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Follow-up question: Hack my new strength training routine!

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 13, 2011 at 1:47 AM

Thanks to everyone that answered my question about weight training and fat loss last night. From the various replies, I put together a weight routine that I tried out at the gym tonight. Here's what I did:


Squats | 30 pound barbell | 3 sets of 10 reps
Straight Legged Deadlift | 30 pound barbell | 3 sets of 10 reps

Note: On the above, I felt like I could handle a little more weight, but wanted to get the feel of things before going too heavy.


Assisted Chin Up | 130 pound assist | 3 sets of 10 reps
Assisted Dip | 130 pound assist | 3 sets of 10 reps
Overhead Dumbbell Press | 8 lbs ea | 3 sets of 10 reps
Bent Over Barbell Row | 30 pounds | 3 sets of 10 reps

As a reminder I'm a 44 year old female, 163 pounds who looks and feels great at 140, so that's my goal.

Questions:

  1. Do you think I am missing any body parts, given that these are (all or mostly) compound exercises?

  2. I am only doing two lower body exercises for legs - is that enough?

  3. How is my rep/set count? Should I left heavier weights for less reps? If so, what's a good ratio for how to reduce reps with increased weight?

  4. Lifting 3X a week - enough?

In addition to weights I will do 2-3 short sprint sessions on the treadmill every week, all other exercise will be easy walks or yoga.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on July 14, 2011
at 06:12 PM

@Sabrina - I think you're doing everything right. Asking questions, re-working your routine to better suit you, etc. That you recognized there were things to adjust and fine tune, instead of thinking automatically that your way is perfect, is the first step to awesome. Cheers to you and most importantly *have fun*

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on July 14, 2011
at 02:07 PM

I wouldn't let a man near me who didn't think my muscles were sexy. I'm lean. I'm muscular. I'm soft in all the right places. I'm happy as hell, my energy is off the charts as is my sexual stamina. Deadlifts, hanging power cleans, and front squats are just a few of my favourites, by the way, and I smile the whole time through my sets. I've never felt more alive. PS: I don't play with weights. I respect them and what they're doing for me.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:32 PM

well, maybe not a "woman with a dumbbell in her hand." but who cares about that. Its the effects on a body and mind that is sexy.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 14, 2011
at 01:43 AM

no, i don't want women to be weaker, but was speaking within a purely aesthetical context: a woman with a dumbbell in her hand just doesn't look that much appealing (and i tend to think this point of view is shared my a majority of men, whether they would acknowledge it publicly or not)

74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

(713)

on July 14, 2011
at 01:19 AM

I think he is saying he would prefer his women weaker. I would definitely prefer my women stronger.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:53 AM

The easiest, quickest warmup I've found is the ERG, or rowing machine as you may know it. 300-700 meters done on that and I'm ready to start the hard stuff. Oh, and I bike ride to the gym always helps a bit too.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:51 AM

What does your question have to do with chauvinism? I like my women stronger rather than weaker. If they go about that via barbells, dumbbells, or climbing buildings is all good.

698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on July 13, 2011
at 01:46 PM

You could also rotate with Kettlebell Swings which are amazing, as well I would include a warmup routine and drop to 2x a week. My warmup routine is the following: Burpees (No pushup)/Mountain Climbers/Plank/Hip Extension Do these each 2x in a superset fashion (1 of each then restart) to max each time before starting your set or on off days. Gets your HR pumped and muscles ready!

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on July 13, 2011
at 11:18 AM

It's one of these: http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/ErectorSpinae/BBStiffLegDeadlift.html

74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

(713)

on July 13, 2011
at 03:31 AM

Sabrina, If you want strength, definitely lower the reps. You will be very surprised how quickly you can increase strength initially. I see guys like Michael Rutherford(Coach Rut) working his clients in > 75% of 1rm range. This is the approach that Robb Wolf approaches at Norcal (http://coachrut.blogspot.com/2009/07/crossfit-norcal-is-mebb-gym.html)

F78bfa3ae7886d1ebdbcbc37c0a1b085

(50)

on July 13, 2011
at 03:16 AM

Hi Michael RB - thank you for an awesome response! I've been lifting weights on and off for about 20 years, but I've never been consistent with it. However I am realizing as I age that lifting is critical not only for vanity's sake, but for enjoying a healthy mid-life and old age. The 3 sets 10 reps is just what I was taught long ago and since I've never focused on weight-lifting, never bothered to change it. But it's different now - I want to get the most out of my time in the gym and start seeing results that have been lacking from just doing cardio. Will check out your other links.

