Keeping Accurate Training Records
If your strength training and conditioning is to be as productive as possible, it’s absolutely critical to keep written records that are as accurate and detailed as possible. Records document the history of what you accomplished during each and every exercise of each and every strength session, as well as each round of conditioning, or your fastest time in the 40 yards dash.. Because of this, maintaining records is an extremely valuable tool to monitor your progress and make your strength and conditioning workouts more meaningful.
Records can also be used to identify exercises in which you’ve reached a plateau. In the unfortunate event of an injury, you can also gauge the effectiveness of the rehabilitative process if you have a record of your pre-injury levels of strength. You should record your body-weight, the date of each workout, the resistance used for each exercise, the number of repetitions performed for each exercise and the order in which the exercises were completed.
The bottom line: Don’t underestimate the importance of using a workout log (or training journal) in making your strength training and conditioning sessions more productive and more meaningful.
Keeping a record of what you do and how you do it is vital to strength training and conditioning success. If you keep track of what you've done in the past, it will be easier for you to see what works for you. You can then repeat these actions to insure your future success.
I've never understood why people want to come to the gym, or show up at the track, time after time, repeating exactly what they've done before. That is not progress.
In order to improve and make gains, your training must be progressive in some manner. You can make progress 3 primary ways:
1. Lift more weight than the previous session
2. Do more reps with the same weight
3. Perform more work within a specific unit of time
If you don't remember exactly what you did in your previous training sessions, how do you expect to exceed it? I am 100% confident if you discipline yourself to keep accurate records of your training sessions, you will see noticeable improvements within just a few short weeks.
Tips on How to Keep a Good Training Log
Minimum things you should record for strength training sessions:
1. Write down the time of day you worked out.
2. Write down the total time it took to complete your workout
3. Write down how much weight you used in your exercises
4. Record the target rep cadence, and number of perfect reps performed*.
5. Make a note of any training variables you may have utilized
6. Note rest intervals between sets, and if you adhered to them
Minimum things you should record for conditioning workouts:
1. The number of reps performed.
2. The distance to be covered or the elapsed time in each repetition.
3. The assigned work interval time.
4. The relief interval.
5. The relief / work ratio.
Other things you may choose to record:
1. Write down how the movements felt, i.e. "50lbs DB was too light."
2. Write down how you looked and what was going on in your mind.
3. Write down what you wore or what music you listened to.
4. Write down what you ate and when you ate it.
5. Write down how you looked when you woke up, went to sleep, etc.
6. Write down how much conditioning you did.
7. Write down how much you weigh (if body composition is part of your goals).
8. Write down the other aspects of your life i.e., if you had a good day, a bad day, it was raining, you had a fight with your partner etc. This will help you attribute outside factors into your performance in the gym.
A training, and dietary journal will be your best friend when assessing progress.
TAKU’s NOTE: *Only record perfect reps. Finding your own natural cadence is useful. Your goal should be to find a rhythm that works for you. Keep in mind that you do not want to exceed 3-5 seconds on both the positive, and negative portion of your reps (6-10 seconds per rep). Constant tension is requisite to maximum safety and maximum efficiency.