[QUOTE=sbhikes;994423]I don't have much experience with the heavy weights. I spent 10 months doing a core fitness class. While it was great for improving my sense of balance and beginning to get some core strength, I probably should have quit after 4 months or so and moved on to the heavier stuff. All that work, all that incredible soreness where I was having to brace myself on the sink to go to the toilet, and I never got any thinner or hardly any stronger.
For the heavier stuff I generally do 3 sets of 6, 8 or 10. I'm brand new but already I feel stronger, have a nicer tone to my knees and legs and I can feel that my arms, lets and abs are firmer and there are more bumps showing through the fat.
I'm a fairly chunky woman and always will be. It's probably not possible for me to attain that sleek look or that thin look with lots of muscles that some women get. I will be content with being strong at my current size.[/QUOTE]
The 6, 8, and 10-12 range for three sets is actually what I prefer. I've noticed that I'm not as ravenously hungry the rest of the day doing this also. I'm thinking that i'm going to stick with the 5 - 10 rep range for a while and see how much strength gains I can get.
[QUOTE=brookesam;994436]How many sets of 5 reps before you do the set to failure? And do you lower the weight on the set to failure?
Sorry... so many questions! Believe it or not I've been weight training for years but only increasing the amount I lift more seriously for the last 7 or 8 months. I finally wasn't worried about getting "bulky"! :)[/QUOTE]
you should always include warm up sets perhaps 5 reps at 50% of max, 4 reps at 60% 3 reps at 70%, 2 reps at 80% and one at 90% or even 100%.
Your working sets depend on the program Starting Strength is 3 sets of 5 reps, (3x5) Stronglifts is a 5x5 progam. These are your working sets so you you should be keeping good form but it should feel like if you did one more rep you fail.
[QUOTE=brookesam;993979] Any advice on what kind of program I should start?[/QUOTE]
Something like Starting Strength is a good program to start with. Whatever you do focus on squats, deads, and other compound lifts and you will get big. My arms didn't really start growing until I was squatting heavy.
In my experience for size you want to work in the 3 sets of 8-12 rep range. For strength you want to work in the 3-6 rep range, usually for 4-5 sets.
If I were you I wouldn't over think it though. It sounds like you are fairly new to weightlifting (< 1 year) so anything you do will produce results. Worry about form overall. You can't train if you are hurt.
For the record, I do SS, three sets of 5. After I am done, for example on bench press day, when I am done the full routine I will do dumbell press and dumbell curl, 3 sets of 8 for some size in my pecks and biceps. So I do strength then I do some mirror maintenance at the end.
I know some people say when your done your SS routine you shoudnt be able to lift more. Honestly, when I am done my bench i can barely do my last rep, so I am obviously lifting heavy enough, but still, after i am done the routine I am just not tired or sore or anything.
My week(s) look like this
workout A- then dumbel bench press and curl
workout B- Then dumbell military press and bent over rows
workout A- then skull crushers and calf raises
As you can see, I only add two excersizes so it isn't a huge demand, and I try to hit every major muscle group on its own once a week. I dont do any extra legs cause you do enough squats anyway. If I feel like it I sprint on rest days (but with hockey season now I dont really)
Right now I do every thing every day. I never do a warmup because I'm basically lifting the empty bar or the empty bar plus 10lbs or less than an empty bar (a fixed barbell.) Do you think someone who isn't even up to the level of the beginner starting strength program should split it up like starting strength? Or is it okay to do everything? By everything I mean do 2 kinds of squats, military press, bench press, romainian deadifts plus a bunch of auxiliary stuff. Do you think I would be better off (as in make more progress) if I pushed to lift heavier less reps? I think my trainer was concerned at the beginning that I should stick to weights I can complete without going to failure so that I can do all the sets without degrading my form.
So it looks like I need to check out Starting Strength.
I'm not that new to weight lifting (3+years and on and off before that), but I've only concentrated more on increasing the amount I lift within the past 7-8 months.
One more question... If I focus on strength without getting bigger will my muscles still shape nicely? :) Btw, I just got home from the gym and did 3-4 sets of 5-7 reps of single leg deadlifts, bench press, squats, cable row, lat pull down and military press.
Following a good progressive progam is key. If you are still learning and getting stronger then what you are doing might be ok. SS is good because it offers a good progression where you are trying to add weight every workout.
And one more question... and then another and another and another! :)
For squats today I wanted to move up to 80 because I've been at 70lbs for a while now, but I couldn't get the bar over my head and in place so I had to stick with 70lbs for 7-8 reps. I have no doubt I could squat more but I guess I don't have enough arm strength to get the bar in place. Any tips on that?
I think people make this way to difficult. Compound movements, good form and high intensity(effort) and you will see results. I think high reps, low reps, 3 sets, 5 sets all of those things make little difference. Just work your ass off in the gym whether you are there 30 minutes twice a week or 90 minutes 3-4 times week.
[QUOTE=Dirlot;994601]Following a good progressive progam is key. If you are still learning and getting stronger then what you are doing might be ok. SS is good because it offers a good progression where you are trying to add weight every workout.[/QUOTE]
Good because this is what I want to do. I've been adding weight but it's just been slow over the past several months. I can't wait to see the looks I'm going to get in the gym now! I already get them to a certain extent anyway seeing as I lift heavier than most females I've seen working out in my gym. This is going to be fun!