body workout, I plan to do chest press, lat pulldown and shoulder press (Triceps and biceps will be completely dumbbell exercises).
I hope to use dumbbells for the second exercise for each muscle group.
Now, here is my problem.
The machines are on one floor and the free weights on another. As a result, there is no way to immedialy follow my final 12 reps on the machine with the 12 reps using free weights. Even if I carried the weights I need and keep them next to the machine, there is no mirror there and I need to check my form.
Is there any reason you aren't considering just sticking with free weights? All those machines exercises (short of the lat pull down) can be done exactly the same with dumbbells and you can work your lats with dumb bell rows.
There is nothing wrong with machines, but using free weights activates so many more stabilizer muscles than the machines do.
The main reason is my club only has 5 lb, 10 lb, 15 lb, etc. graduations and that's way too heavy for me to start with. I don't really want to buy a set of weights because I know I'll progress beyond them fairly quickly.
Congratulations on starting BFL!!! It will without a doubt change your life!
BCBill is right about free weights incorperating stabilizer muscles. I do understand the free weights can be too much at first. Make it a goal to work to the free weights. If its hard you should be moving toward it, pushing yourself and not staying comfortable with certain exercises.
The High Point portion of each muscle group (12 reps no rest switch exercises 12 reps) is the crucial moment. It is very important not to let your muscles have a break, switch exercises and take your muscles to absolute failure. I understand gyms can be very busy, especially with new years appraoching. Have a plan and a back up plan in case the machine or bench you want to use is busy. There are numerous exercises for each muscle group be flexible and ready to use any one of them should the need arise.
You can do this!! You have the strength within you to transform your life inside and out!!!
I hope this helps
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