Sunday, April 21, 2013

The New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women, Stage 5 Recap

My Stage 1 Recap is here
My Stage 2 Recap is here My Stage 3 Recap is here
My Stage 4 Recap is here.

I'm sooo happy to report that I'm done with (as of Friday) Stage 5 of The New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women. Like stage 4, I was slow this stage and took 5 weeks to get through the 8 workouts (still doing yoga and running in addition to the program). I'm fine with being delayed, especially while in survival mode. Like stage 2 and stage 4 were identical, stage 3 and stage 5 are also identical, so I thought it would be interesting to see how I've improved since stage 3. The first number listed is beginning of stage 3, while the second number is end of stage 5. 

Workout A 

One arm dumbbell snatch: from 10lbs to 20lbs. 
Dumbbell single-leg Romanian deadlift: from 10lbs to 50lbs 
Barbell bent over row: from 20lbs to 70lbs 
Dumbbell single arm overhead squat: from 5/10lbs (you do different weights in each hand) to 10/20lbs
Dumbbell incline bench press: from 30lbs to 50lbs 
Plank: from being able to hold it 50 seconds to being able to hold it for 2 minutes (3 sets!) 
Reverse wood chop: from 30lbs to 50lbs 
Body weight matrix (includes 24 squats, 24 lunges, 24 lunge jumps, and 24 squat jumps): from taking 6 minutes to taking 2 minutes and 52 seconds. <<The BWM was my nightmare in stage 3, but it wasn't so bad this stage. 

Workout B
Barbell Romanian Row from 30lbs to 70lbs Partial single leg squat: from body weight to 50lbs 
Wide-grip lat pulldown: from 65lbs to 70lbs (started this in stage 1 with 40lbs) 
Back extension: from body weight to 25lbs
YTWL: from 10lbs to 10lbs<no change, but I got better at it (hardest lift in the workouts!)
Swiss Ball Crunch: from 10lbs to 25lbs (started this with body weight in stage 1)
Hip Flexion (body weight...more prone jackknifes and reverse crunches)
Lateral Flexion (kept with the hardest variation) 
Prone Cobra: held it 90 seconds for all 3 sets (in all 4 workouts of stage 3), held it for 2 minutes for all 3 sets (in all 4 workouts of stage 5)
Interval training, 15 minutes: In this stage, I just ran as far and fast as I could for as long as I could. I took short walking breaks when needed. 

Here is a look at how my measurements changed: 

                     This Stage                        Total Change 
Bust               No change                             -1"                       
Band              -.50"                                   -1.25"
Right Bicep     No change                      No Change 
Left Bicep        No change                     No Change 
Waist                  -.50"                                   -1"
Right Thigh    No Change                            -.50"
Left Thigh      No Change                            -.50"
Hips               No Change                              -2"
Weight           -2.5lbs                                 -2.5lbs 
So I've lost 6.25" and 2.5 pounds since starting this program (combined with yoga, running, and trying to maintain a healthy diet) in October. Not bad! I didn't expect drastic changes, but I like that I've made gradual changes for the better. I feel healthy and fit and proud of myself for sticking with it. I'm going to take a one week break from New Rules, as is suggested between stages, and start on stage 6 this Friday (stage 6 is optional, but I've come this far, I'm NOT skipping it!) 

Tips for Stage 5

I stuck with 3 sets and worked on increasing weight this stage. 

Keep making yourself go to the gym, regardless of whether or not you want to...these workouts took between 1 hour, 15 minutes to 1 hour, 30 minutes, and sometimes, I just didn't feel up to spending that long in the gym, but when it was all done, I was always happy I did it. 

Going slower through the program is better than quitting the program, so cut yourself some slack if you take a week longer than prescribed. 

Get ready: 2 minute planks and prone cobras are no picnic, but listening to fun music helps distract (somewhat) from the pain...this is my same approach to running. 

Sometimes, you actually can increase weight, even when you don't think you can do it. Ask someone to lift the weight off the rack for might not be able to lift off the rack even if you are actually  able to lift from the ground. Regardless, it is important to keep trying, even if sometimes, you really aren't ready for that increase. 

Having a spot on the Incline Bench Press is essential (thanks Brendan). Having a spot who argues with you...not so much, but I guess I am glad he convinced me I could do 50. 

On the mat, I really preferred 2 sets of 8 reps as opposed to 3 sets of 4 reps. I know it's not what the book says, but so few repetitions left me not feeling the burn I wanted to after the 2nd workout, I took this liberty and do not feel it hurt my workout at all. 

All of this has made me stronger in yoga...I love how it pays off. When I started this program, I thought it would be the physical differences that really motivated me, but since those have happened so gradually (I don't notice on a regular basis), I'm actually more motivated by my strength increasing. 

Here's to getting stronger! 
<3 S, B, L&Z 

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