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My New ST Plan - Time to Get Serious

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

So one of the things I have ventured into is serious strength training. I've been using weight machines for the past few months, and while I saw some strength gains in my lats, legs, and using the back extension machine, I wasn't really getting the results I wanted. I was typically doing 10-15 reps with 2 sets each on about 8 different machines.

As I've been making good progress on the cardio front, though, I've been keeping an eye out for strength training stuff as well. YOOVIE here on SP really got me thinking about free weight training and started that mentality of "free weights aren't just for guys." And hearing GETSTRONGRRR talk a lot about the importance of ST for endurance sports like biking and the gains he has been seeing pushed me even more in that direction. I finally found NerdFitness, read a bunch of blog posts on there about ST, and it pushed me over the edge.

One of my big goals right now is to be athletic. I don't want to lose weight and still have a high body fat percentage. I want to be strong, have some decent muscles, and be all Amazon Warrior (RAWR). I definitely want to increase my endurance with the whole triathlon thing. And I'm pretty OK with losing weight slowly if need be (with what I've been doing, my health is actually great right now), but I would like to tone up and drop some dress sizes.

So not only am I doing the triathlon training, I'm implementing a serious ST program as well. I'm basing it off this blog entry at NerdFitness (how to design your own workout) for it's simplicity and variety:

Basically you pick one exercise from each muscle group to create a full body routine:

Then (to burn fat/build muscle), I'm starting off with 4 sets of each exercise with 8-15 reps each. I do one exercise after another until I complete all 5, then I'll start back with #1 (circuit). I'll do that 3 more times to complete a workout. Rotating through the exercises helps give me time to rest muscle groups properly and it helps keep my heart rate up a little more.

For example, here are the three workouts I've come up with so far:

Workout A: 8lb dumbbells, Exercise ball, Step
1) Dumbbell Rows (15 reps)
2) Squats (15 reps)
3) Overhead Press with Dumbbells (15 reps)
4) Step-ups with Dumbbells (15 reps)
5) Exercise Ball Crunches (15 reps, then 15 reps each side)

Workout B: Resistance band
1) Rows with resistance band (15 reps)
2) Walking lunges (10 reps each leg)
3) Bridges (15 reps)
4) Plank (30 sec.)
5) Modified Push-Ups (15 reps)

Workout C: 30lb barbell, 10lb dumbbells, 6lb medicine ball, Step (1 level up), regular bar
1) Deadlifts (10 reps)
2) Incline Dumbbell Press (15 reps)
3) Box Jumps (10 reps)
4) Medicine Ball Russian Twists (20 reps, 10 each side)
5) Inverted Body Weight Rows (10 reps)

Each workout takes about 30 minutes, and I wind up burning at least 200 calories during each one.

The goal is that each time I complete a workout, I push myself a little more. Like next time I do the dumbbell rows, I will probably go for 10lbs instead of 8lbs and end up doing 8-10 reps. Then I'll add 1-2 reps a week until I'm ready to move to the next weight. Or for the plank, I will try to do 35 seconds next time I do that workout and increase my time by 5 seconds each time I do it.

There are some tweaks that needs to be made. Like, today I did workout C and had box jumps right after the deadlifts. Not too smart. My thighs were very angry with me and did not want to cooperate, especially since it was 6:30 in the morning. Need to space out box jumps to either #3 or #4 in the rotation. I'm actually not too thrilled about the box jumps, so I might switch those out eventually. That's the beauty of this kind of plan. As long as I pick something from each exercise group, then I can switch stuff in and out if something isn't working for me.

I also like that I have a variety of workout tools. I can use the free weights at the Y, the stuff in the aerobics studio, or I can do a workout at home (or at B's) with just a resistance band and my own bodyweight.

After just a week of one of each workout, I already feel stronger. I was able to get back to my PR of 57 minutes/15 miles on the bike last night, and that was with a constant pace of over 15 mph the majority of the time. Usually I'm all over the place with 17 mph here, 12 mph over there. So the endurance part is already showing itself.

I hope I can continue to stick with this workout and get over my fear of the free weights side and all the guys hanging out there. I'm sad to say I did my deadlifts in the studio this morning, away from prying eyes. Which is not good if eventually I want someone to look at my form. But I was too nervous I wasn't doing it right and really didn't want to look like a weenie. I'm going to continue to watch videos on form and one day I will be brave enough. Hopefully.

As always, tips or suggestions are appreciated.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I love your plan! Way to go!

    I'm terrified of doing something wrong and hurting myself. Lame, I know. Except I actually did, so that's probably why I'm worried. Before I tried running, I started the weight lifting program from the New Rules of Lifting for Women. It was great! Except I never knew if I was doing deadlifts correctly.

    I hurt my lower back carrying an air conditioner up to my 3rd floor apartment (a.k.a. "being stupid"). I did wait for it to feel better before working out again, but obviously I didn't wait enough because my FIRST day back, doing seated rows I felt something go *BINK!* in my lower back. Cue weeks of pain and suffering, muscle relaxers, I even had to take multiple days off work.

    So yeah. I'm going to start some serious ST sometime in the next few months, but under the supervision of a trainer. emoticon Because I'm very very stupid when left to my own devices.

    My "other" gym has 6 week ST classes, I just couldn't sign up for the last round because it coincided with being out of town a lot. The next round they announce, I am in!

    Good luck with your plan! I will check out Nerd Fitness, too. Once I learn some stuff I'll probably feel more confident branching out on my own.
    1857 days ago
    Great workouts! I might have to borrow them :)
    1857 days ago
    I love NF! The body weight workout alone made me walk funny for a week.
    1858 days ago
    Very cool plan....thanks for the shout out!

    There's a couple good books out there. "New Rules of Lifting for Women" is good. I really like "Starting Strength" by Mark Rippetoe. Stronglifts 5x5 is also a good program


    Turn your Beast Mode on!

    1858 days ago
    emoticon I invested in free weights for home. I'm still a weakling so 2x 5#, 2x 10#, one 15#, and one 20# are all I need and I can watch TV at home and do these exercises. My goal is to get some guns! (and a higher butt ;-) ) emoticon
    1858 days ago
    Sounds great to me. I was just thinking on this same subject today. I really need to start some sort of strength training. I hope you do well. emoticon
    1858 days ago
    Sounds like a great plan to balance out your cardio. I read somewhere here on SP many months ago that in our 80s we'll have to do cardio every day to maintain. Or ST, less often. I don't want to have to go to the gym every day when I'm 80.

    Once you jump in with the free weights, you'll develop that thick skin of, "What the h3ll YOU lookin' at?" Then they'll see you mean business and you'll become one of the "guys." Okay, maybe that's going to far, but you get my drift.
    1858 days ago
    Great plan! I wish I had a bigger place, I'd love to get a barbell. Right now I have one 10 lb dumbbell, two 5s and 2 3s, so that's all I can use.

    Take a before pic so we can seeee!
    1858 days ago
    Great plan! I am checking this out too. I used to love to go to body pump class and feel my muscles develop but with the resolutions crowds coming through, I'd gotten out of the habit of going (too crowded) and never felt I got the same results with the machines so I've been wanting to get back on track with my ST. Thanks for the motivation.
    1858 days ago
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