Upper Body Machine Workout

This is my first ever post despite a lot of time recently on these forums (read: dont string me up if I ask something stupid!)

I am a newbie (for the most part), though I have learnt a lot in the last 8 months on Test.net. I have started Ian Kings Limping program and wanted to do his upper body program but my gym only has machines.

I currently live in france but am leaving on July 25th so i cant really change gyms before that. The Limping program is cool though I always thought it was Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and not Instant Legs of Jelly that would increase.

Anway…I want to do two upper body workouts a week to go with my two lower body ones. I have learnt and downloaded from this site various articles regarding tempo, set numbers, intensity etc. but I am a little confused about which upper body machines are worth using. I dont want to waste time!

So: the machines are: Bench Press, Seated Row, Pec Dec, Delt Raise, Lat Pulldown, Another one that looks similar to the lat pulldown but works your sides, weighted crunch, weighted machine to work lower back, cable station, dip machine where the handles move but you dont, sit up benches, shoulder press, bicep curl and i think thats it. Not one dumbell in the place and nothing to do pullups on even if i could.

Feel free to recommend bodyweight exercises as i am carrying a lot of fat and even normal press ups are tough at the moment. Hence the fact that I can do the limping programs squats using only a broomstick as 1: i have never squatted and 2: weighing 235 lbs of mostly fat is enough weight for me!.

Again, if anyone can suggest a split just of the machines it would be cool. If it helps Im intending to do Mon Tue Thurs Fri Legs/UB/Legs/UB. I am very much a beginner when it comes to real training for specific goals so a basic split will be fine. I just get a little dizzy contemplating whether to push/pull same day or do biceps and triceps or to pre-fatigue or or or???

Thanks in advance T-Nation!


Whilst machines are ok at times, it’s the free weights which will give you the best gains in usable strength and condition - but if you can’t find another gym (and I really think you should) try splitting your workout like this…

  1. Vertical push (Shoulder Press)
    Vertical Pull (Lat Pull Downs)
    Tricep push downs
    Abs - Upper/lower flexion
    Lower back - Back Extensions

  2. Legs - Quad dominant day

  3. Horizontal Pull - (Rows to chest)
    Horizontal push - (Chest Press)
    Biceps - Curls
    Abs - Rotational (wood chop. russian twists)
    Lateral flexion - Side bends

  4. Legs - Hamstring dominant day

Select a rep range to suit your goals…1-6, 8-12, 12-15 or 15-20 and enough sets to get the job done. Increase weights on a regular basis and you will progress.

To shift the bodyfat down, include interval training for around 15 minutes on upper body days, plus two longer (30 minutes) on days inbetween your 2nd and 3rd workout, and after your 4th. Take on day off completely and don’t forget to stretch after your workouts!

Do your self a great favor though and get access to some free weights…the kingpin exercises include squats,deads, benches, military press, bent over rows, chins, dips, curls etc. Great progress is unlikely without these exercises in your arsenal.

Good luck Man!

Thanks for the reply the workout looks really good. One small point: Russian Twists? Wood Chops? Can I perform these with cable machines?

Good point about the free weights. I leave France in 6 weeks, the free weight gym would charge me around 50 euros for July. I have already paid to join the free weight void where I currently train. My rent doubles in July as one of the guys I live with will leave but the rent still has to be paid.

The Ian King workouts I have done so far have been OK without weights but reading through his plans I can see that it is not likely to last. I am using a broom handle to perform squats etc. Having never done them before I think its doubley useful: 1, My bodyweight is 235 so thats tough enough. 2, I use the time to learn form.

Anyway, rest assured I will talk to the free weight gym and see if they can work out a deal for me. Again, thank-you for taking the time to respond.