F78bfa3ae7886d1ebdbcbc37c0a1b085

(50)

on July 13, 2011
at 03:08 AM

Well, by stiff-legged I meant straight leg with a slight flex in the knees - I know better than to lock my knees. But I will take your advice and do a regular deadlift - at this point, I am open to anything! Thanks.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 13, 2011
at 02:28 AM

Definitely stop the stiff-legged dead lifts right now. Do a normal deadlift. I don't know what of course you actually mean by stiff-legged, but you need to know what you're doing with those. Spinal flexion is playing with fire if you're not experienced. Do not do these at all. You don't need them AT ALL.

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7 Answers

2
74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

on July 13, 2011
at 03:02 AM

How long have you been lifting? I would switch to a normal deadlift as well. Also, journal everything so you have goals to beat each week.

  1. I think body parts are pretty well covered.
  2. Deadlifts and squats are plenty. You can do a few accessory exercises if it suits you.
  3. The reps are determined by what your goals are. Heavier weights produce more strength. Lighter weights produce endurance.

    Are you stopping at 10 reps when you can do more in the first two sets? I like only targeting reps if you are in a beginning strength program.(i.e. starting strength) I like to do several sets of warmup of a an exercise and then attempt to set a personal record.

    I personally do something incredibly nerdy. Based on a previous exercise, I estimate my 1 rm. From there, I estimate how many I can do of my goal reps and attempt improve my 1rm. (I find it really fun and it took me a good 20 minutes with Google docs.)

    Mark Rippetoe's formula is 1rm ~= (weight)/(1.0278-(0.0278*reps)).(This is plastered all over the internet.

    Here is an easy chart for determining http://www.exrx.net/Calculators/OneRepMax.html if you want to lift heavier

  4. 3X a week is plenty

F78bfa3ae7886d1ebdbcbc37c0a1b085

(50)

on July 13, 2011
at 03:16 AM

Hi Michael RB - thank you for an awesome response! I've been lifting weights on and off for about 20 years, but I've never been consistent with it. However I am realizing as I age that lifting is critical not only for vanity's sake, but for enjoying a healthy mid-life and old age. The 3 sets 10 reps is just what I was taught long ago and since I've never focused on weight-lifting, never bothered to change it. But it's different now - I want to get the most out of my time in the gym and start seeing results that have been lacking from just doing cardio. Will check out your other links.

74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

(713)

on July 13, 2011
at 03:31 AM

Sabrina, If you want strength, definitely lower the reps. You will be very surprised how quickly you can increase strength initially. I see guys like Michael Rutherford(Coach Rut) working his clients in > 75% of 1rm range. This is the approach that Robb Wolf approaches at Norcal (http://coachrut.blogspot.com/2009/07/crossfit-norcal-is-mebb-gym.html)

1
36b7a2776d028dc8d5743e2e56ece34d

on July 13, 2011
at 01:50 PM

Keep it fun. Drink lots of water. Don't forget to stretch after training.

1
9adbf19e76ac38da796f29302c4be90a

on July 13, 2011
at 12:56 PM

Do you think I am missing any body parts, given that these are (all or mostly) compound exercises?

I recommend dropping one of your back exercises (chin up or bent over row) and adding a compound chest exercise like db bench or incline. Begin with largest muscle group and end with the smallest in your routines.

I am only doing two lower body exercises for legs - is that enough?

Yes but I think lunges are a safer choice than deadlifts as we age

How is my rep/set count? Should I left heavier weights for less reps? If so, what's a good ratio for how to reduce reps with increased weight? **

3x10 is fine to start but I recommend mixing it up so you don't get bored. Anywhere between 6-12 reps. A good way to judge proper weight amount and effort is the last rep of the last set in an exercise should be very difficult, you should fail or nearly fail.

Lifting 3X a week - enough?

Yes

Remember Dara Torres? She was the 41 yr old USA swimmer from the 2008 summer games. Don't sell yourself short because of age. Good luck and enjoy the journey!

