Weight and Resistance Training - Recovery time & number of exercises

Shannon in ATL
10-06-2008, 11:40 AM
I didn't want to hijack the "Resistance or Time" thread, so I figured I would start a new one...

The 'resistance or time' thread did answer a question I had, and on that front I'm doing okay. I tend to do 3 sets of 10-12, by the end of the third set I'm normally having a hard time finishing it.

So, I have a few more questions... These apply to exercises on my Weider Home Gym...

I read something on a thread about starting out at a high resistance, moving it up for the second set, back down for the third. What is the thought on that? I'm not doing that now - I tend to start at a setting that is difficult but not impossible by the end of the first set, then keep it there for the next two. I have occasionally started out too high and had to drop down for the third set. Should I just start lower to begin with?

How much recovery time should I give myself between each set?

How many different exercises should I do on a certain group at a time? For example, there are 18 exercises on the arms section for my machine, I've trying to find ones that target more than one muscle group, and to do at least three per group. Last week I did 12 different arm exercises and was pretty darn sore by the time I finished...


10-06-2008, 11:49 AM
My disclaimer here is that I'm not a trainer or an expert ... just well read. :lol:

The program I'm using has a 60 sec recovery time between sets. Every once in a while, when I'm *really* pushing, I take a 90 sec recovery time, just because I know I need it. You have to kinda treat weight lifting like interval training - push your heart rate way up, then let it come back down, then push it way up again, etc. So rest for long enough for your heart rate to drop a bit and for your muscles to recover enough to repeat the exercise.

As far as number of items, I've read various opinions, but they all seem to tally that 5-6 exercises that target an area are plenty. Some say no more than 3, some say more, but 6 seems to be the max. Again, the workout I'm doing (the NROLW) usually has 2 upper body, 2 lower body, and 1-2 back/abs/core type things in a single workout. It changes up a bit as you get deeper into the sessions, but that's about average.

For example, todays workout will be:

Squats 2x15
Pushup 2x15 alternating with
Seated Row2x15
Step up 2x15 alternating with
Prone Jacknife 2x8 60

Wednesday's workout will be:

Deadlifts 2x15
Dumbell shoulder press 2x15 alternating with
Wide grip lat pull 2x15
Lunge 2x15 alternating with
Swiss ball crunch 2x15

All of those are with a 60 second rest between sets.


Shannon in ATL
10-06-2008, 12:17 PM
Thanks photochick! I've ordered a couple of books so I can be well read, they just aren't here yet! :(

Alright, I'm going to hijack my own thread! :)

I struggle with interval training - have a really hard time slowing down for the recovery period... :) I made a playlist on my iPod to use during kickboxing that was designed to give me three minutes on/three minutes of recovery for 15-20-30 minute blocks, and what did I do instead? Worked at high intensity the entire 20 minutes on the first time out with the playlists.

For HITT to work I need to do higher than that high intensity for the 3 minutes, then come way back down and repeat that pattern, right? If it is an intensity I can sustain for the entire 20-30 minutes it isn't high enough for HITT to be effective I guess?

10-06-2008, 12:44 PM
This may help you, its Body for Life's explanation of HIIT. I think its a good general guideline.

10-06-2008, 12:53 PM
For HITT to work I need to do higher than that high intensity for the 3 minutes,If you're doing the "high" part for 3 mins, then it's not high enough. :) When I do intervals, my "high" intervals last about 60-70 seconds, and that's from the time I ramp up, to the time I can't do it any more.

So for example, on the elliptical I start out with a 5 minute warm up to get my heart rate to about 155. Then I crank it up as hard as I can utnil my heart rate gets to 175 or so. I hold that for as long as I can, which is about 20 seconds. The whole "high" part takes me about 60 secs, from the time I crank it up to the time I've been at 175 for as long as I can. The I drop back down until my heart rate gets to 155 again. That takes about 2 mins. Then I crank it back up. I do that about 5 times.

By the 5th time, I get to 175 or 180 pretty quickly and I can't hold it for 20 secs any more. Then I drop down to 155 for another 5 mins, and I'm done.

So the "high" part should be high enough to really PUSH you, w/out maknig you pass out or puke. :)

Seriously, by the time I'm done, I'm wiped. My legs are usually shaky and the only thing I want to do is lie down on the floor and pant! :D


10-06-2008, 01:22 PM
Wow Photochick. That's a pretty good description of HIIT on the elliptical. :yes:

Shannon: The high interval of your HIIT should be anaerobic. What that means is that you are working so hard and so intense that you are burning the glycogen stores in your muscles without oxygen. This truly can only be completed in a short period of time. There is only so much of this stored in our muscles before lactic acid begins to develop within our muscles and cause us to fatigue. This also occurs when lifting by the way. So, after our 40 to 60 second sprint (well, that's about all I can do before needing to puke :rolleyes:) I have to take it back down again, "catch my breathe" dial back into aerobic mode until I'm ready to go all out again. Honestly though, my interval periods are not very rigid. It really is based upon the music that's streaming through my iPod (very scientific I know :lol:) But, it gets the job done and like Photochick by the time my session is over I can trip over flat carpeting.

