T Nation

Advice on Ways to Reduce Weight Plate Loading Times


I've been training for a couple of months now and I'm having a bit of trouble. I want to do pyramid sets so my muscles become accustomed to the weight of the working sets but it takes me way too long to add weight plates to the barbell/dumbbells between sets. I don't like to rest more than 30 seconds unless I absolutely have to. I got rid of the spinlocks and now I'm using spring collars but it still takes too long. Any ideas, tips would be appreciated.

Also, I'm following the advice that I've found most people recommend for beginners. I train full body Mon, Wed and Fri. I've also been told not to let each session go for more than an hour. I've been following this advice but I really want to do more and feel that I can. What do you guys think is a good way for me to increase my weekly workload without overtraining or interferring with recovery time? What do you guys think about training muscle groups that are still sore from DOMS from the last workout? Personally, I LOVE the feeling of DOMS when my muscles are tight and aching but there seems to be a lot of disagreement about whether it's a good thing at all, whether you should train a muscle group still sore from DOMS or wait till it goes. What do you guys think?

P.S. - Yes I'm a complete nube so cut me some slack please.


Stop giving out advice for a while, forget what you think you know about lifting, read the stickied threads at the top of this forum, read the bodybuilding bible (a thread on this forum, search for it).

If you rest less than the time it takes to change plates, you're probably not using enough weight.

Working through soreness is good if you're still getting stronger but bad if you aren't.

Welcome to T-Nation.


Thanks for the advice. I did read a lot of the stickies here. I don't like to ask people questions before I've tried to find out myself.

RE not using enough weight. My beginner's workout only includes 3 sets of 9 exercises so I was thinking of increasing sets and maybe number of exercises rather than weight. I can't do more than 10-12 reps without bad form on each exercise(except deadlift and squat(no spotter or safety equipment yet) so I feel the weight is not too low.

Also, I seem to be having good results so far i.e. getting stronger and also have got stretch marks under arms, behind shoulders, across one of my pecs and all over my thighs. Not that I'm happy about having stretch marks but it's one way to measure progress I guess. Anyway, thanks for the reply and the welcome.


I'm a newb but I'd look at your diet. Stretch marks scar, look like crap and (I am sure I'll be corrected if wrong) I just can't imagine an absolute newb who isn't juicing is packing on lean pounds fast enough to blow out their skin, much less doing it all over there body. Do you have really dry skin? Veg-phobia? Getting enough vit E?

To give myself as an example... I was (some would say still am) really fat when I started lifting. I had done lots of physical activities and was selectively pretty strong but had glaring imbalances between each side of my body and from zone to zone within the side. I started doing some DB lifting about a year ago but was a retard and did lots of reps with crap for weight. In June I got my shit together. Since june I've doubled or in some cases tripled my starting weights, I already had skin elasticity issues from being fat and even I haven't popped a new stretch mark.

Long story short (too late)...that stretch mark thing sounds like somethings going wrong...not right.


I agree but I don't know what to do about it. Firstly, I was fat too and I got heaps of stretch marks on my hips and gut. When they fade to white they don't look anywhere near as bad especially if you don't get a suntan.

I decided I wanted to lose fat / gain muscle but had no idea what I was doing. I did ONLY benchpress, curls and triceps extensions. This is when I actually got the stretch marks on my biceps, pecs, under arms and behind shoulders. They are older and have gone white. A few months ago I got my shit together and started lifting properly. This recent lifting has caused loads of tiny little stretch marks on my legs. I'm also getting new ones on my arms and behind shoulders. I can tell because the new ones are pink and the old ones are white.

I hate stretch marks and I've done heaps of things to get rid of them: I take a daily supplement designed to improve skin health. It contains zinc, vit A, manganese, magnesium. I take cod liver oil daily. I rub cocoa butter and paw paw cream into my stretch marks and around the areas where I am prone to them. However I can't put cocoa butter or paw paw cream on my thighs because the oils in them clog my skin pores and this leads to pimples.

I'm at the stage now where I don't think there's much more I can do about them so I try to look at it more positively. I started lifting properly at the beginning of January and I am clearly getting results(but the only muscle that has visibly hypertrophied is my trapezius). Thanks for your reply.


