Working Logging:  My Secret to Force Progressive Overload

Facebook
Facebook
Pinterest
Pinterest
Follow by Email
Google+
https://fivestarrphysique.com/2018/11/effectively-logging-your-workouts">

Let’s start with a quiz.  It’s simple, so don’t worry.  It’ll take about 3 seconds, and then I’ll call for pencils down.  Ready?  GO!

  1. Are you a human being?
  2. Do you like to lift?
  3. Do you hate hitting plateaus?

If you answered ‘yes’ to all of those questions, then you should be logging your workouts.

Logging workouts is lame, dude

Why?  It’s easy!  For most of us, just “working hard” isn’t enough.  We tend to have workout A.D.D. and change things up far too often, maybe every single time to walk into the gym.  It’s hard to gauge your ability to progress if the environment – your workouts – is completely unstable and always changing.

Unless you have a freak show of a memory, you just aren’t going to remember all the important stuff – and if you do this long enough, all the days/weeks/months/years tend to blend into each other and before you know it, you’re going to the gym to hit shoulders only to pull into the parking lot saying “wait…I did shoulders yesterday” – it happens, trust me!

Frankly, your workouts contain too many damn variables to remember, so having a system like this in place for logging your sessions efficiently is critical #fivestarrphysique #bodybuilding #growth Click To Tweet

When it comes to making constant, steady gains in development, the name of the game is progressive overload.

What is progressive overload?

In a nutshell this is what bodybuilding is all about – at least the development side of things (progressive overload isn’t going to directly help with your conditioning or anything).

Progressive overload is about continuously asking the body to do more than it has in the past.  You force it to change, to adapt, in order to become capable of meeting the demands you place upon it.  It’s a slow process, but it’s one you can take control of by controlling as many variables as you can.

The easiest of these is your workout structure – which is why I offer a series of workout plans here, so you can walk into the gym with a solid plan that you’ll follow for 4 weeks (give or take) and give your muscles a chance to get into a groove, progress, and THEN change things up before things start to get stale.

Progressive overload is the name of the game when it comes to bodybuilding, so you should JUMP at any opportunity to help force the issue on that front. #bodybuilding #musclegrowth #fivestarrphysique Click To Tweet

If you follow a series of workouts for several weeks, you need to force the target muscles to do just a bit more each week.  When you do, that is progressive overload.  You don’t need to jump by leaps and bounds, just…more.

Why logging your workouts is so important

In a given workout there are a lot of variables to track, and you simply will not remember them all.

Let’s repeat that.  You will not remember them all.

Don’t kid yourself into thinking you will – so, we take notes.  And we track these variables so that the next time we hit this same workout, we have a quick and convenient basis for comparison and we can force the issue a bit when it comes to progressive overload.

Bodybuilding is all about progressive overload.  Consistently asking your body to do more than it has done before and more than it wants to.  If you’ve read any of my previous posts or on social media, you also know I’m not a “omg bro just go heavier” kind of guy.  Yes weight matters, but tension is what matters more – and so when logging we need to track more than just poundage if we’re going to try to create an accurate representation of how the workout really flowed.

Just tracking the weight you lift isn't enough. There are so many more variables than that in play and if you ignore them then you're not tracking the complete session. #fivestarrphysique #bodybuilding Click To Tweet

What exactly are we tracking here?

There are a lot of variables to consider and unless you track and monitor those also, you can’t be sure you’re actually progressing.

So let’s look at this – a sample of my logbook from a recent leg session.

Look past the engineer’s chicken scratch

I know it can be a bit tricky to read but let’s break it down bit by bit.

Note:  this is what works for me.  Your ideal logging format may look VERY different from this and that’s ok.  Just be sure you’re tracking everything you need to!

First up:  I leave space so that I can put several weeks worth of this workout all on the same page.  I do not want to play the game of thumbing back through my damn back to the last time I did this session to compare weights and notes from the last week.  I leave space for 3-4 weeks worth of numbers and notes.  The image above shows 2 number sets so far.

Pro tip: leave space in your logbook to track several weeks of the same workout on one page to reduce page flipping. #fivestarrphysique #bodybuilding #workout Click To Tweet

The first line

This is where I put the name of the exercise, any specific notes on tempo (like the “1/1/4/0” note for leg extensions – read more on tempo here) or specific instructions from the workout.  I get my workouts from my own coach, so I write notes and directions from her on this line as well.

