It’s a great feeling when you are smashing it and making progress in the gym. Perhaps you’ve been struggling with consistency for a while but have now finally cracked it and have been getting your sessions in week after week.
There is a lot to be said for that feeling when you finally make the progress that you want in the gym. I know for me, it feels awesome to get in the gym each week and feel in that groove where good things happen.
Today I’m going to share three of my favourite ways to help my clients (and indeed myself) make the progress in the gym that they’re striving for, both in the short and long-term. Progress in the gym will not always be linear but by using just a few simple tools you can monitor your progress with ease to ensure you are always moving forward with your training.
Giving up your free time to training is a big commitment so surely you want to ensure that precious time is both enjoyable but also yields progress and results?
I would hope this is true for most people, yet so many people just fumble around in the gym not knowing how much progress they are making. And, if they are doing well, often have no evidence of this whatsoever.
Below you’ll find three simple tips that will help you monitor your progress in the gym – give them a go and watch your training performance sky rocket!
Tip 1 – Log book
If you have ever seen Indianna Jones “The Last Crusade” you should remember the state of Indiana’s Dad’s grail diary. In my eyes, this is what a good log book should look like; full of notes, numbers, battered from constant use and one of the most important things in your gym bag or satchel, lol. But how many people do I see in the gym with one? Not many. Now of course you can use your phone to record your workouts and numbers, but for me, I like the old school feel of a written log book and jump at the opportunity to be less reliant on technology. A good log book can be such a great tool to make progress in the gym, as you can look back at previous sessions to see your numbers and whether the weight that you are lifting is increasing. For those who may not follow a consistent training plan, you can still use a log book to track the sessions that you do. This can come in handy if, for example, you particularly enjoy a workout and want to return to it at a later date.
If until now you’ve been rocking up to the gym without any way to record your training, but you’re keen to move closer towards your training goals – get yourself to WHSmith this weekend and grab a small diary. In just a few months your log book book will be full of sessions, weights and training notes which will truly allow you to asses your training performance.
Tip 2 – Video your exercises
This second tip is more focussed on ensuring you are training with good form and intensity. And as we know, these components are pretty vital in helping you make progress in the gym. I use this as much with my online clients as possible and personally, there aren’t many sessions I do where I don’t film at least one set of an exercise.
There are many reasons why filming a set here or there can be useful. The first is the form of your exercise and the tempo in which you are training. It can be all too easy to do a set and feel that form was fine and you were controlling the weight throughout. However you can watch it back on video and realise you maybe weren’t getting the depth you thought you were or the set looked much faster than you thought. After reviewing the video, you can alter these elements for the next set, record again and no doubt feel the benefit of these small tweaks in your form. The other reason I would advise you to film some exercises is to assess the intensity in which you train. What I mean by this is that when you watch a set back you may actually notice that the movement of the weight was not as slow or difficult as you first thought. Perhaps you film a set of deadlifts and the weight felt very slow off the floor however when you watch it back you see that it was actually moving quite well. This can give you the confidence to keep the weight the same or even increase in the next set. Very often you’ll only notice these things if you watch it back on video.
Finally, if you are worried that people will think you are weird if you set your phone up to film a set, don’t be! People are way too focussed on themselves in the gym, just crack on and I promise you, no one will bat an eyelid.
Tip 3 – Set lifting goals
The final tip I would advise you look at implementing to help make progress in the gym is setting some specific lifting goals. This can be a great tool to keep you motivated and also assess how effective your training is. You could set some 1 or 3RM (rep max) targets for your compound movements or some rep challenges for other exercises such as x10 strict wide arm pull ups. Write your targets down, ideally in the front of your new log book :), and maybe give yourself a rough timeframe to help keep you accountable and push your training in that period. Do, however, ensure that your goals are realistic and take into account any other commitments you may have in that time. AS you tick off these goals you can select some new ones to begin working towards. It may seem simple but just setting a goal and staying focussed on these can be so useful and will really aid your training in the time frame you have selected and overall help you make progress in the gym.
I hope these three tips have highlighted ways you can make better progress in the gym and even if you just use one of these going forward it should definitely help. If you want to understand a little more about how you can progress in the gym we recently recorded part two of our podcast on this very subject. HIT THIS LINK to listen to part 1 and then HIT THIS LINK for part 2.
Here is to you all smashing your training going forward.