Here's a question for all of you gym goer's...How often to any of you see other people actually doing real HIIT? I rarely do, mostly steady state comatose cardio. Just curious. (Since this thread is being hijacked all over the place. :D ) I sometimes want to march up and down the aisles with a megaphone saying come on people lets MOVE! IT'S FUN! :devil: Course truth be told I probably feel like I'm hauling gangbusters a lot faster than I really am. :p

Shannon in ATL
10-06-2008, 01:43 PM
Hmm... I can maintain what my Polar shows as 170-180 bpm for 6 minute intervals on my elliptical, can do 180-185 for an entire three minute interval, I often end up between 170-185 for 24ish minutes of my 45 minute program. When I cycle back down I get down to 150 in the first few intervals, but towards the end I find the low interval staying at 160-165. At some of those points I feel like I'm about to die, but the puke and passout desire hasn't hit yet.

Hmm.. wonder if the HRM is accurate... and, am I basically doing steady state cardio like that? A high state, but steady, nonetheless?

And, yes Lydia - when I used to go to the gym I saw a lot of slow and steady cardio. Heck, I used to do a lot of slow and steady cardio! :)

10-06-2008, 01:58 PM
When I first started doing HIIT, my "high" was more like 160 and my low was in the 140s. As I've gotten in better shape, my "high" has needed to go higher in order to be effective.

This is where the numbers become "guidelines" rather than rules. Based on conventional wisdom, my max HR should be 180 (220 - my age). So "high" for me should be 90% of my max, or 162. But at 162, I can keep going for an hour if I need to. I'll sweat like crazy, but I'm nowhere near maxed out at 162. I don't max and feel that anaerobic burn until my HR gets up around 175 or so.

So if you're at 170 or so for 20+ mins, then 170 isn't your max.

Seriously, the first time I realized that my max HR was hitting the high 170s, I kinda freaked a little. I'd read all about max HR, etc., etc. and I thought I must be doing something wrong. But then I started reading more about the perceived exertion scale and so forth (http://exercise.about.com/cs/fitnesstools/l/blperceivedexer.htm) and realized that at the point I'm at, I have to make my own HR guidelines.

Here are the numbers for the exertion scale from the link above:

* Level 1: I'm watching TV and eating bon bons
* Level 2: I'm comfortable and could maintain this pace all day long
* Level 3: I'm still comfortable, but am breathing a bit harder
* Level 4: I'm sweating a little, but feel good and can carry on a conversation effortlessly
* Level 5: I'm just above comfortable, am sweating more and can still talk easily
* Level 6: I can still talk, but am slightly breathless
* Level 7: I can still talk, but I don't really want to. I'm sweating like a pig
* Level 8: I can grunt in response to your questions and can only keep this pace for a short time period
* Level 9: I am probably going to die
* Level 10: I am dead

Using the perceived exertion scale, my "high" periods are an 8 to an 8.5 and my "low" periods are about a 5 to 5.5.


10-06-2008, 02:01 PM
Here's a question for all of you gym goer's...How often to any of you see other people actually doing real HIIT?Rarely!! I get odd looks from my neighbors sometimes when I kick it up for the "high" part.

Most of the people I see either run one of the routines on the machines (hill climb, whatever) or they just plod along steadily. There is one woman who cracks me up. She comes in and gets on the elliptical at the lowest setting, then she hunches over, grabs the hand rails, and "runs" for all she's worth. She seriously makes the machine rock and I can hear it over my iPod. Her upper body never moves, and her legs are going 600 miles a minute. She does this for 20 mins and then gets off and leaves. Every single day. :)


Shannon in ATL
10-06-2008, 03:53 PM
Thanks for the PE scale, and the guidelines point. I need to forward that to DH - he is convinced that my heart is going to explode the way I'm going, because he did the 220-age thing and freaks out now when he sees my heart rate on monitor at 185, since my max according to his calculation should be 184... I keep telling him obviously that isn't exact as I haven't dropped over dead and can almost talk to him when he sees the number on my wrist on the way by and wants to talk right then!

10-06-2008, 05:20 PM
Here's a question for all of you gym goer's...How often to any of you see other people actually doing real HIIT?

I've never seen anyone do it.

Shannon in ATL
10-06-2008, 05:43 PM
Nelie - That Body For Life page really does help, thanks!

12-20-2008, 05:13 PM
When you are working out, you are primarily trying to shock your muscles by stressing them with weight. The more work your muscles do, in a given period of time, the more your muscles will develop.