Throughout this article I will show you how and why to keep an exercise log.
There is a strong correlation between strength gains and muscle gains. Progressively getting stronger should be a focus of any muscle building routine!
Tracking your workouts with an exercise log can literally make the difference in making progress and not making progress. Without seeing the weight you are lifting, you can’t possibly know whether or not you’re making strength gains.
The exception to this is being a novice lifter where you will make strength gains very fast. Once the beginner gains start to slow down though, it will be much harder to see strength gains. It’s also still very much recommended for the beginner lifter to track their routines to monitor progress for maximum benefit!
The true power of an exercise log is to allow you to make consistent progress without interruption. The common lifter unfortunately hasn’t used this great tool. Coaches although, very well know the benefits and won’t be caught without one! Whether you’re a coach or not, the benefits of an exercise log cannot be overlooked.
I’ll reinforce the importance of a workout log throughout this article and show you how to properly track your workouts!
For most lifters, becoming slightly “overtrained”, or more specifically, entering a state of slight overreaching is actually beneficial. The problems arise though when you stay in this overtrained state and allow it to progress.
Surprise surprise, this is where the exercise log comes in! A common and likely reason you aren’t getting stronger is because you are overtrained. A delaod week, or sometimes a complete break from training will be beneficial.
A properly put together exercise program will ensure steady progress, and every time you workout, you should see progress in terms of your strength. Any stall in your training will be exposed by the exercise log!
Eventually there will come a time for a necessary change in your routine. I won’t get into the details in this article but there are many ways to create this change. It could be a change in exercises, rep range, intensity and more.
When creating your routine, you need to shape it to fit your goals. Let’s say we are into physique building which a focus of our website. After assessing your physique, you decide you want to bring up your arms. This means you would put in exercises that put and emphasis on the arms.
Referring back to the exercises previously programmed and the rep ranges allows you to know what’s appropriate for maximum progress on this routines cycle.
Other things that are nice to be able to look back on are the days you worked out . . . just incase you lost track. It’s also nice to see the strength you have gained over a period of months and even years!
This does tie into reason two but I wanted to address this separately because of its importance. This along with reason number one are the main reasons you need to be tracking your workouts. You want to ensure you are progressing while getting stronger.
Looking at the weight you hit last time with the rep number tells you what to shoot for next time in your workout. The trained eye can almost guarantee what you will get under ideal conditions.
Most of you aren’t trained to see this progression though, at least when you first start working out . . . if you’re training properly. This means any progress is good. Try and bump up the weight or reps from workout to workout depending on experience.
Training ADHD means a constantly shifting focus in your training goals. One week you may be focusing on getting stronger on bench press. The next week you’re focusing on back squats.
Sometimes a person’s training ADHD is as drastic as leading them to focus on bodybuilding one week and the next week on powerlifting.
Training ADHD kills consistent progress and the journal keeps you on track. You can’t make noticeable muscle gains or significant strength gains within one week of training. The journal shows you the progress you have made over the long-term over weeks and months.
Again, you can also refer to what you did before to continue driving progress.
Above is a picture of a simple way to track your workouts in your exercise log. The weight lifted is the base number and the exponent is the number of reps. Every individual base number with an exponent represents one set. You will want to record the date and exercises as well.
You can also make other notes in your exercise log that are relevant. A common killer of a good workout is poor pre-workout nutrition. It does happen from time to time.
If poor pre-workout nutrition was the cause of a bad workout, it would be important to note that so it doesn’t appear to be something like overtraining. There are also other miscellaneous things you might want to write down.
Sometimes when I am learning a new exercise or want to tweak the form of an exercise I already know, I either drop the weight or don’t attempt to make strength gains at as fast of a rate. It will be important to make note of this so you don’t look back and see this as a lack of progress.
The exercise log is a must have towards reaching your fitness goals! Every lifter should have one and if you have mixed results every workout then you’re not doing something properly. Thankfully the journal won’t lie!
A cheap spiral notebook and a pen is all you need. It’s durable and will keep all the great information to ensure you’re constantly progressing! Not keeping an exercise log is a beginner lifter mistake you won’t want to make!
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