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  1. #1
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    Weight lifters: Do you keep track of your weight/sets/reps?

    This is sort of an informal poll but I am looking for some opinions too. I lift weights during the winter/pre-season. I have it pretty planned out of what exercises I'm going to do and when, based on research I've done and previous experience. In order to keep track of my progress (i.e. gains) and remember what I need to do in that session and what I did in the previous sessions, I write it down. At the gym I carry around a folded-up sheet of paper printed with a series of little tables I made in Excel (one for each day) and a pencil. Before I do each exercise, I look at the weights and reps of the previous time, and then try to do more. I adjust my weights, reps and sets as necessary. This way I know if I am (or am not) making gains. What gets measured, gets improved, right?

    However, from what I have observed, I am the ONLY ONE in my gym who does this. It is the local YMCA and the weight room gets a fair amount of traffic. No one else is keeping track of anything (that I have noticed). I find this rather strange. Do they just remember what they did the last time? Or not even care and just load up plates and lift until they figure "eh, I've had enough," not knowing if they are getting any stronger?

    So for those of you who lift weights, do you keep track of your progress? Do you write it down, or keep it all in your head?

  2. #2
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    With crossfit type lifting, I track reps and corresponding weight. Also, 1 rep maxes. But just memorize what I did and jot down later.

    With more traditional type lifting I would take small paper with sets reps and weights.

    Every one should always get stronger when lifting (especially during seasonal lifting), so weight numbers should require some modification over a period of weeks.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burning Matches View Post
    So for those of you who lift weights, do you keep track of your progress? Do you write it down, or keep it all in your head?
    Yes. I have a prescribed amount of reps, sets, weights, and follow it closely through the periodization of adaptation, hypertrophy, strength, power and maintenance phases. It's all printed out so I can follow the plan. I don't write anything down at the gym, but simply follow what I've worked out on paper for each workout and follow it. Don't worry if no other gym rat has any paperwork with them and appears to be randomly lifting. Worry about yourself and your own regimen.

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    I never have, although it's not a bad idea. Just kept track mentally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burning Matches View Post
    However, from what I have observed, I am the ONLY ONE in my gym who does this.

    As someone who's lifted for many years, i've noticed it's really more of a noob thing . The guys that lift year round, 3-5 days a week all know what weight and how many reps they can put up for any given excersise. I wouldn't knock anyone for writing or not writing stuff down though. There are guys who need to or are just more detail oriented. But a lot of guys don't need to after lifting for so long.

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    Being an ex-body builder / power lifter I will toss in my 2 cents on this. As far as weights go for me as a XC and road racer I do only very high reps, namely 100 rep squats. Ultra high reps triggers the growth hormone release and builds micro blood vessels; Arterioles, Venules, and Capillaries. The result is more vessels to deliver and remove blood from the working muscles. Rule of thumb is try 1/2 your body weight for starters and attempt to do all the reps in one set. If you fall short rest for the amount of seconds you have left in reps to 100, ie......if you do 75 reps rest for 25 seconds before continuing to 100. You will only need ONE set like this no more than three times a month, and I suggest doing your first attempt at this with a Smith Machine as it is safer. Good luck and I promise you will see results in your riding after the first month.

  7. #7
    JDM
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    I go around with a printed spread sheet that I made on a clip board. I too am the only one at the gym that I see doing it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown View Post
    Yes. I have a prescribed amount of reps, sets, weights, and follow it closely through the periodization of adaptation, hypertrophy, strength, power and maintenance phases. It's all printed out so I can follow the plan. I don't write anything down at the gym, but simply follow what I've worked out on paper for each workout and follow it. Don't worry if no other gym rat has any paperwork with them and appears to be randomly lifting. Worry about yourself and your own regimen.

    Pretty much exact same page I'm on...
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AC/BC View Post
    As someone who's lifted for many years, i've noticed it's really more of a noob thing . The guys that lift year round, 3-5 days a week all know what weight and how many reps they can put up for any given excersise. I wouldn't knock anyone for writing or not writing stuff down though. There are guys who need to or are just more detail oriented. But a lot of guys don't need to after lifting for so long.
    Some good points. Although, I wouldn't consider myself a noob - I have been lifting weights for years. But I never would know for sure if I was making any progress, until I started keeping track. With it written down, I can see at my next session exactly what I did on the previous session of that particular exercise: "I did 2 sets of 7 reps at 150 lbs; today I will shoot for 2 sets of 9 reps" or "I was able to do 12 reps last time; time to increase the weight" etc. I also like to go back to my records from the previous season and see at this same point in the season, what was I lifting? That lets me know if I am at the same level I was last year or ahead or behind with my strength development.

    Granted, I don't lift 3-5 days/week year-round. I'm lucky if I get 3 days/week in the pre-season. So if you do lift that frequently, once you plateau, maybe it is easier to remember exactly where your limit is. But as long as I am squeezing out one more rep or adding 5 more lbs, each session, I will know I am getting stronger. There is nothing like seeing a goal in writing to make you strive for it mentally.

