HI - I'm halfway through the first phase of the NRL4W program. I felt pretty in the dark wondering how heavy to start, not having any point of comparison. I would try something extremely easy (I did a first trial workout that I didn't count) and realize I was way off target, so I would give my best guess for what increase would make it possible, but tough, to complete the reps. I often guessed wrong and could not complete. I'm also trying to figure out how to follow the author's suggestion to increase a little bit each workout (though I understand this isn't always possible, especially if you've gotten ahead of yourself on weight!). I guess some of the things I'm wondering are: 1) if I have been unable to finish two sets of 15 in one workout, but came close (say 15 on the first set, 12 on the second), should I then use the same weights for the next (where the reps go down to 12), or should I try to increase anyway ? 2) If I do, say, 15 lbs on dumbell shoulder presses completing with difficulty, should I move up to 20 lbs for the next workout realizing that I will certainly not complete them? Is there any harm in changing weights between sets, like one set with 20lbs and a second set with 15 lbs? 3) I'm wondering in general how to find the balance between a good, challenging workout and a good, COMPLETE one. 4) For the first few workouts I was still a little sore 48 hours later, and now I can't really feel it 24 hours later - is this normal?
Any and all advice welcome! I really want to get as much out of this as I can.
It's not always increasing the weight. It could be increasing the reps i.e. completing all 15 reps for all 3 sets when you only did 2 sets of 15 and 1 set of 12 for your last workout. Reducing the rest period between sets or even same weight, same reps, same rest only better form.
I think the point of "increasing resistance with every workout" is more a goal than a specific instruction. You can get complacent without having this objective.
The reason your logs have a place for reps and weight of each set is to give you the flexibility to change either at any time in your workout.
I missed that key word on trying to up the weights once a workout or week or whatever it is the first few times I did the program, and following programs, I just tried to lift heavier when the weights got too easy.
Right now I do try to increase the weight of at least one exercise each time I do the workout. Sometimes it just doesn't work. For example I tried to add to my step ups to 30 lbs was only able to complete 3 reps per leg then finished the rest of the sets back at the 25 lbs.
Last week I went up to 30 lbs on the db single arm shoulder press thing but was only able to do about 3- 4 reps per arm vs the 8 the program called for. I did 2 sets at the high weight then finished the next set @ 25 lbs for the 8 reps and it was almost easy.
What I try to do now is increase the weight on something that seemed easier to complete the last time. Usually what I do is when something is easier I'll note on my log "increase weight next session" so when I review the log I see where I can go up. If I fail after a few reps I'll finish the set with the lower weights. Sometimes I do one rep and realize that although the one weight was too easy the next step up is too hard. I am looking to invest in the 2.5 lb plate things you add to dumbells so I wouldn't have to do the 5 lb jump each time, cause that is sometimes too much. I do also use my 3lb wrist weights for some exercises - luckily on the barbell stuff the gym has the small 2.5 plates.
If you aren't ready to move up don't. I still can't do much weight for shoulder stuff but am progressing fairly well in leg stuff. I wouldn't increase until you can do the prescribe reps with comfort
I too always am sorest the first time I do a new workout, after that not so much. So when I went to a phase 1 to 2 I'd really be sore with the doms cause you are working the muscles differently but then they won't be bad again until the next phase. so that sounds pretty normal to me.
Well You are doing 2 sets. When I do it is set 1 is too easy I go harder on set 2. If I can manage set 1 and set 2 fine but not by much I make a note in my file that says go upnext time. If I'm killing myself and unable to complete or barely able I leave myself a note that says :do not go up.
My understanding is it should be hard but not so hard that you can not complete.
So not every time did I go up but I went up over the progress of the weeks. For example my lunges are awful and it would be a few times before going up same with step ups.I went from starting both at 10 lbs in each hand and ending at 30 lbs in each hand which went 10,220.127.116.11. So i guiess that is 5 increases iover the whole program ( ok and I barely made 30 on lunges)
I agree with dbackerfan that you should keep notes and increase if things seem easy. It's a good idea to try to increase weight (or reps) on at least one exercise per workout, but sometimes it just doesn't happen.
In the example you give where you could not quite complete 2x15, but the next week you are doing 2x12 --- then yeah, you should use the same weights for the 2x12. You have to remember that going from 15 lbs, to 20 lbs. is a big jump. 33%! Try and find lighter increments if possible. Also, like dbacker says, some gyms have 1 or 2.5 lb plates that you can add to increase weight more slowly.
In my mind it's better to complete the workout with good form with a weight that challenges you and makes it difficult to push through those last reps.
oops, double post
I keep good notes from workout to workout so I know what to do the next time.. With stage one, I was usually able to bump up 2-3 things each time. I also kept track of what I ate within the couple hours before and up to the workout. If you do this you will soon find out that coming into a workout after a several hour fast will set you back quite a bit. Did for me anyway:). I always lifted best when I had eaten within the hour or two before my workout and a prework shake was helpful as well. On to stage two next week for me:))
ETA: But I also did 15 reps the whole way through stage 1 (arggggg) because I didn't look at the workout plan close enough, so don't pay too much attention to anything I say:))
I'm not a lifting expert so take this with a grain of salt. I do 3 sets for most lifts. In my current program I'm doing 6 reps. So what I do is in the first set I do as many reps as I can but stop at 6, set 2 the same, and set three the same. This might mean I end up doing 6,5,3 or some such thing. When I can do 6,6,6 I up the weight 5 lbs. next time. If I can do three sets of 6 of the lighter weight chance are I will be able to get 6 in the first set when I move up.
As far as soreness goes, I'm only sore if I come back after not lifting at all for several weeks.
Thank you all - this is helpful. I won't be so hard on myself when I can't go up then. I figured as much, but it's good to hear no one is really able to do more weight each time! I'll have to look in to the smaller plates. And I didn't know there was such a thing as a weighted wrist band. It's especially the small dumbbells where I have gone from 15 to 20 but I'm afraid I've totally maxed out there! Finding a way to add a pound or two before the full five pound jump would be ideal.
I utilize a progressive superset style workout that is in 3 week rotations of the same weight.
The first week I will do (sets x reps) 4x 8 then the next week 5x 8 then 6x 8 the third week; the following week when I return to the gym I up the weights I have been using and drop back to 4 sets.
I usually perform 2 supersets then a few singular excercise for instance here was yesterdays workout.
Superset 1 - Deadlift (4x8), DB Press (4x8-10)
Superset 2 - Renegade Rows (4x16 (8 each arm)), Dips (4x8)
One arm Snatches (3x10 each arm)
Incline DB Press - 3x10
This is a new style I started about a week ago after reading some of Mike Geary's writtings including the truth about 6 pack abs. Prior to this I was working on a reverse pyramid style doing 5-8 excercises a day for 4 sets each and I would increase weight with each set while dropping reps so something like 12 reps, 10 reps, 8 reps, and 6 reps for my 4 sets.
here are examples of the small weight plates, they are magnetic so wouldn't work on rubber dumbbells or barbells
and the wrist weight
I got mine at walmart
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