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New Rules of Lifting for Women Stage 5 Recap

by Meghann on January 4, 2012

Adios Stage 5!

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This stage really flew by, but that’s probably because this is the first stage I took zero breaks during. After I finished the Las Vegas Half Marathon on December 4th, it was four weeks straight of two-a-week workouts without any interruptions. It just happened to work out that I finished Stage 5 the week before Ragnar, so the week of rest I usually give myself before a big race was built in with the suggested week of rest between each stage. Sweet.

The amount of time it took to complete Stage 5 went fast, but – in the beginning – I was fading fast with how much time it was taking me to finish each Stage 5 workout.

Just as Stage 4 was a replica of Stage 2, Stage 5 is a repeat of Stage 3 – only longer rests, shorter reps, and more sets. The original workout plan called for 120 second rests between each of the 4 sets, which can add up really quickly. I found myself twiddling my thumbs as the seconds dragged on between sets and my mind grew bored at the task at hand. Each workout took 75 minutes and knowing how long they would take, had me dreading each one.

Luckily, I took a few of your suggestions in the comments and opted to cut the amount of rest between each set in half. The 120 second rests became 60 and my time in the weight room went from 75 minutes to 55. I didn’t feel as if the shorter rests took away from my recovery and the shorter workouts saved my sanity and commitment to the workouts. Win. Win.

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The Workouts

Like I said above, Stage 5 was a repeat of Stage 3. Nothing different there. It worked out great because I was already comfortable with all of the moves and, since there were less reps, I was able to start out on the heavier side where I had left off in Stage 3. I loved it.

However, I can’t say I was a fan of the ab workouts – I dreaded them! Maybe it was because they came at the end of each workout, but I had to force myself to ‘not phone it in.’ If I wasn’t careful I would start just going through the motions and waste my time with poor form and execution. The 120 second planks and prone cobras were the worst! I was happy to get through them (because that meant the workout was over), but getting to that point was not cool.

Weights


Stage 5
Workout A
One Arm Dumbell Snatch Workout 1 15 lbs
Workout 4 20 lbs
Dumbell Single-Leg Deadlift Workout 1 20 lbs
Workout 4 25 lbs
Barbell Bent Over Row Workout 1 40 lbs
Workout 4 70 lbs
Dumbell Single Overhead Squat Workout 1 10/20 lbs
Workout 4 12/25 lbs
Dumbell Incline Bench Press Workout 1 15 lbs
Workout 4 20 lbs
Reverse Wood Chop Workout 1 40 lbs
Workout 4 50 lbs
Workout B
Barbell Deadlift Bent Over Row Workout 1 50 lbs
Workout 4 70 lbs
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown Workout 1 70 lbs
Workout 4 80 lbs
Back Extenstion Workout 1 10 lbs
Workout 4 25 lbs
YTWL Workout 1 10 lbs
Workout 4 15 lbs

The workouts started with 4 sets of 4 reps and moved to 3 sets of 4 reps. When the number os sets decreased I was able to increase the weight and really feel the burn. I like doing a lot of reps at a light weight, but nothing compares to doing just a few reps at a heavier weight. You can really feel it!

Measurements


5/26/11 7/15/11 8/22/11 10/18/11 11/27/11 1/2/12
Chest 34in 34in 34in 33in 33in 33in
Right Bicep 11in 11.25in 11.25in 11.75in 11.75in 11.85in
Left Bicep 10.75in 11.15in 11.15in 11.5in 11.75in 11.8in
Waist 31in 30.25in 30in 29in 29in 27.5in
Hips 39in 38.65in 38.4in 38.1in 38in 37.5in
Right Thigh 21.5in 21.30in 21in 20.75in 20.75in 20.5in
Left Thigh 21in 21in 20.80in 20.75in 20.75in 20.75in

I’m convinced I’m incorrectly measuring my waist. I’ve been using the bend over side-to-side tactic and measuring the area where I bend at, but when I went to the doctor’s office on the 18th and the nurse measured my waist at 26.5 inches, I began to question my method.

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My weight at the doctor’s office was also a lot less than I was expecting (a full 7 pounds less than what the new scale at home read the night before), but that’s another issue altogether.

Still, wanting to keep it consistent, I did the side-to-side bending measurement today and came to 27.5in. I’m pretty sure I didn’t lose 1.5in on my waist in a month, but I checked and double checked and got 27.5 each time. So, yeah. Who knows.

Photos

(see complete set of photos and stage recaps here)

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End of Stage 5 Photos: 1/2/12

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Please excuse the pasty whiteness. :)

It’s always hard to see the differences in the photos (the different angles in both sets of shots doesn’t help), but they’re there – just very subtle. My arms have a tiny bit more definition and I feel like my lower abs are looking better.

Right before Stage 1 versus End of Stage 5

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If you look past the different angles/posture/lighting, it’s pretty cool to see the differences. :)

Wanna know a little secret?

At the end of every stage I dread taking the progress photos. It’s not that I don’t like the idea of tracking the progress, I’m just really bad at the photos. I’m not sure how to stand, I have to use self timer (or rely on Derek who only takes one shot max before he grunts and walks away), the point and shoot quality drives me crazy (but I want to keep it consistent), and the changes are so subtle to track that sometimes I wonder if it’s really there or just the way I’m standing.

For example: I had my self timer set on three continuous shots and managed to capture this series of me correcting my posture and sucking in after each shot.

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See the difference? The power of good posture and sucking it in is a beautiful thing.

So, yeah. I’m awful at taking photos and if I were to do this again I would:

  1. Set up a tripod that I wouldn’t touch and use it consistently every time
  2. Set up a white background for each shot
  3. Take the photos at the same time of day for similar lighting
  4. Use my DSLR instead of the point and shoot
  5. Place my hands in the same spot every time
  6. Brush my hair

Live and learn, right?

Final Thoughts

I only have three stages left! Eekk!!!

So far I’m happy with my progress. I have my moments where I wonder if I’m really seeing a difference, but it’s there. It’s not just in all the above stats either, it’s how my clothes fit as well. My jeans aren’t as tight, shirts look smoother on my belly, and my arms sort of pop in sleeveless stuff. I’m digging it.

Next week starts Stage 6, which focuses on a lot of upper body strength with an end goal of doing one unassisted pull up. An unassisted pull up, huh? Can’t say I’ve ever been successful at one, so it should be fun testing out that goal. :)

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