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Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Fitness Tip #5: From a 32-year Fitness Novice

Last Friday I took you through about 1/2 of my 3-4 day per week workout. The one I’ve been doing for 32 years now. I broke down each machine I use to illustrate. As I said before, don't be intimidated by the weight machines. They’re designed for people like you and me who lead active lives, are not trying to become competitive bodybuilders or pro athletes. Rather just trying to maintain good health, strength and flexibility. Btw, I should note that, due to an old hernia repair.. I know, maybe TMI but… I do not use any leg machines other than the aerobics machines I discussed earlier. As you are there in the gym, you will be able to understand the illustrations attached to each leg machine. Just remember, to avoid injuring your back be sure to keep pressed firmly up against the backboard while in your seat. Use like machines while you are working like muscles for maximum benefit.

I left off last Friday with the Chest Press machine.
Next to the… in order…
  1. Universal Machine’s Assimilated Row pull. The Universal Machines offer several exercises using various hand grips. One that I use is an angled bar. Sitting on the bench facing the machine, arms extended, feet on the angled platform. As you pull toward your chest, keep your elbows up concentrating on working the upper back. Roll your shoulders as if rowing a boat. Do 3 sets, 12-15 reps. Again, for ALL machines, use an appropriate amount of weight to work with.
  2. Universal Machine’s Shoulder Pull down. This exercise will work the area from the top of your shoulders to your neck as well as a bit of the upper back. It is a long angled bar with grips that you attach to the Universal Machine over your head. You then pull straight down to your chest as I do… or you can bring it behind your head. Holding for a 2 count in the extended and retracted positions. 
  3. Overhead Press Machine works your deltoids by lifting the curved bar overhead while sitting down. While not letting the weight plates touch, breath IN as you lift upward and breath OUT as you lower the bar. Go slowly and “feel” the muscles working. NOTE: Don’t SUCK air in BLOW out air heavily. Breath normally but purposefully, filling and emptying your lungs with air.
  4. Deltoid Extension Press. Again sitting down, this machine works the very ends of your deltoids as you raise your elbows from your sides to position your arms parallel to the floor.Your elbows and forearms should be pushing against the pads as you raise and lower your arms. Again, keep your back snug up against the backboard.
  5. Next, I use some dumbbells (optional) for additional shoulder and arm exercises.
  6. Now it’s time to wrap up your workout with your arms routine. Start with your triceps. There’s a good machine for triceps, Triceps Extension, that supports your elbows (sitting down) as you extend your arms while the pressure point is on your triceps… not biceps. I prefer to again use the Universal Machine’s angled bar which I pull down from overhead, lean slightly forward bringing it down to about waist level… then back up. Never locking my arms in either up or down position. Which can cause harm to the wrist and elbow joints. This is also true with ALL machines. So, a word of caution here. DO NOT lock your arms or legs out to full extension so as to avoid joint injury. 
  7. The last machine is the Biceps Press. This machine isolates your biceps (sitting down) by supporting your upper arms(under your triceps) with a large pad as you lift and pull towards you by gripping the angled bar in front of you. For both the Triceps Extension and the Biceps Press you should adjust your seat setting so that your shoulders are just below ear level.
That’s it!!! You’re done. Now’s a good time to stretch a little while you cool down and head for the shower. It’s never a good thing to just walk out the gym door without cooling down or showering. I see guys do this all the time. I think, just so they can show off while their still pumped up! But, hey, you risk cramping by doing that. Now’s the time to let your body relax and recover, have a protein shake and get ready for your next gym workout! 

See ya’ next Friday for a new Friday Fitness tip #6!

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a fitness expert in any way. I’m not a certified trainer, dietician, or medical doctor… nor do I hold a degree in physical education, dietary science, sports medicine or any other field related to today’s fitness. I am just a normal guy who’s been working out regularly at a gym, 3 - 4 days per week for the last 32 years. I take my health seriously. I figure, I do no service to my profession as a Voice Actor/Voiceover Talent (sometimes on camera) nor to anyone else if I don’t try and maintain good health. And I’ve learned a few things along the way that I’d like to share with you. These ideas work for me and just might work for you. Stay tuned for many more tips to come! 


  1. Sean Daeley 7:40pm Dec 11

    Thank you for the detailed article, Rick! One note of caution, though. Doing lat pull downs (shoulder pull downs, in your article) behind the neck can cause a number of neck and shoulder impingement issues, especially for inexperienced lifters. I agree that machines are great for beginners, people rehabbing from injury, and those wanting to improve muscularity without becoming bodybuilders, but I encourage anyone looking to workout at the gym or in general to try out a variety of tools (free weights, resistance bands, fitness classes, preferably under the supervision of an experienced trainer) and find what works out (get it?) best for them. All of them offer health benefits, some offer benefits the others lack (portability, safety, improved core strength and stability) Like most things, the journey to fitness is a highly personal one , and I appreciate you sharing yours so others might benefit from it!

  2. Rick Lance
    Hi Sean... thanks for your comments here! You make some strong points. Perhaps I should have made a note that everyone should get approval from a physician before starting a gym routine. I will do that and add a line in my disclaimer as well. As you know, I'm not legally certified at anything related to fitness. I'm only suggesting what has been working for me. And only to those who have their own basic health together before taking on any exercise program. I have two friends that are certified trainers and Im expecting to call on them for advice soon. Yes, fitness is a personal thing, of coarse, which is one thing that prompted me to begin this series. People who know me have ask me about my routine for years. As long as I believe I'm doing some good and there is interest out there, I'll continue. If not I'll just keep it all to myself. Thanks again for your attentiveness!

  3. Sean Daeley
    You're doin just fine, Rick. You do a very good job of outlining that this is what works for you, and basing your suggestions from that. If you had experience with the other tools I mentioned, I'm sure you'd make recommendations there, too.