Measuring Progress in your Training

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One of the biggest mistakes you can make during your health & fitness journey is not tracking your workout progress. Progress can be measured in different ways and is not always linear. A few specific methods of measurement are pounds lifted for a certain exercise, tonnage for a workout, reps completed, or time taken to complete a workout. How you choose to document your workout progress depends on what works best for you, but I’d suggest a notebook, printed spreadsheets, or a journal on your phone. With that, we are not only looking to track weight used for an exercise but also the other aspects that come with training such as sets, reps, and how you felt while doing said activity. Small successes such as how a rep/set of reps moved, how they felt, and whether pain levels have increased/decreased could go unnoticed if they are not being accounted for in your training logs.

For example, a person could have a difficult time doing a bodyweight Bulgarian Split Squat on week one of training and by week three they’re able to follow the movement pattern smoothly for the same number of reps. On paper, it may seem that no progress was made, but increasing bodily awareness and control is very important not only in training but also in daily life.

Other than tracking workload capacity, one of my favorite ways to measure my progress is being able to move through different ranges of motion without pain. Pain can change on a day-to-day basis and varies by the individual. Teaching the body to be able to move through different ranges can lower your risk of injury and potentially make daily life easier. An example would be teaching your body to get into a deep squat without pain. This will develop strength and mobility through the hips and knees and allow someone to bend at ease.

Following progress isn’t always simple, but I hope that however, you are tracking your progress and that you are continually improving and consistently moving towards bettering your quality of life.

Matthew Walcott
B.S. CPT

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