Hi Point Weight Fluctuation

  •  Hi Everyone,

    I noticed in Bill Philips' book that when it is time to reach level 9, he substantially decreases the weight, then decreases it again for level 10. My questions are:

    1- Is this a coincidence or this is how it should be?

    2- What happens if I increase the weight at level 9 then even more at level 10?

    3- If I should not increase the weights at these two levels, does this mean I should lift my maximum at level 8?

    4- Is there a percentage or pro rata of how much I need to increase or decrease weights at high points?

    I also have another question:

    I can leg press up to 250 pounds for my quads, but I can do no more than 120 pounds for my hamstrings. Someone told me I need to keep them close to each other in weights otherwise I am heading for problems. Is this true?



    Courage isn't lack of fear. It's our ability to carry on despite our fear

  • Hi 15-YrSC,

    After comparing with some other weight training methods, the BFL approach appears to be a combination of pre-exhaust and post-exhaust methods.  That is its strong point.  The 12/10/8 series before the maximum at 6 reps is the pre-exhaust part.  The 12/12 to follow is the post-exhaust.  One difficulty all weight lifters face is the amount of increase to use between series.  It would be nice if the weights were designed in increments of 1 -2 lbs, for a smaller percentage increase.  Unfortunately, that's rarely the case above 25 lbs, so it is difficult to do a 5% or 10% increase.  Instead, focus on increasing the time under load, even if you can't move up to a higher weight. You can do this by adding more reps, or if you want to do the same number of reps as recommended in BFL, by slowing the count from the traditional 2/4 count to a 3/6, or 4/8 etc.  As to the 2nd part of the question, I have never heard of a correlation between the weight used on the leg press and the hamstring extension.  You could also consider doing the leg extention for the quads.  It's a good idea to work in dead lifts, lunges, and squats, which work multiple muscle groups (including glutes) on the lower body.

    I should point out that many still follow the weight lifting program outline by Arthur Jones in the 1970s and are have every bit as good results.  He founded the Nautilus program, and empasized a total body (not just LB or UB) workout.

    Good Luck!


    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • jacium is dead on. and the guy who told you that your quads and hams should be at the same weight has on clue what he is talking about. If that were true, then by his example you should be able to pull the same weight on a bent over row as you would press on a bench press. (back/chest)

    He also fails to address the fact that everyone has stronger body parts and weaker ones. So listen to your body and as long as you are pushing yourself to your limit, then you are doing fine.

    And one last issue, which I think is huge and often overlooked....

    Don't lift the weight, work the muscle"

    Too many people lift weights without tuning their mind into the mind muscle connection. You lift weights

    to work your muscle, not just to brag about how much you can lift. When you are outta the gym you shouldn't care how much you say you lift. You should care how you look and perform.

  • Thanks Jacium and Charlie. I'm still confused  as to where the maximum weight I need to work my muscle with needs to go. Should it be at level 8 then?


    Two gym instructors told me that the gap between the weights for quads and hamstrings are huge which will cause me weak hamstrings by comparison leading to imbalance. I already have injury on my right tensor fasciae latae and they put it down to this gap.


    Doing leg press for both muscles makes sense. Thanks!

    Courage isn't lack of fear. It's our ability to carry on despite our fear

  • The maximum weight is level 9, not 8. I'm not sure where in the book you saw that he decreased the weight for level 9, but check the fourth bullet point on page 79, or look at one of the sample charts on page 73 or 77.

    Best wishes.

    Want it. Plan it. Do it.

  • hi Saralynn,

    I looked at the pages you mentioned. It says on page 79, bullet 4, line 3: "....., ADD more weight and do six reps. Then REDUCE the weight and do 12 reps, and immediately go to another set of 12"

    This is pretty much the opposite of what you wrote.

    If you look at the chart you mentioned on page 73 -where my initial question rests actually- you will see that adding weights doing 6 reps corresponds with level 8, while reducing weights after that corresponds with levels 9 and 10.

    Just look at the numbers he enters is the relevant cells in the table on page 73.

    Every time, at level 9, he will drop the weight to the same weight he used in level 7. As for weights used for level 10, these have no specific pattern.

    Courage isn't lack of fear. It's our ability to carry on despite our fear

  • 15-yr Shorcut

    I try not to think about the level ratings, just do the lifts nice and easy, and exhaust your muscles!  I think the level is going up to 9 and 10 during the last 12/12 sets because the muscle was previously worked and exhausted by the 36 reps beforehand - including the 6 reps at the maximum weight loading.  And, even though the weight is now reduced, the time under load (TUL) is in fact increased with what is still a considerable amount of weight.  What Charlie says about not just "lifting the weight" is really important, and relates to minimizing the momentum in the lift, and focusing mainly on exhausting the muscle.  Don't "throw" the weight up using other parts of your body, let the muscle you're focusing on do the work.  That's how muscles build themselves back up. 

