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 4 – like Stages 2 and 3 – is a three week stage. Exercises are done in three sets with eight repetitions. The goal is to build strength from the 3 sets of 6 reps in Stage 3. Stage 4 has a pretty even balance of leg, arms, and abs exercised – about 3 moves focusing on each of those groups per workout. Here’s my progress for each exercise:
Stage 4, Workout A (repeated 4 times)
Front Squat with Push Press
Workout 1: 55 pounds
Workout 4: 55 pounds
*this exercise was very difficult for me. I didn’t feel like it got any easy throughout, so I never felt comfortable adding weight. If I had a spotter, I might have been more likely to add another few pounds.
Workout 1: 30 lbs in each hand
Workout 4: 30 lbs in each hand
*again, I thought increasing weight in this exercise could have led to injury. Also, since the weights were being held by more arms, I felt more limited by more arm strength than my ability to use my legs to step-up with the weight.
Dumbbell One-point Row
Workout 1: 25 pounds in each hand
Workout 4: 35 pounds in each hand
Static Lunge, Rear Foot Elevated
Workout 1: 30 pounds total
Workout 4: 25 pounds in each hand
*I started this exercise holding one weight at my chest with both hands and progressed to holding weights in each hand at my side.
Workout 1: 3 sets of 8
Workout 4: 3 sets of 8
*I can definitely feel my push up form improving!
Workout 1: 3 sets of 120 seconds
Workout 4: 3 sets of 120 seconds
Cable Horizontal Wood Chop
Workout 1: 17.5 pounds
Workout 4: 22.5 pounds
Stage 4, Workout B (repeated 4 times)
Wide Grip Deadlift from Box
Workout 1: 20 pounds + bar
Workout 4: 25 pounds + bar
Bulgarian Split Squat
Workout 1: 30 pounds plus bar
Workout 4: 40 pounds plus bar
Underhand-grip Lat Pulldown
Workout 1: 90 pounds
Workout 4: 100 pounds
Reverse Lunge from Box with Forward Reach
Workout 1: 10 pounds each hand
Workout 4: 12.5 pounds each hand
Dumbbell Prone Cuban Snatch
Workout 1: 7.5 pounds per arm
Workout 2: 12.5 pounds per arm
Workout 1: 9 reps holding a 15 lb. weight overhead
Workout 4: 12 reps holding a 12.5 lb. weight overhead
Workout 1: 10 reps
Workout 4: 8 reps
*The incline of the bench was increased throughout the workouts making the exercise more difficult.
Workout 1: 10 reps per side
Workout 4: 15 reps per side
During Stage 2 I did this exercise laying directly on the floor, I didn’t feel like I was really using any muscles. For Stages 3 and 4, I used a stability ball and felt like I was doing a lot more. For Stage 4, I also extended my arms overhead.
Workout 1: three sets of 120 seconds
Workout 4: three sets of 120 seconds
Overall, Stage 4 dragged on a little bit. The exercises were a combination of repeats from Stages 2 and 3. From the looks of it, Stage 5 will be fairly similar in structure, but things change up a bit with Stage 6. Stay tuned for more!