Samara Donald is: The Gym Coach

Make the most of your workout!

Get Strong(er).

bicepsquadsIf you’ve been lifting weights for a while it’s time to turn it up a notch. Your muscles, like every other part of your body, are prone to adapt to whatever you throw at it. If you run 3 miles every day, in the beginning it was hard, but sooner or later it becomes easy and you have to up the mileage to get as good of a workout. Yes? Same thing applies to weight training – if you want to keep building your muscles, you must keep increasing the weight you lift.

But how to increase your weight is not as easy as it may sound. Let’s say you usually do 15 lb dumbbell bicep curls at 3 sets x 12 reps. Jumping from 15lb dumbbells to 20’s for this many sets/reps will knock your sox off. You could go in baby steps and try 17.5’s, but this 2.5 lb progression will take a while to get to the 20’s, and will be boring. And we hate boring!

Building up strength by progressively including heavier weights to your routine will help your muscles adapt more steadily, while keeping your mind engaged and active. Working with a pyramid set approach, here is how this works:

 

1. Choose an exercise for any part of the body (simple exercises will work best such as a bicep curl or squat)

 

2. Select 3 sets of dumbbells:

  • The first, the weight you usually lift for this exercise
  • For the second, choose the weight closest to 1/3 less than #1 (e.g. if #1 is 15 lbs then choose 10 lbs)
  • The third, at double the second (e.g. if #2 = 10 lbs, then #3 = 20lbs)
  • Got more muscle than brain power? Use my cheat sheet below Smile

 

3. Line up the weights from smallest to biggest

 

4. Perform the following pyramid set:

  • Perform 12 reps at the lightest weight
  • Count to 30 (short break)
  • Perform 6 reps of the medium weight
  • Count to 30
  • Perform 3 reps at the heaviest weight
  • Count to 60 (slightly longer break, now let’s reverse)
  • Perform 3 reps at the heaviest weight
  • Count to 30
  • Perform 6 reps of the medium weight
  • Count to 30 (short break)
  • Perform 12 reps at the lightest weight

 

and your done! Or, you can be crazy like me and do another set. Your call.

 

Cheat Sheet weights for this set

Light Weight Your Regular Weight Heavy Weight
10 15 20
12 20 25
17.5 25 35
20 30 40

 

Visually, the set looks like this (hence the name “pyramid”):

– – – – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – –

– – –

– – –

– – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – – – –

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One comment on “Get Strong(er).

  1. Pingback: Get Fast(er) « TheGymCoach Blog

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This entry was posted on October 19, 2011 by in fitness.
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