Strength training is an important part of my workout regimen. It should be a part of your life, too, especially if you are a woman. Why? It helps keep our bones strong as we grow older. My biggest struggle with strength training has always been not knowing what to do, when to do it or how to go about it. Last spring I had seen many bloggers mention the The New Rules of Lifting for Women, so I decided to check it out.
More about the book:
In The New Rules of Lifting for Women, authors Lou Schuler, Cassandra Forsythe, and Alwyn Cosgrove present a comprehensive strength, conditioning, and nutrition plan destined to revolutionize the way women work out. All the latest studies prove that strength training, not aerobics, provides the key to losing fat and building a fit, strong body.
This book refutes the misconception that women will “bulk up” if they lift heavy weights. Nonsense! It’s tough enough for men to pack on muscle, and they have much more of the hormone necessary to build muscle: natural testosterone. Muscles need to be strengthened to achieve a lean, healthy look. Properly conditioned muscles increase metabolism and promote weight loss—it’s that simple.
The program demands that women put down the “Barbie” weights, step away from the treadmill, and begin a strength and conditioning regime for the natural athlete in every woman.
I have to admit that I was very intimidated by some of the exercises in this book. I am not sure if that was due to my being afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do them, or not wanting to call attention to myself in the gym. Whatever the reason, I got past it and made a plan. I made copies of the pages where the exercises for the stage I was in were demonstrated. I had my workout log printed & labeled. I really had no excuse.
There are 7 stages in this book that will take the better part of 6-8 months, depending on how many times per week you do the workouts. I chose to do them twice a week, as that fit best in my training program, but you can do them up to three times per week, but not on consecutive days.
I have now completed 5 stages of the 7. The 6th is optional and the 7th stage I opted out of because I am starting The New Rules of Lifting for Abs this week (more on that later). As much as I complained about some of the exercises in some of the stages, I can see and feel a definite increase in the strength & tone of my body. After adding this plan to my repertoire, I was finally able to PR the half marathon on my 5th attempt, smashing my previous best time by almost 4 minutes. I truly believe that increased leg strength is the reason behind this. A couple of the stages, I believe 3 & 5 (I leant my book to a friend), call for a “body weight matrix” at the end of the workout, that is brutal. It consists of doing the following twice:
12 lunges each side
25 jumping squats (I omitted jumping in the best interests of my IT band)
12 lunge jumps each leg (again, no jumping, just walking lunges)
I did incorporate the jumping part of the last 2 exercises last fall and those are no joke. Prepare to cry. LOL! Complain as much as you like, but there is just no better workout, in my opinion, for your glutes, hips, and legs than squats & lunges. When I was sentenced to physical therapy in the past for hip flexor & IT band injuries, these were some of the exercises I was given to strengthen those areas. Runners, women in particular, tend to have weak hips and glutes, so this is a great compliment to running.
The best part about this plan is that you can cater it to your needs. If you don’t have some of the equipment available, there are alternative exercises listed. I did not follow the nutrition plan in this book because I feel that my diet is adequate to fuel my body. The New Rules of Lifting for Women can be purchased on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, etc for $12.00 – $18.00 in hardcover, paperback or digital versions.
Now, onto my next adventure in training. A friend recommended the newest book in the “New Rules” series – “The New Rules of Lifting for Abs”. In lieu of completing stage 7 in The New Rules of Lifting for Women, I have opted to start the new program. The program is structured a little differently and focus on crunch-free workouts, which are best for avoiding back pain, which I have been suffering from lately. I will make sure to share my thoughts on this book once I get through it.
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