The New Rules for Women program was my first introduction to a real program. Hell, to real lifting. It really got me interested and in a matter of months I was reading everything I could find: books, websites, forums. One of my favorite topics was the mythical programming. Gradually I grew more annoyed at the NROL4W workouts. They were very long: some of them took 2 hours to complete. Some exercises hurt my knees. I longed to add in other exercises that would help strengthen my weak spots. But I was convinced that I could never make my own program.
This all changed when I stumbled on to the most important article on the internet: Program Design for Dummies. If the internet was a house on fire, this is the article I would rush to save. It explains in clear language how to make a program that balances push- and pull movements, includes unilateral work, core, and everything. It even includes a template.
I played around with it and made a three stage program that I then put back on the shelf. Sure, I now had an idea of how to make a balanced workout, but I still didn’t know how to decide on reps and a periodisation of sorts. This all changed when:
- I did NROL’s 4×4 workout, and decided that low rep training was the coolest thing ever
- I went back on a diet, and decided I didn’t want to spend 1,5 hours in the gym for every gruelling session
So I made my program. It’s made up of
- one big lift (5×5),
- two smaller lifts (3×8),
- two accessory exercises (2×12)
- cardio: either 10 minutes of 70% HR or (once a week), 15 mins of intervals.
The program takes me 55-60 minutes. My numbers are going up. I look forward to every session. I don’t have to cancel fun stuff in order to train. Hell if I skip the cardio, I can do it on my lunch break. I couldn’t be happier.
And if I ever stop being happy with it, I know I only have myself to blame.