Weight and Resistance Training - BFL question




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jamsk8r
06-24-2008, 02:14 PM
For those who started with this, did you follow the recommended exercise/set pattern, with 5 sets of the one exercise, then just 1 set of 12 reps for the second exercise (for that muscle group)?

I'm leaning toward an upper/lower split, with Mon/Tues on, Off Wed, Thurs/Fri on, Off Sat/Sun. I'm looking for a compromise between the 5 day body-part split and FB workouts. I plan to do some type of cardio Mon-Sat, and Sundays off from both types of workouts. (trying to keep the old fire burning by changing things up a bit) 4 days of lifting sounds good to me, and I can work cardio around that without feeling like I'm working my legs to death every single day.

I thought I might start with 2 exercises per muscle group, to ease back into lifting, and that made me take a second look at the BFL plan for ideas. I'm curious if the 5 sets +1 set is a good idea, or if I should go with a more even set/rep split between the two exercises?

Any feedback is appreciated, as always!


denvertechchick
06-24-2008, 11:28 PM
Hi Cheryl!

When I did a challenge a few years ago, I did this:

Sunday: rest day
Monday: arms
Tuesday: cardio
Wednesday: legs
Thursday: cardio
Friday: core / back / abs
Saturday: cardio
All sets as heavy as I could, 12,10,8,6,24 reps.
After that challenge, I tried supersets, running the rack, and pyramid sets.

I'm the first one to admit that I probably need to meet with a trainer to get a good, solid, challenging plan together.

I've kept the above general schedule, though - it's worked for me in the past, and it's easy for me to think "oh, Monday, it's arms day." Doing a FBWO for me would not be good, because I like to lift every other day and this 1. wouldn't be enough time for my muscles to recover, and 2. wouldn't let me be flexible with what exercises I'm choosing for that week. For me, too much planning gets confusing and then I lapse into hamster mode on the treadmill. I would be very cranky if I had to lift an extra day on a muscle group that was already sore!

Hope this helps!

jamsk8r
06-25-2008, 12:28 AM
Thanks for the reply, Denver! So, you got good results by mixing up the exercises each week?

I always hear about newbs needing to stick with one plan long enough for it to work, which I translate as needing to pick some exercises and stick with those for at least a month (ish). Is that not correct?

Looking at this, I don't see how one could stick with one primary the whole time, though. For example, if I choose pull-ups for back, and do just one set of rows, and do that for a month, that doesn't sound like a great workout. Seems like I'd be better off either going with the BFL sets, but changing the primary exercise frequently, or go with more even sets of each exercise. Maybe I'll get some feedback from others who have experience with this.


Depalma
06-25-2008, 09:34 AM
I always hear about newbs needing to stick with one plan long enough for it to work, which I translate as needing to pick some exercises and stick with those for at least a month (ish). Is that not correct? .

Yes and no. The plan you mentioned above is your program. It is how you are hoping to reach your destination, your goals. Think of it as your travel itinerary or road map and the exercises are stops within the trip along the way, like hotels. You don't have to stay at a Holiday Inn everynight. You can stay at a Holiday Inn today, a Ramada tomorrow, a Quality Inn the next night. Varieity is good. Of course if you find one you really like, you would want to go back there as much as possible only bypassing it if they don't have a vacancy.

Mix up your exercises. Variety is good. Too much variety, however, has problems too, such as:
1. How do you judge your progress if you do pullups this week, but you don't do them again for another 4 weeks? Do you wait 4 weeks to see if you've progressed?

2. Few people get the weight "exactly right" when they do an exercise for the first time or the first time after not doing that exercise for awhile. They make a best guess or try to restart where they left off (or slightly more) than they lifted for the same exercise a long time ago. What this means is that part of your workout is done at less than optimal weights. If you do the same exercises on a more regular basis, your weights are based on recent performance and much more likely to right for the particular set/rep/intensity that you are shooting for.

You can change exercises every workout if you really desire to do that and get bored easily otherwise. Unless the program specifically tells you to stick to certain exercises, this doesn't mean you are going off the program or chaning your travel plan. A program is much more than a list of exercises. It is the other variables, set/reps schemes, intensities, periodization, and how these and other variables and exercises fit together that is the program.

