Tag Archives: One Rep Max (1RM)

Body Building – Moving into Phase Two


If you’re wondering how I got to day 29 already, I was out of town on business days 26 & 27 (worked out at the local gym and hotel gym combined those days)  and then I had two rest days. Instead of boring you with the leg, shoulder, and ab routine I did last week, let’s move right on into phase two!!!! I’m SO EXCITED to add the cardio in!! I haven’t done it in five weeks and I’m scared ready to start burning it!

Moving into the second phase, the focus continues to be building muscle, courtesy of a 6-day workout split. The repetitions in this phase fall between 8 and 10, with the exception of certain exercises where really taxing the muscle requires more volume. We will be working at 85% of your maximum effort, which means your last rep in each set should be a struggle, but still doable. I was going to explain how to find your 85% max effort, but found a nifty calculator instead. This calculator is only an estimate, but it’s fun to play around with.  If you’re like me and need a real example, let’s break it down like this. If you think the most weight you can handle for one perfectly executed dumbbell curl is 30 pounds, choose 25 pound dumbbells. (The equation: 30 X .85 = 25.5 pounds, so round-up or down to the nearest weight.) Feel free to test the weights and use the calculator on your phone to figure out your 85%. They’ll just think you’re important answering all your texts/emails, not being a total gym nerd. 🙂

Lifting heavier means you’ll need longer rest periods between sets. For some exercises, you’ll feel ready to continue after one minute, other exercises might require two. Regardless, the rest period should be long enough to allow you to tackle each set with as much exertion as possible. Don’t rush through your sets. Make the most of your strength and give your muscles time to fully recover during this heavy lifting.

In phase two we start supersets!  This is the one exception where you would perform an exercise immediately after a different exercise with nearly no rest taken between- only enough to position yourself for the second exercise. I’m happy to be adding something new in the routine. Five weeks of the same old thing tends to get a little stale. While we’re on the topic of definitions, you’ll also need to know what “lifting to failure” means. On your last set of an exercise, instead of lifting to a set number, continuing to lift until the muscle is fatigued and another full rep can’t be performed. FUN! 🙂

Even though lifting heavier will increase our heart rate, at this point in the program, we will begin to incorporate four days of medium-intensity cardio, done in 30-minute increments. Forgoing the cardio in the first phase allowed your body to use all of the “clean” calories it consumed for everyday activities and building muscle. By introducing medium-intensity cardio in phase two, we’ll begin to facilitate fat burning, while minimizing the risk of losing any hard-earned muscle.

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