1
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 13, 2011
at 12:51 PM

I think it???s really cool that you actually followed up some of our suggestions, created a program, and gave it a run through. Seeing this really makes me want to spend time and effort in creating effective answers. Good for you. (and I always smile when I see one more female start lifting iron)

  1. No, you are not missing any body part. The very nature of the squat and deadlift are compound and incorporate a lot of musculature throughout the body, also they call upon the largest groupings of muscles like the glutes (ass) and posterior chain (back pretty much but glutes and hams, too).
  2. Squats, if done with challenging weight (all relative to you; ignore what anyone around you is doing/lifting) are absolutely all the lower body work you will need. Until you, say, get to a serious level where you can add some supplemental work like GluteHamRaises, but KEEP IT SIMPLE. Less is more with this stuff.
  3. Rep/sets are tough to call. I would say, and this is just textbook lifter stuff, you can go with a bit more weight and less repetitions. An easy protocol is 3 sets of 5 repetitions for each exercise. This requires you using a challenging load in order for it to spark the growth stimulus to make you stronger, though.
  4. 3 times per week is plenty. Less is more. As soon as you get a feel for what amount of weight is challenging and you perform that your body will be sore and need recovery time. Keep it simple. Do not destroy your strength gains by expending calories that would have been used in recovery for more time in the gym doing unnecessary stuff.

I???d say those sprints will prolly help burn off some fat stores. Don???t let it cut into your recovery when these weights start getting heavy, though.

I suppose yoga is OK depending on the type. Bikram is a major calorie expenditure so if that???s the one you go with I???d say just make sure you???re still recovering well for the next bout of weight training.

Again, cheers to you for deciding to strengthen your body. Muscle is metabolic currency (Carl Lanore is fond of saying that) and every bit of added muscle makes you a more efficient metabolizer of food, and user of stored energy, ie bodyfat.

0
A03f0d03067a43c61786481d91e5d3a0

(1078)

on November 29, 2011
at 12:59 AM

2. You might also want to do something for calves, since I don't believe any of these include calves.

0
9176c233f02f34b9f3e273606dfbefda

on November 28, 2011
at 08:51 PM

You should give the stronglift 5x5 program a try. It's not too time consuming, and really efficient for strength gains. Basically you alternate between workouts A & B (3 training days/week).

  • Workout A:

    • Squat 5x5 (5 sets of 5 reps)
    • Bench Press 5x5
    • Barbell Rows 5x5
  • Workout B:

    • Squat 5x5
    • Overhead Press 5x5
    • Deadlift 1x5

Quote from the website:

In fact, StrongLifts 5x5 is NOT for narcissistic bodybuilders who want to slave away training three hours a day, 6 days a week. It's ALSO NOT for wimps - you heard me - who want to take drugs, slam iron around and get puffy with bogus musculature. And StrongLifts 5x5 is DEFINITELY NOT a grueling HIIT workout where you must "confuse your muscles" and puke in order to get results.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:20 AM

O_o!!!

deadlifts, barbells, dumbbells - call me chauvinistic or whatever, but i can't help wondering how many (if any?) men would prefer their girlfriends to do deadlfits(!) or play around with barbells and dumbbells?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 14, 2011
at 01:43 AM

no, i don't want women to be weaker, but was speaking within a purely aesthetical context: a woman with a dumbbell in her hand just doesn't look that much appealing (and i tend to think this point of view is shared my a majority of men, whether they would acknowledge it publicly or not)

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:51 AM

What does your question have to do with chauvinism? I like my women stronger rather than weaker. If they go about that via barbells, dumbbells, or climbing buildings is all good.

74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

(713)

on July 14, 2011
at 01:19 AM

I think he is saying he would prefer his women weaker. I would definitely prefer my women stronger.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on July 14, 2011
at 02:07 PM

I wouldn't let a man near me who didn't think my muscles were sexy. I'm lean. I'm muscular. I'm soft in all the right places. I'm happy as hell, my energy is off the charts as is my sexual stamina. Deadlifts, hanging power cleans, and front squats are just a few of my favourites, by the way, and I smile the whole time through my sets. I've never felt more alive. PS: I don't play with weights. I respect them and what they're doing for me.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:32 PM

well, maybe not a "woman with a dumbbell in her hand." but who cares about that. Its the effects on a body and mind that is sexy.

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