I had gotten a comment and a couple emails about my strength training program, so here is how it evolved in a nutshell.
I have been working with weights for a few years on and off, and very consistently for the past year and a half or so, so keep that in mind when you look at my routines. We have a bowflex, which is quite a good machine for home use – although I currently don’t use it since I joined the Y. I used that and some free weights pretty religiously and followed the workouts that came with the manual.
Last summer, I found a couple of wonderful books by Brad Schoenfeld that I could not recommend more highly to get serious with weight training for women. His
Sculpting Her Body Perfect is the best one to start with, then once you get advanced, do the 28-Day Body Shapeover
That one is pretty intense, so you really need to have a good base of strength before you do that one, IMHO, but I saw serious results from that.
Both of those books give you different ideas on how to plan workouts on your own, what to focus on, how to balance the program based on what you want to achieve and how far you want to go, from good general conditioning all the way to fitness competitor.
It is very important to change up your routines every couple of months. To that end, I have just recently started The New Rules of Lifting for Women,which are the workouts you have seen me post for the last month or so. I am quite enjoying doing mostly compound exercises this go around, and this book is basically a 6 month program, but it is broken into series, so it will automatically change the workouts every 6-8 weeks for you.
Don’t be afraid of the weights, I know I keep saying that, but get off the machines and start using the dumbbells, barbells, and cables. You can all kinds of muscle work that you can’t get on the machines. Check your library for any of these books and read through them.