Change, personal bests and serendipity

This past Wednesday, I finished up a four-week weight training cycle. All. Done.

Recall that I had reduced my weight training sessions from four times a week to just two. In part, because I’ve been trying to make time to address my lack of flexibility through yoga, but also, because I had plateaued in my strength gains and thought that a change might stimulate new growth.

For the past month, I’ve split my training time over two days; one day for chest, back and triceps, the other for legs, shoulders and biceps. I’ve kept the exercises the same each week, but manipulated the loads and repetition numbers. (For those of you new to weight training, this is called progressive resistance training. To continue to make strength gains, you need to continually add weight (or difficulty) to an exercise.)

And boy, did it work!

She should be lifting heavier... Source

Below, I’ve listed my start and end performances for just the chest and back exercises (don’t want to bore you with all the numbers!). Notice the increase in load over just four weeks! The chest press, bent over row and cable pec fly represent all-time personal bests! Hip, hip hooray; let’s hear it for change!

  • Dumbbell chest press: 25 lbs x 8 reps x 4 sets TO 30 lbs 8 x 10 reps x 4 sets
  • Single arm bent over row: 35 lbs x 8 x 4 TO 40 lbs x 10 x 4
  • Lat pulldowns: 70 lbs x 8 x 4 TO 80 lbs x 10 x 4
  • Cable pec flys: 25 lbs x 8 x 4 TO 27.5 lbs x 10 x 4
  • Seated row: 65 lbs x 8 x 4  TO 75 lbs x 10 4 4
  • Pushups: 30 (total over 4 sets) TO 57 (total over 4 sets)
I saw similar changes in the amount of weight my shoulders, arms and legs could move. Some exercises resulted in greater gains than others, but all in all, I’m pleased with my progress and thrilled that spending less time in the gym produced greater results!

However, I don’t think I’ve gotten everything I can out of this training schedule. So for the next four week cycle, I’ll be following the same schedule. Still splitting my training over two days. Still grouping chest with back and triceps, legs with shoulders and biceps. Only the specific exercises will change (I’ll post details next week).

As a consequence of the heavy rows and presses I did on Wednesday, I’ve been feeling very tight and constricted through the shoulders. Although I did stretch thoroughly after my workout, delayed onset muscle soreness hit me hard this morning. Since the gym is closed today (Remembrance Day in Canada), I thought I’d head to the yoga studio for a more intense stretch.


The instructor must have read my mind. We spent the entire class on chest and shouldering opening poses. I left feeling thoroughly relaxed with no hint of tightness remaining. Serendipity always makes me smile!

Have you made a change in your exercise routine lately?

Tell me about it!

If not, why not?

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.


  1. I’m reading Run Less Run Faster with the intention of changing how I train for marathons. In January I’m switching my strength/cross training from P90X to P90X2. I’m a big fan of change and trying new things!

    Why am I always caught off guard by delayed onset muscle soreness. I really shouldn’t be surprised 🙂

  2. Tell me about P90X; I’ve never done it, but am super curious. I need a brand new way of doing things in the new year and am open to suggestions (but will never be a runner, no matter how many of you try to convince me LOL!).

  3. I love this post, Tamara. Fascinating. Congrats on your wonderful results. What an inspiration, motivator and educator you are.
    “Have you made a change in your exercise routine lately?” Yes. Added on running (to have endurance and power for dancing), capoeira (to have greater flexibility and acrobatics and agility), baton twirling, and street dance.