NROLFW: Stage 5

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.

Summaries of Past Stages
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4

The New Rules of Lifting for Women

Stage 5 increases sets and decreases reps from previous stages. All exercises in Stage 5 are in done in 4 sets of 4. The idea is that lower reps allow greater weight. Here’s my progress for each exercise:

Stage 5, Workout A (repeated 4 times)

One-armed Dumbbell Snatch
Workout 1: 25 pounds
Workout 4: 25 pounds
*this exercise never felt smooth enough to go up a weight. If my gym had 2.5 lb incremental weights, I would have tried 27.5, but I would have had to jump all the way to 30 lbs. which felt like too much.

Dumbbell Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
Workout 1: 30 lbs in each hand
Workout 4: 35 lbs in each hand

Barbell Bent Over Row
Workout 1: 20 pounds plus bar
Workout 4: 30 pounds plus bar

Dumbbell Single-arm Overhead Squat
Workout 1: 10 pounds overhead, 20 pounds in arm in front
Workout 4: 15 pounds overhead, 25 pounds in arm in front
* In this exercise you hold one arm over your head while the other arm is in front of you, slightly raised.

Dumbbell Incline Bench Press
Workout 1: 30 pounds in each hand
Workout 4: 30 pounds in each hand
*What held me back in this exercise was getting the weights above my chest. I felt strong enough to bench press a greater weight, but lifting the larger from my lap to bench press position was too hard. Again, a partner would have helped with this.

Workout 1: 3  sets of 120 seconds
Workout 4: 3 sets of 120 seconds

Reverse Wood Chop
Workout 1: 20 pounds
Workout 4: 22.5 pounds

Stage 5, Workout B (repeated 4 times)

Barbell Romanian Deadlift/Bent Over Row
Workout 1: 20 pounds + bar
Workout 4: 40 pounds + bar

Partial Leg Squat
Workout 1: 20 pounds in each hand
Workout 4: 25 pounds in each hand

Wide-grip Lat Pulldown
Workout 1: 100 pounds
Workout 4: 90 pounds
*For some reason the last workout for this exercise felt really difficult and I couldn’t do the 100 lbs. I was at a different gym than I normally go to, and I wondered if one of the machine there was actually heavier (or my regular one lighter)?

Back Extension
Workout 1: 4 reps with 25 pounds
Workout 4: 4 reps with 25 pounds

Workout 1: 10 pounds in each hand
Workout 2: 10 pounds in each hand
*The name of this exercise is derived because you make your arms go in the shape of the letters ‘y, t, w, l.’

Swiss-ball Crunch
Workout 1: 5 reps holding a 20 lb. weight overhead
Workout 4: 12 reps holding a 25 lb. weight overhead

Hip Flexion
Workout 1: 5 reps
Workout 4: 12 reps
*I used a medicine ball to do this exercise. With my legs supported on the ball and my arms holding up my torso, I used by abs to roll the ball inward, tucking in my knees. To make the exercise more difficult, I focused on trying to lift my butt in the air and form a pike position.

Lateral Flexion
Workout 1: 8 reps per side
Workout 4: 8 reps per side with a 5 pound weight
*In previous stages I did this exercise either on the floor or with a stability ball. For this stage I used the back extension bench and turned to my side. I kept my arms extended, adding weight during the last workout.

Prone Cobra
Workout 1: three sets of 120 seconds
Workout 4: three sets of 120 seconds

Overall, Stage 5 was good for pushing me to try heavier weights, but I think this would have gone a lot better for me if I had a lifting coach or partner. I get nervous to add too much weight when I’m by myself since I don’t to get hurt of damage anything (like a face – mine or someone else’s!). I might have been able to max out at a higher weight for some of the exercises, but I did what I was comfortable with and felt challenged throughout.

Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4