As I read it you are to increase intensity during the 12 weeks by increasing weights, decreasing recovery time and adding sets or repetitions which is fine. I suggest to not exceed 8 to 10 repetitions for any exercise but rather to increase the weight used.
While is does not as Unident mentioned use the muscles differently using variations of the same exercise can prevent boredom or mental burn out.
Final note, with apologies to Tony Horton, "muscle confusion" is total bunkum. Joe Weider created the term and concept over 60 years ago and it was not valid then either.
1/23/12 2:27 P
Thanks guys. That answered my question! I will definitely be increasing the weight (I think I'll have to add some higher weights to my home collection pretty soon!) :)
Yeah that would be daft. Still, would be even slightly better than what the book appears to be recommending which is the same set/rep/weight combo for four weeks, a change to it then keeping that same set/rep/weight combo for 12!
I'd rather see someone increasing reps to 50 than doing the same sets/reps/weights for 12 weeks! (I'd really rather seen them increase the weight, yeah, but still ... the lesser of two evils let's say).
Yeah I just realized my post is rather contradictory.
I suppose I mean that in general, sitting at a level of weight for 4 weeks is silly even if you're increasing your reps and getting to like 50 bicep curls with that 5 pounder. But in the specifics, it would depend on what you need to do next.
The tendency for people to fall back and say "oh but heavy lifting means bulky" was weighing on my mind and I think that filtered in a bit. Anyway, yup.
CJ I'm not sure what you mean by "increase the weight before the reps". You just said yourself if you're on 10-9-9 then you'll be increasing the reps next workout, not the weights.
I don't think there's a "first" in terms of what to increase 'before the other'. I agree with you that 10 is a good upper limit. If you can do 10 in your 2/3 sets, then it's time to increase the weight. If you can't yet, then increase the reps till you can.
"First" I guess, depends on where you are "now" and that constantly changes. :)
For most people and for general functional fitness, a few keys types are basically complete. A pushup will adequately meet the needs of your chest, triceps, shoulders (in one direction) and core. But if you sometimes want to do a bench press, or a chest fly, or some other variation instead, that's fine too.
There is a lot of talk of "hitting muscles from a different angle". It's poppycock. Muscles attach at each end to bone, and every use of that muscle uses the entire muscle. Hitting it "from a different angle" isn't much use. Imagine a bungy cord tied between two gate posts. You could pull the gate posts further apart and that would stretch the cord. Or (say the bungy runs east-west) you could pull one gate post north and the other one south. This would also stretch the bungy. Do you think it stretches it differently? Do you think it's good for the bungy to be stretched from different angles like this? Your muscles are similar.
A pushup or a bench press or a chest fly will work the same group of muscles. All adequately.
If you want variety, by all means include different types of action, and as often as you wish as they're all functional and useful. If you don't personally like variety, then enjoy your every-workout pushups safe in the knowledge that changing the reps/sets/weights is really enough to ensure you're continually challenging and improving the muscles.
I'd advocate increasing weight before increasing reps. 4-10 on heavy lifts is sufficient for muscle strength and growth, for both men and women.
I use the double progressive system. I'll give an example.
Let's say I bench press 3 sets. On Monday, I bench 225 each set, and my reps go 10, 9, 9. On my next day, say Thursday, I'll do the same but try for more reps. But this time, I get 10, 10, 10. The next time I lift, I'm going to increase the weight, and I'll bench 235. Maybe that time I get 8, 7, 6. I'm going to keep lifting at 235 until I get to 10, 10, 10 again.
That's the double progressive system. Increasing reps to a max out point, then increasing the weight and 'starting over'. It's the best system out there.
1/23/12 1:16 P
Even if I do increase weight or reps, should I change the type of exercise I am doing?
Twleve weeks is a heck of a long time to do the same sets, same reps, same weights. Your body would definitely not be getting as much benefit from each workout by the end.
In my PT training, it was emphasised that something should increase every single workout. Either how many reps you can accomplish, or the weight. If you're up to 2x12 of a workout then increase the weight, even if you start with doing only 2x4. But next time you come you might do 5 the first set and 4 the second - that's an increase of 1 rep that workout.
It's up to you how you want to proceed but yes, I'd recommend increase reps or weight pretty much every time, or at least every week.
1/23/12 12:37 P
I've had this book forever, The Body Sculpting Bible for Women. I'm using its weight training suggestions. Been doing the "break in routine" for two weeks. I checked the book to see what I should change for today, the first day of my third week. I was surprised to see that they recommend doing the routine for 4 weeks, then upping the number of sets, increased weight. Then having shorter rest periods. The same exercises for 12 weeks, really? Even when you increase the weight over time, shouldn't you change up the type of exercises at least?
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