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Weight training experiment – Week 20

April 11, 2010

In January of 2010, I was 10 weeks into a workout experiment.  In the last ten weeks, strength gain in smaller muscle groups has clearly leveled off and the rapid increase in strength for the larger muscle groups has started to slow as well.  Here are the charts updated with data up through today’s workout.

Week 20 - Strength as fraction of first workout (%).

Week 20 - Strength as fraction of first workout (%).

A couple of features jump out:

  • Progress with a pull downs flattened quickly.  I backed off and tried to concentrate on negatives, but progress was slow.  This exercise uses biceps, triceps and abs.  The strategy going forward is to isolate the weakest area(s).
  • Bench press progress appears to be tapering off to about 80% increase from mid-November.  Leg press is nearly 90% and there is still week-to-week progress.  The lat row progress, while only 45% from November, continues to progress a few pounds form week to week.  I did not expect these results and am very pleasantly surprised!
  • This represents 18 workouts averaging 23 min each, for a total workout time of  about 7 hours of workout time.  Time under load averages about 40% of the workout or about 2.8 hours of actually pushing the weights.  I am satisfied that this workout method is very efficient!
  • (The dip in leg press trend around February 20 is due to changing machines–I surpassed the capacity of the normal leg press machine and had to move a machine that holds free weights.  This machine is at an incline so it took a couple of weeks to recalibrate.  I added a conversion factor based on the angle of the inclined machine to adjust the last 6 points on the leg press line.)
  • I gained a few pounds during this time period.  Since I did not measure body fat ratios, I don’t know the details of weight redistribution.  But the changes are in the right direction.

In terms of absolute weight, I am still a fairly weak desk jockey…

Week 20 - Weight trend for 18 workouts.

Week 20 - Weight trend for 18 workouts.

The results seem really great based on the 2 hours and 45 minutes I spent in the gym pushing weights.  Recommended.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 10, 2013 1:21 am

    thanks drskippy for putting together such informative data on this program, i have been looking around to see how others have fared and am keen to give it a go myself. So far I’ve come across mixed reviews, though a lot of people seem to keep doing other intense activities as well as Body by science, which makes me question whether they are getting the rest time they needed and perhaps offloaded the program to quickly as they then didn’t see any progress.

    I don’t want to sound to critical, but, out of curiosity, I thought Body by science recommended a maximum of 30 seconds rest between exercises? Thus greatly fatiguing one as they go and adding a chalenge to your cardiovascular system? You say that “Time under load averages about 40% of the workout” – but I thought if one did 90 seconds or so of activity, and then only had a 30 second rest that Time Under Load (TUL) would equal approximately 75%, nearly double what you had? Perhaps the reality of switching weights over takes more than 30 seconds, that would certainly not surprise me?

    I was also under the impression that it was more like 3-5 reps at perhaps 10-15 seconds in each direction on a lift (concentric and eccentric), rather than 9-10 10 second ones, although obviously you still saw impressive strength gains nonetheless! Either way I can only imagine it would be the same TUL right? Thus it probably was a non issue.

    Thanks again for the great data compiling, was great to read about your experiences!

    Sam

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  2. July 10, 2013 7:33 am

    Sam-

    Thanks much for your comments. I think your observations are pretty much on the mark. I wasn’t a very experienced weight-lifter where I started this experiment and didn’t know what to expect from the exercises or the progress over time. I can clarify a few things and comment on some of your observations:

    * I think I got the idea of 10 sec reps from the book, but I may have stuck with only that routine longer than recommended. Mixing up and getting help with negatives seems like a good idea, but I had my “science experiment” to run…:) With the rapid strength progress I experienced, predicting the next weight level where I would be spent on the 9th rep wasn’t always easy. I think I sometimes ended up doing 8 controlled, slow reps and sometimes 10.

    * I think the TUL is only sort of interesting. I feel like I moved from exercise to exercise about as fast as I could manage–one effect of getting the 9th rep right for me was the need to sit still for bit before trying to stand an walk. I think my goal was to move that percentage up, but only secondarily to the strength building.

    * I really found that 6-7 days was the shortest rest that worked for me. I have been keeping records on a modified version of this workout for the last year, and found that I can still increase weight with 10-12 days rest between workouts. At about 2 weeks, I can maintain the same strength, but much more and I start to lose slowly (After an injury recently, I didn’t hit the weights for 4 weeks and my max wight fell 6-10% (depending on the muscle group).

    * I have recently complete another year of a modified version of this workout, using the same machines for the same exercises, but using a pyramid 12-6-4 reps on increasing weights where the 4 reps leaves me spent as before. I found that this gives about the same max weight and improvement as the 9 rep routine. This workout takes about 32-35 min, or about 10 min longer. So I spent about 25 hrs in the gym total last year–like to keep this under 1 day in the future. I got to a level of about 700lb leg press and 295lb chest press on the same machines shown for these experiments–I was surprised that the improvements continued to be this significant.

    * The results of walking around 50%-100% stronger have been nothing but upside. Good luck with your workouts!

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