Thursday, 5 February 2015

NROLFW - Stage 5 Complete!

Last week I finished Stage 5 of the New Rules of Lifting for Women program.  Crazy!!  This stage was all about dropping the number of reps and increasing the weight.  I REALLY enjoyed training this way.  But I'll get into a bit more about that in a bit.  I've given you a bit of a run down of the overall program before, and I have done reviews of the other stages, if you're interested:

Stage 3 Overview

This stage had the same exercises as Stage 3, but with 3-4 sets of 4 reps.  This meant that I could really try to increase the weight I was lifting.  I generally did three sets of each of the exercises, with groups of alternating sets built in.  There was also 120 seconds of rest between each set, which I found really long, and cut it back.

There was also the intervals in Workout B we saw in the last stage, but in addition a bodyweight matrix was included in Workout A.  This consisted of 24 squats, lunges, plyometric lunges and jump squats repeated twice.

The Exercises

Workout A
One arm DB snatch10kg14kg
DB single leg Romanian deadlift2 x 16kg db2 x 18kg kb
Barbell bentover row25kg35kg
DB single arm overhead squat4 / 8kg db5 / 10kg db
DB incline bench press2 x 8kg db2 x 14kg db
PlankBW (120s)BW (120s)
Reverse woodchop12.5kg15kg
Bodyweight matrixBWBW
Workout B14/1/201530/1/2015
Romanian deadlift45kgbar + 40kg
Partial single leg squat2 x 10kg db2 x 18kg db
Wide grip lat pulldown47lb54lb
Back extension5kg plate10kg plate
Y T W L2 x 5kg db2 x 6kg db
Swissball crunch*25lb39lb
Hip flexionjackknifepike
Lateral flexion*25lb39lb
Prone cobraBW (120s)BW (120s)
Intervals - 1min work, 2min recovery x 5--


I really enjoy this set of exercises, and totally dug the low reps.  I felt like I could really throw everything I had at lifting the weight, without worrying about rep fatigue.  I am loving deadlifts, and the single leg deadlift was a killer!  In the best way.  I also enjoyed doing some bench presses, although I felt very weak - like I was really pushing to lift at that weight.

With the Swissball Crunch and Lateral Flexion, I found I wasn't getting enough out of only doing 4 reps on a swissball.  So I actually switched over to the Abdominal Crunch machine at the gym.  I just swung my knees sideways to do the lateral flexions.  I made sure I held my abs tight at the top of the crunch, and even 4 reps was enough then.

I still found the DB single arm overhead squat really awkward and difficult  I felt like because I was bending into the squat, I couldn't keep my arm up straight.  But I did feel like I improved, especially compared to the Stage 3 results, so I won't complain.  Similarly, the moves for the YTWL were a little complex, and because you actually end up doing 4 x 4 reps each set, it was hard to increase the weight.

I still really liked the addition of the bodyweight matrix to the workout, but just due to time constraints I didn't always do it after the workout.  I did do the matrix a couple of extra times though, after a short run.  This approach did really drain my legs, and even that 10 minute matrix makes my glutes burn the next day.

120 seconds of rest was recommended between each set.  I found this too long!  Especially doing 3-4 sets of each exercise. Limited time in the morning meant I cut the rest periods to 60 or 75 seconds.  I felt like that was enough time in between sets, and it cut down my workout session length considerably.  I know I may have not gotten the full benefits of the training as a result, but I had to make a best judgment call.


After this stage I am feeling really strong - for me.  I also have some confidence around the equipment at the gym.  I'm happy to get in there and get it done, and I'm not so concerned about other people around me.  I'm getting my pump on, and that's the main thing.

I think I will use the bodyweight matrix and interval training generally when I want to up my heart rate in other workouts.  They were great mini programs I'll be able to tack on to other training plans and programs.  I really like how this NROLFW program introduces you to these kinds of ideas.

Stage 6 is actually all about trying to do a pull up.  Eek!  I'm not sure if it's going to be possible, but I might as well give it a try.  Or else I'll never know, right??

What do you think about resting time between sets?  Is it ok to cut it down in the interest of time?  Do you have any mini routines you do?  I'd love to hear what they are!

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