Track your Progress to Maximize your Gains
If you want to succeed in weight lifting then you absolutely have to track your workouts. For the longest time I tried to just remember how I did the week before and pick the right weight, and it even worked ok back when I was new and only did six exercises a week. These days I do 20+ different exercises every week and I can’t even come close to remembering what weight I did and how many reps I got.
Perhaps you are able to remember what weight you did but you but not the number of reps or whether it was too much weight and caused you to use bad form. Since I started tracking my lifting I have been making much better progress because I do a better job of picking the right weight. Before I would often pick a weight that was a little too hard or too easy. I would either end up only being able to do 2 reps or it would be so easy I would do 10 to 15 reps. Neither of these situations are optimal for building strength.
What to track in you note book
I track all kinds of information, of course the obvious stuff:
- the exercise
- the weight
- the number of reps
It is also important to track the less obvious information:
- Did you fail on the last rep or did you think you could have gotten one more
- How much sleep did you get the night before
- When was the last time you ate
- How long did you rest between sets
- Did you warm up with a jog
- How long did you work out for
All of this additional information can help you analyze your training sessions and help you progress faster and avoid making mistakes. I feel more in control now that I keep a notebook. I am also able to see a measurable improvement because I know where I started.