Charting Your Progress

Starting in chapter 17, you're going to see a series of workout charts telling you the exercises to do for each phase of each program, as well as the number of sets and repetitions, the amount of time you should rest between sets, and even the speed at which you should perform your repetitions.

The best way to keep track of all that is with a system of workout charts. On page 203, you'll see a blank chart that will work for any of Alwyn's New Rules workouts. You just need to copy it, and then fill in the appropriate words and numbers in the appropriate columns. (A sample chart appears on page 204.)

The New Rules of Lifting

Program: Workout:

Exercise Sets Reps Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Set 6 Tempo Rest

Workout 1

Workout 2

Workout 3

Workout 4

Workout 1

Workout 2

Workout 3

Workout 4

Workout 1

Workout 2

Workout 3

Workout 4

Workout 1

Workout 2

Workout 3

Workout 4

Workout 1

Workout 2

Workout 3

Workout 4

Workout 1

Workout 2

Workout 3

Workout 4

Notes'

The New Rules of Lifting

Program: Fat-Loss I Workout: A

Exercise | Sets | Reps | Set 1 | Set 2 | Set 3 | Set 4 | Set 5 Set 6 Tempo Rest

Superset with full rest

Barbell Squat

Normal

is

Workout 1

3

is

65/15

75/15

8s/i3

Workout 2

3

is

15/15

85/15

js/ii

Workout 3

Workout 4

Cable seated row to waist

Normal

is

Workout 1

3

is

40/15

4s/is

50/15

Workout 2

3

is

50/15

ss/is

L0/14

Workout 3

Workout 4

Superset with full rest

Supine hip extension (body weight)

Normal

is

Workout 1

3

is

is

1-4

iZ

Workout 2

3

is

is

is

is

Workout 3

Workout 4

Dumbbell push press

Normal

is

Workout 1

3

is

2s/is

3o/i4

30/iZ

Workout 2

3

is

30/is

3s/i3

3s/ii

Workout 3

Workout 4

Superset with full rest

Dumbbell rotational lunge

Normal

is

Workout 1

3

is

10/15

15/15

is/ii

Workout 2

3

is

15/15

20/15

Zo/iZ

Workout 3

Workout 4

swiss-bajl crunch (body weight)

Normal

is

Workout 1

3

is

is

is

i3

Workout 2

3

is

is

is

i4

Workout 3

Workout 4

Notes'

A few questions you may have:

+ Why are there blank spaces between pairs of exercises?

Alwyn uses supersets in many of his programs. The lines allow you to write "superset with full rest," "superset with no rest," or any other instructions you may need there. (Don't worry if you don't know what a superset is yet; all terms and instructions are fully explained in the workout chapters.)

+ What do the numbers under "Set 1," "Set 2," and "Set 3" mean?

The first number is the amount of weight you use on that set. The second is the number of repetitions you complete. So "40/15" means you did fifteen reps with forty pounds.

+ How come the lifter in this sample did fewer than fifteen reps on some sets?

When you get into the gym and start doing these programs, you'll find that you sometimes underestimate how much weight you can use. If you get fifteen reps on all three sets with a weight, you can be pretty sure you undershot your strength potential on that exercise. But most of us go the other direction. We choose a weight that's a bit too heavy to get all the reps on all three sets, and that's why this lifter falls short on some sets. There's no problem with falling short—you have to try a weight before you can know whether it's too light or too heavy.

Another factor is exhaustion. You may have chosen the right weight, but then run out of gas before the end of the set.

+ Should I use the weights shown in this sample as my ideal starting weights?

No. You have to estimate your own starting weights, using trial and error. There's no way to get around it. I've met personal trainers who were phenomenally good at figuring out their clients' starting weights. Alwyn is among them. Maybe it's some kind of Jedi mind trick. But unless you have one of those trainers, you have to figure it out on your own.

+ What does the phrase "body weight" mean in the entries for the Supine hip extension and Swiss-ball crunch?

That means you do the exercises with your body weight for resistance. You have the option of using a weight on the Swiss-ball crunch, but there's no practical way to add resistance on the Supine hip extension.

If you're doing a combination of body weight and resistance—holding a weight plate across your chest, say—on the Swiss-ball crunch, you can indicate that on your log by using "BW" for body weight. If this sample had chosen that strategy, he might've written "BW/15" for Set 1, meaning he did fifteen reps with his body weight as the only resistance. Then if he added weight for subsequent sets, he could write "10/15" for Set 2, meaning he completed fifteen reps with ten pounds, then "15/12," meaning he ran out of gas after doing twelve reps with fifteen pounds.

+ What happens if I need to do a particular workout more than four times?

Just use a second blank page, and write in "Workout 5" where it says "Workout 1," etc.

+ Won't I look silly carrying these pages around?

I've been carrying around workout sheets on a clipboard for so many years that I can't remember the last time I worried about someone thinking less of me because of my record-keeping. Frankly, I can't think of any reason why they would. The guys who draw snickers are the ones who think they know what they're doing but don't— the guys who load up a bar with too much weight in the bench-press station, use a spotter to help them complete the lift, and then jump around like they've just won an Olympic medal.

I tend to see two types of lifters using workout logs: the newbies, who're trying to follow programs created by their trainers, and the most serious, goal-oriented intermediate and advanced lifters. Granted, that's still a minority of the gym population. But if there's any "dork factor" involved in following a written program and keeping track of your progress, I'm not aware of it.

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