Oh, and I'm not juicing. My diet is excellent: 6 meals a day all with 30 grams of protein[I weigh 185 pounds](either fish, chicken breast, turkey breast or occasionaly lean beef supplemented with whey protein drinks, low fat cottage cheese etc. Loads of veges especially greens like broccoli and brussel sprouts. I only drink water and lots of it. Get heaps of good fats too because: 1. I take cod liver oil tablets and 2. I eat salmon and/or tuna every day. 3. I eat olives, olive oil, avocadoes, almonds every day.

I am not making any superhuman gains in strength or hypertrophy. I think I just have shit genes for skin.


I know you're generalizing, but it's wrong. It IS very possible to have stretch marks, be au naturale, and completely new to weight training.

Your skin is already stretched, so why would you expect to have stretch marks from muscle gain?

Again, incorrect assumption.

Stretch marks are a sign/indicator that something is growing faster than your skin is able to adapt to. Whether you're getting fatter, or getting bigger because of muscle gain.


I would recommend resting for longer than 30 seconds. Rest times are a contested topic in lifting (as is everything else,) but the best advice my coach, who can bench 500 and DL in the 700s, was to rest longer in between sets. I understand that you're a noob, but doubling your rest time to 1 minute could really help you add more volume to your lift.

Also, I'll second kakno's statement that you're posting here an awful lot for a new kid. I'm happy to answer your questions, but make sure you don't major in the minors, as they say. Eat, squat, and sleep. Worry about calves as a genetic indicator and training through DOMS later. Starting Strength just rotates squat, dl and bench every other day, so you can bet people would be doing DL on Wednesday while still being sore from DL on Monday.

PS: Are you on a specific program? 9 exercises per session seems like a lot.


I'm actually doing 9 muscle specific exercises, 3 compound and 3 bodyweight now. I really wanted to increase my workload because I just didn't feel like I'd done enough in an hour. I'm not strong enough to complete sets with bodyweight exercises so for the reps I can't finish I do pussy pushups(on knees) and negative rep pull ups. My elbows and wrists give out first with dips. My workout takes over an hour and a half now and I usually do rest for longer than 30 seconds. The short rest time is to increase fast muscle twitch endurance.

Here's my routine, Mon, Wed and Fri. I have been changing it a bit. Today I'm going to try JM press instead of overhead tricep extensions.

Deadlift 3 pyramid sets and 3 working sets 10-12 reps
Squat 3 pyramid sets and 3 working sets 10-12 reps
Benchpress 3 pyramid sets and 3 working sets 10-12 reps
Dips - 3 sets going to failure(whichever fails first my wrists, elbows or triceps!)
Pull ups - 3 sets 10-12 as many as possible then I do negative reps(lower myself slowly from bar) to complete set
Push ups - 3 sets 10-12(Pussy push ups(on knees) for reps unable to complete)
Barbell curls(sometimes Preacher curls) - 2 pyramid sets 3 working sets then heaps of burns (partial lifts when unable to complete a full lift)
Overhead alternating triceps extensions - 1 pyramid set 3 working sets reps = go to muscle failure on less dominant arm then same number of reps for dominant arm
Kickbacks - 3 sets 10 - 12 reps
Dumbbell rows - 3 sets 10 - 12 reps
Side raises - 3 sets 10 - 12 reps
Overhead press - 3 sets 10 - 12 reps
Dumbbell flys - 3 sets 10 - 12 reps

I also finish with lying leg curls with ankle weights strapped to my ankles and calfs 3 sets 10-12 reps then finish with some crunches. So 9 muscle specific, 3 compound and 3 bodyweight.


Oh, and the reason I'm doing pyramid sets on the compounds is because I'm worried about screwing up my lower back or having my patella(kneecap) dislocate whilst at the bottom of a squat. I would also hate to completely tear off a muscle which I have heard of people doing whilst benching. I don't have a spotter or a squat rack and therefore whilst I list 10-12 reps for squats I know I could be lifting heaps more and that I'm not really working in that range. Benchpress I get close to this range but worry about muscle failure so I back off too soon. And yes I will be getting a powercage/squat rack ASAP.

This workout was based on the beginners full body workout at Scoobysworkshop. I added the compounds and changed a couple of other things. i.e. Scooby lists the French press for triceps but I prefer triceps extensions.