Weight and Resistance Training - Questions for the Experts

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01-26-2008, 08:54 PM
Hi ladies (where did Depalma go, anyway?),

I did workout B of stage 2 today and I have a few questions that I hope the experts among us can address. :)

There were quite a few new (to me) exercises in this lot and Iím puzzled by some of them. My main issue, I guess, is that the exercises in this stage really seem to focus on combined UB/LB movement, with the result that Iím not moving very much weight with my lower body. Iím worried that my lower body will lose all its strength! Iím probably asking too many stupid questions, but if you were able to shed some light, Iíd appreciate it. Iíd ask these questions over at the NRLW message board, but I havenít introduced myself over there yet and you guys already have some sense of what Iíve been doing and how much I understand. <insert endearing, sheepish grin>

Bulgarian Split Squat: what is the purpose of this exercise? I canít tell if itís a squat variation or a lunge variation. What makes it preferable to either the lunge or the squat? Should I be doing it in the cage? When I do a regular squat I add about 150lb to the bar; when I do lunges, I add 60lb. I figure I should be doing at least 100lb on these split squats, but this will mean using the cage. Is it kosher (according to gym etiquette) to drag a bench over to the cage? Why am I doing these instead of regular squats?

Reverse lunge w/ forward reach (177): similar sort of question. I used a pair of 20lb dumbbells for this today, but that really seemed stupidly light as far as my legs go; but I donít know that I could do much with a 50lb db in each hand. Why would I do this exercise instead of a regular bb lunge in the cage?

DB Prone Cuban Snatch (207): what the devil is up with this exercise?! I started these with 20lb dbs but wasnít able to come close to finishing the rotation part of the exercise. I had to do it with *12.5* dbs! And even then I could barely do the rotation part. Am I missing something??? I havenít picked up a dumbbell that light since I last tried to do bicep curls. Is this exercise just devilishly difficult, or am I doing something wrong? I was embarrassed to be wandering around with the 12.5ers, especially since I could barely finish my sets with them!

Finally, Hanna side flexion (221). What muscle group is this supposed to work? Itís with the ab exercises but I really only felt it in my legs. Is my problem with this one just that itís too easy?

I feel cranky about todayís workout. Nothing felt right and I really didnít feel that I was lifting as much weight as I really can, or could with different variations on the exercises. Can anyone advise???


01-27-2008, 12:53 PM
Uh oh! I think I've overwhelmed with questions! Mea culpa!

Perhaps the general, overarching question is: Why are they having me do these exercises that having me moving less weight overall? What is the advantage to these combo moves if they mean moving less weight?

And, what is up with those Cuban Snatches? Those really were impossible. :)

01-27-2008, 03:23 PM
No answers here, but since I'm nearly ready to hit Stage 2, I'll be looking for some too! :)

01-27-2008, 09:05 PM
Bulgarian split squats hit a lot more muscles than a regular lunge. elevating the back leg forces you to work the front leg more, and really activates the glutes. I find doing them with 20-25 pounds dumbbbells excruciating, and I usually squat 185. An even more excruciating variation is to use a straight barbell and touch it to the floor in front of your working leg. I can't go any heavier than thirty. The first time I tried it, I used a 60, and THUNK! It stayed on the floor :rofl:

The upper/lower combo exercises really really do work your entire body. They also require more coordination and balance. The "moving" exercises like the snatch require quick reactions and stabilization. These exercises teach your muscles a new skill- movement and stopping a quick movement- rather than a static lift. That's why walking lunges with weights are harder than stationery lunges.

The side flexion exercises are to strengthen to hip flexors in directions (rotational) that you don't normally use in the gym Think squats: your hip flexors are working, but in a single plane. The flexion exercises are multiplanar. I use them as warm-ups for clients.



01-27-2008, 09:15 PM
DB Prone snatches: almost all arms and should exercises are harder in the prone position. Have you ever tried just plain old curls in that position? Or the WYTL's? You are working against gravity in a different way than if you were standing.

Be careful about tendonitis in your elbows doing those prone snatches. They really triggered mine.


