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Old 10-20-2009, 12:18 PM   #1
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Default Lifting weights - pyramid or just basic reps&sets?

I'm doing BFL and am trying to adjust to using weights doing the pyramid system. Is this the best way to go or should I just be shooting for 4/5 sets of 12 reps at one consistent heavy weight?

I ask because I've been going to the gym and doing the pyramid and not really feeling like I'm sore or anything. maybe I'm not lifting heavy enough? Today I did dumbell squats using 7kg, 8kg, 9kg, 10kg and then 8kg again and I didn't find it difficult, certainly not to failure. I'm thinking I must need to lift quite a bit heavier. I'm new to lifting and female so I don't want to do too much to soon but want to feel like I'm actually gaining muscle.
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Old 10-20-2009, 01:36 PM   #2
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Hi BeaBaby-

I'm kind of new here but I can give you my opinion. If you are new to lifting weights, don't get too caught up in the differing schemes such as pyramid, drop sets, etc. My advice would be do stick with straight sets. If you are lifting for fat loss, the range of reps is between 12 and 15. You can go higher in number if you'd like. If you are trying to build muscle (hypertrophy), your rep range should be in the 8-12 range. If you are looking to build strength, the range should be in the 3-5 range.

Now, as far as the amount of weight you are lifting, you should barely be able to get out the last rep but you should be able to do so without a spotter. From what you are saying, it sounds like you definitely need to up your weight.

Concerning the number of reps, 4-5 sets of 12 reps comes out to 48-60 total reps (obviously). That is a good range for fat loss, but you could also do 3-4 sets at 15 reps. It would shorten your workout considerably as well.

One last thing, don't be fooled into thinking you have to be sore to have a good workout. Soreness is a result of your muscles moving a load in a manner they are not accustomed to. After a while, you muscles will adapt and the soreness will lessen dramatically or go away completely. Muscle soreness should not be used as a determining factor for the quality of your workout.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.

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Old 10-20-2009, 06:25 PM   #3
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Hey Dave!

Thanks for your post - I am looking to build muscle as I've lost some weight and notice that I am getting that 'deflated' look which I absolutely DO NOT want! From everything I've gathered on this site and others, this should mean higher weights and less reps. So you think 8-12 reps of one heavy weight, 4-5 sets should do it? I don't want to lose any more weight at this moment - just want to get some good muscle and then maybe lose 15 or so pounds at a later date.

Bea.
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Old 10-20-2009, 06:35 PM   #4
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I think you are probably not lifting heavy enough if you don't feel like you've worked hard enough. I think the BFL style is good, although you don't have to follow it exactly. I'd say give it a chance. Later on, you could switch up to do a slightly different style.
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Old 10-20-2009, 06:45 PM   #5
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Hey Nelie - I do feel that I'm jumping the gun a bit but I was so frustrated today when I felt like I had had a bit of a workout - felt it a bit on my legs but I was no where near failure which bothered me.

I guess I'll have to move on to the 'mens' side of the gym for the heavier weights, lol - it's pathetic but I am slightly intimidated!
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeaBaby View Post
Hey Dave!

Thanks for your post - I am looking to build muscle as I've lost some weight and notice that I am getting that 'deflated' look which I absolutely DO NOT want! From everything I've gathered on this site and others, this should mean higher weights and less reps. So you think 8-12 reps of one heavy weight, 4-5 sets should do it? I don't want to lose any more weight at this moment - just want to get some good muscle and then maybe lose 15 or so pounds at a later date.

Bea.
You can do 4-5 sets but when you're at the 8-12 rep range that may be a tad much. I would do one warm up set with a light weight and then go to your normal weight. You can do three sets at 8-12 reps with the same weight or even go up a little with each set. It really is whatever you feel comfortable with but are still really pushing yourself. It takes some experimenting at first to get the loads right but it won't take you long to know what you're capable of.

What does your cardio look like? I can't say that I'm familiar with the Body for Life routine...is it a body part split 4-5 days/week or is it full body 2-3 days/week? For what you're looking to do, I would go full body 3 days per week.

Last edited by AtlDave; 10-20-2009 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:55 PM   #7
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Just throwing my two cents in here-
If you are new to lifting and doing bfl, I'd suggest doing the pyramid scheme as it is written. And yes, I think you need to lift heavier! I bet there are other women over there on the other side of the gym You need to be just squeaking that last rep out safely, in good form, but feeling like you are DONE and couldn't do another at the end of your working sets.

And please don't feel intimidated in the gym! Everyone (including the men) started out new at some point! It's your gym, too.

Mel
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:58 PM   #8
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Bea,
Definitely move over to the "Men's" side. Legs are large muscles and generally require more weight. Also, going to failure in your upper body is going to be easier than your lower body just because women tend to have stronger legs. Also I may be a bit of a wimp but I generally don't go to failure on my legs. I really don't want them collapsing under me

Dave,
There is a body for life website that shows the routine, but it is basically an upper body/lower body split. HIIT cardio is mixed in between your weight days so you basically get 4 days of rest before you hit the same muscle group again.
http://bodyforlife.com/exercise/index.asp
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:06 AM   #9
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Ok, see, Nelie - I did not know that about the legs, even thought it makes perfect sense. I was wondering why my upper goes to failure much quicker. Now that I know, I will def be in the 'mens' tomorrow!

I did sneak over there yesterday, when I had finished my sets, and had a feel of the weights (sounded pervier than I meant) and there was a girl in there lifting HEAVY so I felt a little better about it. She's the only one I've ever seen in there though. Got a session with my trainer tomorrow so I'll make we get in there.
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Old 10-21-2009, 12:54 PM   #10
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Yup, it isn't unusual to see only a few women in the free weights section. I lived there for over a year The men are mostly harmless and they don't bite although for some reason I used to attract the old navy guys who would tell me I was doing a good job. You will also usually see the worst form performed by men so don't copy them for the most part, watch the trainers and see what they do and have their clients do
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Old 10-21-2009, 01:21 PM   #11
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You can probably move up right away to doing 10-15-20s in your squats. Squats are more limited by the weight you can hold in your hands than your legs, since legs are so strong. You may choose to move up to a barbell instead of dumbbells soon as well, so you can load more weight, yet balance it better.
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:29 PM   #12
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I love playing in the "men's" section. For one thing it's the newest area of the gym, and it has a lovely rubberized floor (rest is carpeted). And in the summer it's the only area with A/C. And often not only am I the only woman in there, I'm the only person! Lots of guys in my gym seem to gravitate to the machines, though there are also DBs in other parts of the gym. Monday night I was in there alone for an hour - except for one gal who came in, did 10 front squats, and left....
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