    About levels:  Let's say you're doing chest presses, and assume you start your 12 warmup reps with a 10 lb dumbell in each hand, and you lift for 6 seconds (2 sec up, 4 sec back down).  Increase to 15 lb for 10 reps, 20 lbs for 8 reps.  Now you go to "level 7" and lift 25 lbs for 6 reps, or 36 seconds.  Rest for a minute.  You might then reduce the weight to 20 lbs again, and do 12 reps.  This increases the level  to 8, because although you reduced the weight by 20%, you've doubled the TUL by doing 12 reps (72 seconds).  Finish off with some chest flyes, 12 reps, with a weight you find challenging but can still control for 12 reps.

    Hope this helps - but I really want to emphasize not to pay too much attention to the level stuff - just follow the pattern of increase and decrease outlined in the book.  With respect to the legs, you have to adjust your routine for what the muscle you're working is capable of doing.  I stay away from the leg press, since honestly I tend to shove and push with my whole body, and lock the knees at the end, which not a good thing or form.  I'd recommend you do a prone or sitting hamstring extension, and a sitting quad extension.  For the last set of 12, do a deadlift or lunges holding dumbbells, and revise as you get more experienced.  I haven't found any trainers who do BFL or teach their customers the program; some are good, but in my humble opinion they focus too much on the latest trendy and "sexy" approaches, and too little on a balanced approach of nutrition, cardio, and weight training.


    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • Ok I see where you are coming from. I've always seen the two last sets of twelve as both being level 10, at least they both feel that difficult for me. But looking at set 5 of the first exercise as level 9, yes the weight does decrease for it. It's just really hard to increase the number of reps when the muscle is tired.

    Want it. Plan it. Do it.

  • once again way too much info and thinking going on.

    Follow this.

    for every set, lift as heavy as you can with proper form for the allotted amount of reps.

    set of 10 - lift as heavy as you can for 10 reps.

    set of 8 - lift as heavy as you can for 8 reps, etc

    Use this for every set.

  • Some people like info and thinking, and that's OK. Just as it is OK to do it the way you do, Charlie.

    Want it. Plan it. Do it.

  • Yes, I agree Charlie, just lift as heavy as you can for # reps needed.  I found the whole discussion of levels in the book confusing, and pretty much unnecessary, whether it was for weights or cardio.  Just one problem -what weight do you pick up for "lift as heavy as you can...".   While it's easy for experienced lifters, who know this through trial and error, a lot of beginners either don't get through all their reps, or they get through all the reps not knowing if they've worked the muscle enough. 


    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • Hi Jacium,

    Thanks to you all for you input. I think Jacium is right when he says "lifting as heavy as you can" is for experienced lifters. When I lift as heavy as I can -which is usually guesswork- I'm nearly always wrong either by picking up too much, or not enough.

    Courage isn't lack of fear. It's our ability to carry on despite our fear

  •  Good News!! By the time you finish your challenge, you'll be one of the experienced ones!!!  Good luck,


    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • Hi 15 year short cut

    Let me try and explain, as you know we do 6 sets for each body part in the following rep range 12,10,8,6,12,12 now every set you do is meant to be a little bit harder then the one before which is measured on an intensity index 5,6,7,8,9,10 so for the first 4 sets to accomplish this we increase the weight because we are decreasing the reps, on the 5th set we may be decreasing the weight a bit but we are also increasing the reps, intensity is measured not only by weight but by reps also, for your final set of 12 there was no rest period of 1 minute in between sets and with that in combination with all the other sets then of course the last set will be your lightest set from a weights point of view but it will also be your toughest because your muscle are almost at a failed state from the sets that went before

    Also your quads are much stronger muscles then your hamstrings so your PT was talking rubbish when he said you need to be lifting the same weight on both, by the way squats and leg presses work all the leg anyway

  • OK I have a question.  I like what Jacium said about "pre exhaust / post exhaust".  I typically treat the first 3 sets as gradual warm ups for my all out effort on set 4, 5, and the superset.  I do not do the most weight I can handle at in the first three sets (12, 10, 8) - I consider this the pre exhast sets.  If I really did as much as possible in each set I would be exhausted after my first set and doubt I could increase weight between set 1,2,3, and 4.  In other words, I wait until set 4 and 5 to hit a high point (mostly 4 - weight and 5 - volume)

    Do you think I am not following the program correctly?  Should I be maxing out on every set for the prescribed rep range?  I have been under the impression that means "9 or 10" on every set and is different from the BFL approach.

    Also this question about same weight on leg press and leg curl sounds odd (I assume that is the hamstring exercise you are doing).  They are totally different exercises.  I think the best thing you can do is train using compound exercises (vs isolated muscles) which automatically keeps things in sync.  The primary compound exercises are squats (ideally ATG - past parallel), deadlifts, overhead press, and bench press.  I also throw in chins / pullups, rows, and dips to cover the bases.   I also do curls and triceps extensions but they are probably unnecessary as they are already hit hard in the compound moves - I am considering removing them.