Note the second exercise (machine squats) – I’ve written in “3 w/u sets” (warm-ups), and then 2×10, 1×20, 1×30 – indicating 4 total working sets at 10, 10, 20, and 30 reps, with the final one being a rest/pause set (“R/P”) with a note that it’s intended to be at the same weight I just did for 20.  Did I mention this workout was NOT easy?  Ha!

Use your own shorthand here to make notes that you’ll understand – you’re the only one that needs to get it, but you do need to remember what the hell that note meant that you wrote for yourself last week so don’t get too cute!

The actual logging space

I have a few rules I follow in this space, just to make it easy for myself:

  • Warm-up sets are noted in parentheses
  • If I’m using any kind of plate loaded machine, I mark added weight with a “+45” (indicating total weight) or a “+45/ea” indicating weight per side, like on a leg press or smith machine
  • I’ll use similar notation if I’m adding weight to something like an EZ-Bar, with a note about the particular bar if your gym has a few that appear to be different unloaded weights
  • Supersets I will note either as separate exercises, tied together with a bracket in the left margin, or – as with the extensions and lunges here – on the same line and I just track their weights with a slash between them.  The lunges are bodyweight only here so they get a check mark indicating that yes, I did actually do them.  If they were weighted, I’d note the weight.
  • If the rep target is a range of fluctuates, I’ll often write the number of reps hit above the weight for each set and you can see that in several spots here.  If the target is “failure” I’ll make certain to note the reps hit as well.
  • Write small to ensure you’ve got room to work with.  Or, alternatively, use a bigger book than I do!

Subsequent weeks

Generally speaking, I do like to follow a series of workouts for 3-5 weeks, depending on how effective they feel and how quickly I’m progressing through it.  A new workout is basically an entirely new set of variables – maybe I hit 245 on incline for 4 reps, but if I move that to the 3rd exercise (instead of first) and target 10 reps instead of 5, it’s a whole new game.  My general strategy as I approach workouts over the course of a month:

  • Pass #1:  establish a baseline.  Be detailed in your logging, make a lot of notes.
  • Pass #2:  aim for new highs and eliminate some of the lower weights that probably shouldn’t have counted as working sets the first time through.
  • Pass #3:  same goal as #2 – while the improvement from 1 to 2 will likely be significant, the improvement from 2 to 3 will be much smaller.
  • Pass #4:  handicap yourself.  Make things harder while trying to still hit the same marks from pass #3.  Work in isometrics during rest breaks to keep the muscle from fully recovering, making it less ready to go for the next set – if you can still match the previous target, boom – you’re still progressing.
Avoiding workout A.D.D. and giving your body time to progress through a series of workouts is key to not being in a 'perma-plateau' state. #fivestarrphysique #bodybuilding #workout Click To Tweet

Bring it on home

As you can see just by reading my thoughts reflecting on this particular workout from last week, there’s a lot of insight to be gained from a workout log if you A) take the time to record it, and B) take the time to study it.  With all the work you put into crushing your training sessions, hitting your cardio, and all the time invested in meal plan and following a diet – take a few extra minutes to strategize for your next workout before you get there.  Look at your previous performance, and establish some targets that you want to hit.  Go in with the right mindset, and get it done.

Facebook
Facebook
Pinterest
Pinterest
Follow by Email
Google+
https://fivestarrphysique.com/2018/11/effectively-logging-your-workouts">

Related posts

24 thoughts on “Workout Logging: My Secret to Force Progressive Overload

  1. Joe from Magma Air

    Hi,
    I am a Florida State licensed air conditioning contractor. I can tell you one thing, which I have learned from many years of experience: Customer feedback is the lifeblood of every successfull business.
    P.S. If you would have any feedback on my website, I would appreciate it: http://magmaair.com/
    Cheers!
    Joe

  2. [url=http://seorussian.ru]seo продвижение москва[/url] – [url=http://seorussian.ru]seorussian.ru[/url]

  3. It was really impressive published article. I do personally learn in the post and its really happy to know you I will share it to my friends. Really interesting post indeed. Lot of thanks….

  4. Thank you so much for the great article, it was fluent and to the point. Very Informative page, I hope it will be useful for all of us. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  5. Today, I went to the beach front with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it
    to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to
    her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off
    topic but I had to tell someone! https://kasino.vin/home/playboy/57-playboy-casino

  6. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to
    be happy. I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest
    you few interesting things or tips. Maybe you can write
    next articles referring to this article. I wish to read
    even more things about it! https://kasino.vin/home/mega888

  7. Hello i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere, when i read this
    paragraph i thought i could also make comment due to this good article. https://kasino.vin/home/mega888/50-mega888

  8. Excellent blog right here! Also your web site so much up fast!
    What web host are you the use of? Can I am getting your associate link for your host?
    I want my website loaded up as fast as yours lol https://kasino.vin/home/3win81/54-3win8-mobile-slot

  9. It is common to find the ornamental painting and sculptures with shapes depicting an interesting blend of different
    elements from the artist’s religious, physical and cultural background.
    in April 22, 1560, he explained:” Your Majesty, you’re invincible and retain the world in awe. It is maybe the most worldwide of mediums, in its practice and in its range.

