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Feedback on Strength Training Style

LambornBetseyLambornBetsey Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member
I’d like to get some feedback on my style of strength training. I use machines at my gym, which is a Planet Fitness (if it matters.)
I came up with this on my own. What I found I like to do is hop on a machine, check to see what the heaviest weight I did on the machine was last time (I keep notes) and set the machine at the next heaviest weight setting. I will then do one set of as many reps as I consider possible with good form- essentially until exhaustion. Sometimes this is only 1-2 reps, but I do not count (I tried but I listen to podcasts and get distracted too easily, so it’s useless for me to count.) I do my reps slowly and mindfully, marrying breath with motion, like in yoga. After I finish my set, I typically lower the weight by a setting (mostly, depending on how easy the first set was) and after a brief rest do another set (again to “exhaustion.) I then do as many sets as I feel comfortable with that day, which depends on many factors (like how much time I have, whether or not there’s another free machine available, and how my energy is that day.)
Essentially, I go with the flow and listen to my body. If a particular exercise was very easy or extremely challenging I note it so I will remember for next time.
If the machine I’m using is one that requires switching sides, I do track my time on each side to keep it symmetrical.
My goals are to increase strength and muscle stamina in order to improve my yoga practice.
Is this a known method of strength training? I found it very effective (though it may not be the most efficient way.)
Thank you to anyone willing to give me their two cents.


  • Elijah8468Elijah8468 Member Posts: 34 Member Member Posts: 34 Member
    It's a type of progressive overload. I would say the norm is more rep based compared to exhaustion. Such as one week 3 sets of 4 with one weight then the following week add weight and try for another 3 sets of 4. Great job on keeping in mind form.
  • LambornBetseyLambornBetsey Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member
    Thank you!
    Mostly, my goal is to be stronger. Some toning (legs) and bulking up/toning (upper body) would be nice. As a result, I try to start with arm exercises (because I will have more energy at the start of a workout), then I move to lower body. (I usually only work out one day a week, but I do the whole body at once.)
  • cupcakesandproteinshakescupcakesandproteinshakes Member Posts: 697 Member Member Posts: 697 Member
    I would suggest you get on a proven resistance training progrsmmme that meets your goals. Training to failure has its role, but generally not recommended all the time .
  • LambornBetseyLambornBetsey Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member
    Thanks everyone. I got more feedback than I imagined getting.
    I didn’t realize doing repetitions until I felt I could no longer do them anymore (instead of picking an arbitrary number goal) was a failure. I thought it was me listening to my body and trying to get stronger in a way that felt natural and safe for me and my body.
    I’m glad though that there may be value in doing some research instead of just doing whatever I felt like. Maybe what they taught me my in 7th grade weight training class is a bit outdated too.
  • DancingMoosieDancingMoosie Member Posts: 5,186 Member Member Posts: 5,186 Member
    Training to failure doesn't mean your training is a failure. It just means that you lift until you feel like you would fail if you tried one more rep. It is usually not recommended to train this way because it is difficult for your body to recover and there is more chance of injury.
    When you don't count your reps, you run the risk of developing a muscular imbalance. This is why using a proven program is recommended.
    edited February 22
  • LambornBetseyLambornBetsey Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member
    Ahhh ok! Thank you for clarifying.
  • riffraff2112riffraff2112 Member Posts: 1,589 Member Member Posts: 1,589 Member
    There is a place for experimentation in any program, and what you enjoy, and are seeing progress with can be personal. There is also thousands of programs designed to meet specific needs, researched to death in an industry that is riddled with people looking for every minute advantage as possible.

    I generally would stay away from beginning a workout with the heaviest you can lift for one or two reps...for me that would probably lead to injury, but I am older and lift pretty heavy with free weights so I need to be a bit more mindful. I prefer walking my way up to the heavier weights using the first few sets to warm my muscles up.

    You definitely hit on some key points regarding form, and pace.. asking questions is a great way to get some advice.

    On a final note, you will see results with virtually any program, especially if you are new to training. The body responds to resistance training rather quickly for those that have never really lifted before. It is quite common to change a lifting program every so often to require the muscles to adapt to different stimuli and stress to kind of mimic that effect. Once the body adapts to a particular stress, the gains are not as easy to be had.
  • LambornBetseyLambornBetsey Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member
    Well everyone, I took your advice and modified my technique and surprise surprise... I’m not stiff and sore 4 days later like I usually am.
    Thank you all so much!
  • eruschereruscher Member Posts: 5 Member Member Posts: 5 Member
    Rotating your reps, and rest periods each week is a great way to keep training fresh. Unless you are in powerlifting preparation you should never do a particular rep range for longer than 4 weeks.

    A sample program might be 4 sets of 12 with 1:00 rest for week 1. The load you lift is set by the rep range you are performing. 1 minute is not a long time after 12 reps and the fatigue factor will set in after 3-4 exercises. This loading does not stress the joints and connective tissue and is more of a hypertrophy and muscular endurance workout.

    Week 2 you could do 4 sets of 6 reps with 2-2:30 rest between sets. This is a strength range and this is important to work on to raise the load you can lift for 12 reps.

    Week 3 you can do 4 sets of 8 reps with a 1:30 to 1:40 rest. This mid range hits some strength development and some hypertrophy.

    Week 4 you can do a modified compound set with about 1:30-1:45 rest in a 6,8,10,12 pattern. This mixes the loading. For instance if you do a machine chest press with 100 pounds for 6 reps then you would drop 15-20 pounds and do 75–80 pounds after rest for 8 reps. Then after rest you would drop again and do 10 reps and then rest and do 12 reps.

    This rotation allows for the joints and connective tissue to not be stressed so much. Overuse and overloading leads to tendinitis and other issues. Variety in the strength room creates an environment for gains. Remember rest is just as Important as training and eating properly.

    Another reason to use this varied approach is to keep the body guessing what is coming next. Your body will adapt over time to a training stress and eventually there is no response because it’s the same thing every day.

    Good luck and keep charging forward!

    Ed Ruscher
    Former Dir. Strength and Conditioning
    Univ. of Louisville
  • LambornBetseyLambornBetsey Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member
    Saw this video (it was recommended to me by someone on a fasting forum) and it makes me think I had the right idea all along! Except I just need to work to failure (and skip the extra repetitions with lower weights.)
  • LambornBetseyLambornBetsey Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member
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