01-27-2008, 09:28 PM
(where did Depalma go, anyway?),

I've suffered a health setback and am just now getting back to reading the boards, but unfortunately not yet back to my own workouts.

I'd like to be able to be of help on your questions but I have not gotten around to picking up a copy of the book. Even though I am not a woman, I see Alwyn as a mentor and think highly of Lou Schuler as well and also like a lot of the research that Cassandra Forsythe did with Jeff Volek so fully planned on picking up a copy before being sidelined.

Without knowing the goals of the program it would really be hard for me to comment.

A few things I would say, however, is that it is not always about the amount of weight. I don't even know what a prone DB Cuban Snatch is but I'm imagining it as something like a mutation between a prone trap raise and a cuban rotation. If that is the case, 12.5 pounds is nothing to sneeze at.

As for the bulgarians, I personally love them. I used less weight than on squats and on lunges, but they have helped my balance and have helped resolve left/right strength discrepancies. No exercise has made me more sore after an absence than bulgarians.

One final comment. Even though I am a huge fan of Alwyns and I'm sure he has very good rationale behind the design of this program, if it really makes you cranky and you do not feel that you are appropriately hitting the targeted muscles, then perhaps this particular routine is not a fit for you. Were any alternative exercises offered? If not, ask for alternatives or further explanation on their message board.

01-28-2008, 01:30 PM
Depalma! Your back!:yay::dance::yay:
I was worried something bad happened to you. I was about to go through your previous posts and print more off for future reference because I know I'm going to need the information at some point. Okay, I should still do that :chin: Anyway, I really hope you are doing well soon enough to get back into your routine. In know how challenging these unplanned rest periods can be. :hug:

01-28-2008, 09:18 PM
Welcome back Depalma! I'm sorry you've been suffering (especially in silence!).

Thanks for the help everyone. Sometimes I find that if I just understand what's going on, I can come to terms with things that initially distress me, and I was confused by that workout. (One of my critiques of the Woman book is that I think there is less explanation of principles and goals than there was in the Man book, fwiw.)

Does anyone do Bulgarians in the cage? I did them with a 40lb bb the other day (which is as heavy as I can lift over my head to rest on my shoulders without breaking something) and I'm sure I could go 10 or 20 lb heavier.

I still think those prone snatches are devilish (and Depalma, your characterization is right.) But, I guess the good news is that they are working some otherwise excessively wimpy muscle (12.5lb!!)

Thanks again.

01-28-2008, 09:43 PM
Baffled and Lydia thanks for the welcome back.


I have only done bulgarians with dumbells, so I can't go by personal experience here but I don't see why you couldn't set up a bench at the end of the cage and do them there. In fact, I've never done bb bulgarians simply because I believe dumbells are so much safer for any exercises that require that much balance and coordination.

Baffled said: "I guess the good news is that they are working some otherwise excessively wimpy muscle (12.5lb!!)"

Let's not confuse small with wimpy. It's all relative. A 200 lb deadlift might be considered wimpy for a 300lb guy, but it definitely is not wimpy for a 100lb teenage girl. Also, don't confuse small with unimportant. Injure your rotators and you will see just how important they are. Don't be too much of a rush to increase the weight here either. Personally, I favor keeping the weight a bit lighter on rotation exercises and doing higher reps with perfect form.

01-29-2008, 11:40 AM
Just wanted to put my two cents in. I agree that the Bulgarian split squats are more difficult - I use much less weight on these than with my lunges or squats.

Could part of your grumpiness towards this new workout just be that you were chugging along in a rhythm & this made you think more & slow down. I recently started at a new gym because we moved - here they use kg & man, did it mess me up - drove me crazy & made me grumpy.

01-29-2008, 12:00 PM
I think that's it, Lifeguard: the workout was very different and had a different rhythm than the ones I usually do. That and I wasn't certain about the efficacy of all these odd exercises. :)

Depalma, that's one big dumbbell, rather than a pair of them, right? I just grabbed a bb without thinking about it. The woman in the pic in the book has a small plate, but I don't think plates are the answer.

Thanks again!

01-29-2008, 03:19 PM
It can be done either way. I prefer doing them with a dumbell in each hand, but you should find what works best for you.