Personally, if I do a body part (or movement since I personally believe in training movements not muscles) for two exercises two days per week, I would do one group of two exercises on the first day and another group on the second day and rotate those two groups. That's me. It doesn't have to be you. You might enjoy rotating three groups. I do, however, feel hat going past a 3 group rotation will make it harder to judge progress and weight selection, but you can still do it and you can still get a great workout and if switching the exercises is the best way to keep you going to the gym, than that means it is the best way for you.

As far as for doing them 4 weeks. That's totally arbitrary. If an exercise is working well for you and you are still making great gains at it, why would you stop doing it? Just because it's been 4 weeks? I prefer to stick with an exercise that I'm progressing at until my body starts to fully adapt and plateau at that exercise. If progress slows dramatically or plateaus completely, swap it out for another exercise. If it isn't broke, don't try to fix. It's an old cliche, but I believe it has merit.

As for program jumping. That is different. You really need to be sure you have the wrong road map before scrapping the route. Just because you don't recognize where you are doesn't necessarily mean you are lost. There are many things that the programmer is trying to accomplish within a program. Often times what people find the least useful may turn out to be a very important part of the program. For instance, I've seen a person complain about how he got hurt doing one program but when asked about details, found out he skipped the buildup phase (because he was "too advanced for it") and skipped the built in prehab exercises (because they were "too wussy" and wouldn't get him STRONG!). Duh! The program didn't hurt him. HIS version of the program hurt him.
Basically, if you are going to start a program, research it well and then trust it for at least a reasonable time. This is not to say you can't change exercises As long as you pick exercises that do waht the original exercise was designed to do, you are still really giving the program a chance and gaining some individualization.

Looking at this, I don't see how one could stick with one primary the whole time, though. For example, if I choose pull-ups for back, and do just one set of rows, and do that for a month, that doesn't sound like a great workout.

You are doing two great compound movements, why would that not souund like a great workout? Sounds fine to me. Now if it doesn't sound great because it lacks variety, then rotate some exercises in for variety, that's perfectly OK.


Seems like I'd be better off either going with the BFL sets, but changing the primary exercise frequently, or go with more even sets of each exercise.

You have to find what works for you which includes physiological and psychological responses. It is a blend of what your body responds best toand what you enjoy. You could have the greatest workout plan known to man personally designed for your needs and weaknesses, but if you hate doing it so much that you never do it, then that great workout plan is no better than doing 2 sets of 50 on a curl machine.

denvertechchick
06-25-2008, 10:38 AM
Hi Depalma! I've never heard of training for movement. I need to go check out those books you recommended!

The set change (that last 12 reps) looks to me like it's utilizing the Shocking Principle to wake up muscles. The main muscle group is fatigued after those sets, and so moving to a different exercise for 12 reps will give an added bonus to those muscles. Remember, that last set is for the SAME MUSCLE GROUP. So with the BFL plan, you are doing many, many reps to exhaust that muscle group - you aren't just doing one set of 12. You're working the muscles to failure and then shocking them with a new movement.

Certain exercises are going to be your mainstay for always. Like squats. Bodybuilders don't do squats for a few months and then advance to more difficult exercises. They keep doing them. There's a reason - certain exercises build muscles better than anything else. Yes, there is room for variety within the muscle group exercises, but you are also going to back to certain exercises again and again simply because they are highly effective.

There are some muscles that I just hate working. But I remember that people with great bodies work very hard for those bodies. I have to work all the major muscle groups if I'm going to get to my body goals.

Why not stick with it for 12 weeks, and if you don't like the results, take your notebook to a trainer. It will give them a better blueprint for your future workout plan.

jamsk8r
06-25-2008, 04:22 PM
Thanks for the advice, both of you. Last night, I was fiddling around with the BFL style sets on a few exercises, just to see how it was, and got a better idea of what my problem is with low rep sets on some exercises. The grip and the joints go before the big muscles get enough of a workout, basically, and I can't up the weight if I can't hold onto it, especially on DB exercises. That gives me a better idea of what to do next and how to make sure I keep progressing. I enjoyed the BFL style sets, but just couldn't get that screaming muscle torture to happen with the 8 and 6 rep sets for the larger muscles. (had the same experience with the last few workouts in Stage 1 of NROL4W) I'm going to start with 2-3 exercises per, and stick with 10-12 reps per set for now, and see how that goes for me. When the old joints catch up, then I might be able to make use of low rep sets.