  10. It is common to obtain the ornamental painting and
    sculptures with shapes depicting an appealing mixture
    of different components from the artist’s religious, physical and
    cultural background. Leonardo Da Vinci was born inside the Florentine Republic on April 15th, 1452.
    Then it is not important if it’s heads or tail, it’s possible to predict the last results.

  11. With a great eye and taste for delineation, you can make an atmosphere impeccable for any exercises associated with feasting
    room. A vector path, whatever the twists and turns are, may well be more elastic and scalable.
    The memorial also serves enormous events from all of parts of the globe.

  12. In cases like this, you simply must get a simple picture frames.
    Waterslide paper is offered in clear or white however clear is a lot more preferred, given that any sort of unprinted locations for the image is still clear.
    As modern humanity exposes their tanned skin during
    vacations that they like to show off their pictures in online community websites.

  13. The bum marketing technique no longer works; sorry,
    Travis. Times change and entrepreneurs need to change with them.

    Could still make money online and I will discuss below how to succeed with a number of.

    Direct traffic right now, I would submit to the peak five article directory sites.
    So, searchwarpdotcom, goarticlesdotcom, ezinearticlesdotcom, articlesbasedotcom,
    easyarticlesdotcom, weenodotcom should still taking articles.

    This bio is usually at no more the review. Now if that link in order to your online site leads to great content that
    relates to the article, you’ve just managed
    to kill two birds with one stone; you’ve shown your website is relevant and you’ve
    resulted in a link to it from an associated site construct created the impression your website is popular within that specific niche.

    Article marketing should therefore be an essential part of a webmaster’s system.
    You should write as many articles as possible and submit
    them to the top article directories online.

    Article marketing can boost your visibility create you tons of
    site website traffic. It is important to can get articles within the market but individuals
    equally vital that make sure they are located
    by every you at the moment are writing for: your target market.

    If are usually a Blogger and using blogging platform like WordPress, it is usually quite
    easy to dynamically produce Google xml sitemap with available plugins.
    If you are applying these tips with firm website, it is use any
    online xml sitemap generator tool develop and upload sitemap to your server.

    The more articles you write, far better. There are tons of publishers in which
    have thousands of articles written and that will get huge sums of visitors
    to their website because of the usb ports. You too can get website
    traffic like this if you retain focus in your business and can write new content more
    and more often.

    So, after you’ve submitted to your first 5 or 6 directories, then what well-developed body is
    stronger to do it, need your name to submit just one article
    to each of the amount of article directories as discover.
    I would go down to page rank ‘1’ or ‘2’.
    So much of people disagree with me, basically really understand that the formula says that the higher the page rank,
    you know, the newly arriving. and the higher the quality, that adds up faster.

  14. At this time it appears like Expression Engine is the preferred blogging platform available right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

  15. Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful post. Thank you for supplying
    this info.

  16. I couldn’t resist commenting. Well written! I have been browsing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.

    It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers
    made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.
    I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written! http://foxnews.net/

  17. Ignatius Piazza, the Millionaire Patriot, wants you
    to see one of the most awe inspiring reality show series ever, called Front Sight Challenge.
    Cherry blossom tattoos represent something more important in several
    cultures. The Open Video Project: This is site using a huge
    variety of digital video for sharing.

  18. There is a rich diversity about bat roosting songs that
    you just are bound to appreciate and to you could make your
    life easier, also to make it easier that will get the background music for My – Space that you want, you
    also have to be able to choose from different genres.
    “Because you’re here looking over this online games report now with this particular moment in time; what you have is “The first movers advantage” for yourself to adopt a your hands on now. These art reproductions of paintings printed on canvas sheets or paper after which framed and hung on walls.

  19. The camera can make the brightest of scenes seem like it was taken during an eclipse.
    Contestants worldwide will record songs automatically, or synergy into virtual bands of a couple of musicians, and compete for $5600 in prizes.
    The first lesson you need to learn along with your online course is how
    to read chord charts.

Leave a Comment