New Rules of Lifting for Women: A Recap
January 22, 2010 § 11 Comments
I recently finished New Rules of Lifting for Women, which is a 7 phase strength training program lasting approximately 6 months depending on the frequency of your workouts. The program builds strength through basic multi-joint exercises and is a chin up progression. At the end of the program, you should be able to do unassisted chin ups. I was able to do them before the end, but that’s only because I did them often and they got easier.
Phase 1 starts with basic squats and deadlifts among other exercises. This phase may seem too simple and most experienced exercisers tend to want to skip it, myself included. After some consideration, I decided that I would do it because I felt I could use improvement on these exercises. Also, the program was designed by Alwyn Cosgrove. Enough said.
What I liked about the program:
- The workouts are planned and easy to follow. It takes the guesswork out of what you’re going to do next.
- Workouts are 2 – 3 x per week. I did them 2x per week.
- No cardio is required except for Phases 2, 3, 4, and 5 and this is in form of HIIT (high intensity interval training). I love this type of training and did it often before doing the program. You can do other activities you enjoy. For me that was spin class, kettlebells, and some running.
The program comes with nutritional information and recipes. I didn’t try any of the recipes but the nutrition information was very good. If you’re familiar with The FitCast podcast, you’ll know Cassandra Forsythe who wrote the nutrition section in the book. She is highly educated on the subject of nutrition and has done some great research on different nutrition topics. You can read more about her credentials and research here.
The basic nutritional guidelines I follow are:
- Have a protein shake after my workouts
- Keep wheat free non processed complex carbohydrates (with the exception of ezekial sprouted tortillas) timed around my workouts.
- No counting calories but I did eat more during certain times and especially during phase 6 when the program was low rep heavy weight.
This works for me but understandably might not work for everyone. I do want to note here that another reason I decided to eat more was because my monthly periods were getting messed up. I went from an exact 28 day cycle, (which I have always been) to 31 days + and periods sometimes lasting for several weeks. This was happening at about 123 lbs and 15% bodyfat. For me, it’s just more important to be healthy. Screwing with my hormones and possibly heading on the road to losing my periods altogether (the medical term is amenorrhea) is not something I’m interested in doing to look good. While it’s possible that my cycle could be changing (I am 36 years old), when I ate more, my periods returned to a strict 28 day cycle. Interesting.
I also want to note that a few months into the program, I started working out with kettlebells. Turkish get ups and swings were the majority of what I did for months. Then I added cleans, presses, and snatches into the mix. I was very careful not to overtrain, and New Rules was always my number one priority.
I went from doing zero to five consecutive to the sternum chin ups. I can do a total of 8 in a workout though (in a descending set).
Increased 1 minute sprint from 9 mph to 10.5 miles per hour. Increased 30 second sprint to 11 mph.
This is the difference in measurements taken 5/25/09 and 1/21/10:
- Height – 5 foot 6 (no change…boo!)
- Weight – 127 (down 1.5 lbs)
- Bodyfat – 17% (down 3%)
- Waist – 27 (down 1/4 inch)
- Hips – 35 inches (no change)
- Arm – 10 inches ( up 1/8 inch)
- Thigh – 19.5 inches (no change)
- Calf – 14 1/4 (down 3/4 of an inch!)
- Chest (under bra) – 27 inches (up 1/2 inch)
- Chest (at the largest part) – 31 inches (up 3/4 of a inch)
With the exception of thigh and hip measurements not budging, I’m very happy with these results. I am assuming my chest measurement is up from lattisimus dorsi growth doing all those chin ups, turkish get ups, and presses.
What I’ve Learned:
Taking a rest is good! The program says to take a 1 week rest between phases. This was a foreign concept to me. I found I was actually getting further taking all that rest!
Being strong, capable, and healthy is SO much more important than looking ultra lean.
Pay attention to what your body is telling you and adjust accordingly. Be aware of how foods and sleep patterns make you feel. This is a huge component to success.
Doing REAL chin ups while men in the gym do half chin ups really freakin ROCKS!
What’s Next for Me:
In a word…kettlebells! I am looking forward to improving even more on my strength with the program “Enter the Kettlebell” by Pavel Tsatsouline. In addition, I will cross train with my TRX, traditional lifts, and some sprinting.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend this program to any woman looking to improve their strength!