Sorry for being such a knucklehead...sometimes I've just read too many articles/books and they all say different things, and I can't wrap my mind around what's useful and what's not, for my situation. Hopefully, I'm on the right track now, though, and can quit asking stupid questions. ;)

midwife
06-25-2008, 04:28 PM
Cheryl,

There are no stupid questions in this forum. We have lots of smart people with great answers and the newbies (like myself) pour over every post and suck as much knowledge as possible. Language, theory, themes, pearls of wisdom....your questions help us all learn.

horsey
06-25-2008, 06:45 PM
I just started Body for Life too. It's taking me a few workouts to figure out how this works, but I like the BURN. The program's been such a success for so many people that gives me comfort in itself as I've bounced around too - there's so many ideas and programs out there, which one to follow? I like the idea of REALLY following a program and trusting it for 12 weeks, working it to the end to see the results. Results in Body for Life they say can REALLY happen at 8 weeks or so, it appears to take time to reshape the body although this program has you jump right in. I do question beginners doing this because it's INTENSE, the weight training. I've lifted before and I've found that I adapt quickly but I am SORE. Most say you should start out gradually especially if you've not been working out, and I think that if you can't "push it" this hard, DON'T, you could get seriously injured. I'd think a set or two would be fine to start. Maybe have a "pre" Body for Life phase before the 12 weeks really begins, that's what I did, so I could learn the exercises and play with my diet plan. I've wrote down a list of recipes to use during this challenge and I'm giving in and doing the EAS shakes/bars. Today I even found the recipe book. I think it's good to switch things around once you are in shape, different cardio, different weights, different programs that are sound. So after this I might go back to some other weight training programs that I tried before. I'm just looking to PUSH myself in a challenge. The author's idea of a challenge is a great one, sometimes that's just what we need - even a pic of ourselves looking flabby in a bikini, to jumpstart fitness!

WaterRat
06-25-2008, 08:32 PM
Denver - if you look in the stickies section at the top of this forum you'll find an article about training for function, too.

denvertechchick
06-25-2008, 10:29 PM
WELCOME, Horsey!

Cheryl - I'm really glad you posted this question. Turns out I was doing some of that BFL stuff incorrectly, and your question made me open the book and look at it again. So you've made my workouts more effective! Thank you! I forgot to answer your question on "did I have success" on BFL. I did four challenges and ended up sending my before and after pics in to the contest. I didn't win, but I feel like I won! I went from a size 24 to a size 12. It really astonished a lot of people. Can't believe I sent those bikini photos in!

Oh hey, since I have the stats right here, here's what 4 12 week challenges did for me:

Weight: -56 pounds
BF%: 47% to 34% (measured by Tanita, which I think doesn't work at all well)
Bust: -6 inches
Waist: -11 inches
Hips: -9.5 inches
Thigh: -5.5 inches (on one thigh)
Calf: -2 inches (on one calf)

Then I got injured in a totally non-gym related accident and couldn't do cardio for a long time. I kept up my weight training, though, and now that I'm training in earnest again, the muscles are right up front. I can already see some definition lines coming out, even on my upper thighs, which are a problem spot for me.

It's great to read a lot, but I have to agree with Depalma. Find a road map and stick to it for a while. Why not do the 12 weeks? So many have already done it, they have it mapped out quite well already. I think that once you get through that, you might want to start adding stuff, but the 12 weeks is a good introduction and will build a good base for future workouts.

I hope this helps. See you at the gym!

jamsk8r
06-26-2008, 10:12 PM
Midwife, thanks! :hug:

Horsey, good luck with your challenge! :carrot:

Why not do the 12 weeks? So many have already done it, they have it mapped out quite well already. I think that once you get through that, you might want to start adding stuff, but the 12 weeks is a good introduction and will build a good base for future workouts.

Denver, I have issues with my grip strength and some joints from old sports injuries, that prevent me (at this time) from lifting heavy enough for a 6-8 rep set. Maybe later, though, when/if my joints and grip get stronger.