As described in the NROLFW Overview (suggested prior reading), The New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women is a 6-month strengthening plan. The plan includes 7 Stages, with two Workouts (A and B) for each Stage.
Stage 1 is the longest stage (6 weeks), and it is intended to give you a foundation to build on for the rest of the program. Stage 1 workouts and my improvements are as follows:
Stage 1, Workout A (repeated 8 times)
Workout 1: 20 pounds + bar
Workout 8: 60 pounds + bar
This exercise involved no increases in weight, but I was supposed to work on my form, getting lower to the ground, and keeping my body straighter. I definitely felt as though I improved in these regards.
Workout 1: 45 pounds
Workout 8: 75 pounds
Workout 1: 15 pounds in each hand
Workout 8: 25 pounds in each hand
Again, this exercise was about form and not increased weight. I did Workout 1 with 10 reps and finished Workout 8 doing 15 reps with much better form.
Stage 1, Workout B (repeated 8 times)
Workout 1: 15 pounds + bar
Workout 8: 30 pounds + bar
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Workout 1: 20 pounds
Workout 8: 27.5 pounds
Wide-grip Lat Pulldown
Workout 1: 60 pounds
Workout 8: 85 pounds
Workout 1: 20 pounds in each hand
Workout 8: 27.5 pounds in each hand
This exercise did not involve weight but progressively difficult variations. I started Workout 1 doing 15 reps of the easiest variation and ended Workout 8 doing 20 reps of the most difficult one.
Overall, I definitely felt that I became stronger during Stage 1. I also became A LOT more comfortable in the weight room and overcame some self-consciousness when using equipment that I don’t generally see women around (barbells, squat racks, weights over 20 pounds…for example). The 6-week Stage did feel a little long, and I was feeling very ready to move onto Stage 2. Onward and upward!