My love affair with The New Rules of Lifting for Women…

I was wasting time in the health and fitness section of one of the giant bookstores about a year ago, trying to find some inspiration.  I had been thinking about working on my strength, it seemed like if I could make my muscles stronger I would have more endurance to get through my DVD workouts.  Tae Bo was kicking my butt, pretty hard.  I had the same experience as most people who start out with small weights or exercise bands – they were fine, but it seemed like there should be something…more.  More challenging!  More satisfying.

I was making my last lap around the book aisles, and I saw a white book with a picture of a man on it holding a large dumbbell.  It was called The New Rules of Lifting by Lou Schuler.  I had heard of it before, but it was for men.  Then I looked at the books surrounding it, to see if there was another choice, and there was the same white book by the same author, only this one had a picture of a ponytailed woman holding her own dumbbell.  The first thing I read was “Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess”.  Well OK!  This was more like it.  Lifting big stuff AND looking like a goddess?  Sold.  It was called The New Rules of Lifting for Women  , written by Schuler, Cassandra Forsythe, and workout programs by Alwyn Cosgrove.

I didn’t own any weights besides the tiny little 3 pounders gathering dust in the basement, but I wanted to take some time to look through the book and see if it was something I thought I could really do before I made any big decisions about how seriously to get into weight lifting.  After reading for a little while, I came to this sentence: “It’s not enough to progress from lifting the Barbie bells fifteen times to lifting them twenty times.  It may be an accomplishment…but it’s not going to make muscles bigger.”.  There was so much great stuff in there, things that validated what I had felt for a long time and made sense for weight loss and strength.  If you haven’t read it, you should do yourself a favor and go out and find a copy.  There are three main sections; an explanation of why women are better off lifting heavier weights for weight loss and bone health, then a great section on meal plans and the best way to time meals, and finally the workouts themselves.  After reading two-thirds of the book already, I was way on board and ready to get working.  I found a weight set on Craigslist (I was happy working out at home, and I figured that other people in the house would be able to join me).  The whole family drove out to some bohunk town to pack our van full of equipment – it was pretty satisfying to tell the older couple selling it that it was for me and not my husband – and we brought it home and set it up.  I now had a barbell, two dumbbells, 90 pounds of weights, and a weight bench that was set up for leg lifts and rows.  I was ready to go!

There are seven stages, each stage taking about three weeks.  With workouts three times a week, I could fill in the other days with running, yoga, or whatever sounded good on that day.

Right now, I am on Stage 1, and there are 2 different workouts that I use on alternating days.  Workout A is as follows: Squats (with the barbell on my shoulders), push ups, seated rows, step ups (holding dumbbells), and the deadly, horrible super hard prone jackknife.  If you’ve never had the pleasure of doing the prone jackknife, let me lay it out for you.  You get into push up position, and put the tops of your shins on an exercise ball.  You are now in plank position.  Now pull your knees in, stick your booty in the air, and have the tops of your feet keep you on the ball.  Now stretch back out into plank, and do that over and over again until you feel like either your arms or your back is going to break.  Brutal.  But I do it, I do 3 sets of 12 alternating with the step up workout.  So yeah, it gets crazy.  But my heart rate really gets going, I get a good sweat on, and I end up feeling worked out.   Good stuff 🙂

The other workout I alternate with is workout B: the deadlift (my favorite), dumbbell shoulder presses, overhead lat pulldowns, lunges with dumbbells, and swiss ball crunches.  I’m only three workouts away from moving on to Stage 2, and I can’t wait for it.  There have been a handful of false starts – only going for a week or so before I got distracted and gave up, so lets just say I have gotten my fill of Stage 1.  But I love doing the workouts, so much.  It has changed the shape of my body already, and the increased strength I have has really helped me with running, yoga, everyday life!  I can’t recommend it enough.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Wendy on August 29, 2011 at 1:26 am

    Sounds like a great book — I’ve requested it from my local library, and will check it out.

    I found a great book, too, that really got me thinking. And, it has workout plans that I’d like to try. It’s titled: Hyperfitness: 12 weeks to conquering your inner Everest and getting into the best shape of your life, by Sean Burch.

    Keep it up!!! 🙂


  2. It’s great that you found it in the library, it’s always nice to give it a good look over before you buy 🙂 I’m interested to hear what you think of it!

    I will look into the book you suggested! It’s always a good thing to get a heads up about great books.

    What kinds of things have you been doing in your workouts lately?


    • Posted by Wendy on August 30, 2011 at 11:04 am

      Running …. when I can. I focused more on the boys this summer, and not so much on me, and discovered that I need to find a better balance between my physical fitness/workout needs and them; and to be more physically active with them whenever possible — including bike rides and walks/runs.

      I injured my shoulder early this summer, and that put a damper on my workouts, as well. I’ve been doing some rehab work with my chiropractor, and it’s improving, but it still feels weak. The recovery time is quite frustrating.

      Another website to check out is — warning, however — the chick is HOT! But, they are free workouts; they are intense workouts; they are short AND effective. I want to do more of those workouts.

      I’m staying low-key for another week….but once Brendan goes back to school next week, my workouts will become a bigger priority.


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