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    Not directly related to the subject but this is pretty funny. I was scrolling through the forum list and this topic is the first topic in the XC forum. The way the forum is listed, it says

    "Weight lifters: Do you keep track of your weight/sets/reps by Burning Matches?"

    I thought "WTH? People are keeping track of sets and reps with lit matches? That's interesting! I wonder if they are lighting them so that the heat starts to hurt them when they get near the end of the set or something. I've GOT to see this!"

    Then I opened the thread and realize the question was a standard question and the author's name is Burning Matches.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AC/BC View Post
    As someone who's lifted for many years, i've noticed it's really more of a noob thing . The guys that lift year round, 3-5 days a week all know what weight and how many reps they can put up for any given excersise. I wouldn't knock anyone for writing or not writing stuff down though. There are guys who need to or are just more detail oriented. But a lot of guys don't need to after lifting for so long.
    I tend to agree. I did bodybuilding for years (including competition) and only before competitions did I mark things down. Even then, most of it was about the diet. For a XC rider/racer it is probably a waste of time. It does make sense to follow a program that is written down, however.
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    I use the Big Lifts iPhone app to track my lifting and WOD to track my crossfit workouts and of course strava for bike and run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AC/BC View Post
    As someone who's lifted for many years, i've noticed it's really more of a noob thing . The guys that lift year round, 3-5 days a week all know what weight and how many reps they can put up for any given excersise. I wouldn't knock anyone for writing or not writing stuff down though. There are guys who need to or are just more detail oriented. But a lot of guys don't need to after lifting for so long.
    The best (only?) way to get stronger is a program - which is written down and then followed - like a recipe. Just like building up for a 'peak' in an "A" race. Doing the same weights day in and day out gives you ...the same weight to lift day in and day out.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowjack View Post
    Ultra high reps triggers the growth hormone release and builds micro blood vessels; Arterioles, Venules, and Capillaries. The result is more vessels to deliver and remove blood from the working muscles.
    This is interesting if its true. The more traditional route is to do a prep phase then shift to building strength and then try to convert the strength to power by adding speed to the lift.

    I may give the high reps a shot to see if it helps muscular endurance. Do you have any references to back it up?

  15. #15
    Rod
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    I see many people writing stuff in the gym where I lift
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    As an ex poerlifter BBer I used to write down weights and reps for the first few years of training but then I got to where I was pretty much plateaued (spelling?). I also have reched a point where I know I'm not ever going to get any stronger and all I can do is maintain. I can remember from week to week pretty much what i did last workout anyway now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowjack View Post
    As far as weights go for me as a XC and road racer I do only very high reps, namely 100 rep squats. Ultra high reps triggers the growth hormone release and builds micro blood vessels; Arterioles, Venules, and Capillaries. The result is more vessels to deliver and remove blood from the working muscles. Rule of thumb is try 1/2 your body weight for starters and attempt to do all the reps in one set. If you fall short rest for the amount of seconds you have left in reps to 100, ie......if you do 75 reps rest for 25 seconds before continuing to 100. You will only need ONE set like this no more than three times a month, and I suggest doing your first attempt at this with a Smith Machine as it is safer. Good luck and I promise you will see results in your riding after the first month.
    Definitely not from the "If the bar ain't bendin' - you ain't liftin' group"

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    Quote Originally Posted by WVJon75 View Post
    As an ex poerlifter BBer I used to write down weights and reps for the first few years of training but then I got to where I was pretty much plateaued (spelling?). I also have reched a point where I know I'm not ever going to get any stronger and all I can do is maintain. I can remember from week to week pretty much what i did last workout anyway now.
    Are you focusing on cycling now?

    What's your best squat / Bench? Body weight?

    You ever try Wendlers 5/3/1 or a program like it?

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  19. #19
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    I have a pretty good app on my phone I keep track of everything on. Its nice because I always have it with me and I can export the data if I want to. And If I take a couple of weeks off for whatever reason I know where I left off on everything.

  20. #20
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    I do but more as a motivational resource rather than really caring how much weight I can lift @ how many reps.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    Are you focusing on cycling now?
    What's your best squat / Bench? Body weight?
    You ever try Wendlers 5/3/1 or a program like it?
    I think we are all focusing on cycling (it is the XC racing and training forum after all ). The low rep, powerlifting stuff falls somewhere between counter-productive and dangerous for a XC racer, so why even bring it up?
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    I think we are all focusing on cycling (it is the XC racing and training forum after all ). The low rep, powerlifting stuff falls somewhere between counter-productive and dangerous for a XC racer, so why even bring it up?
    Maybe because there are chapters devoted solely to it in a couple of popular books that are mentioned and followed on this forum on a regular basis: Joe Friel's "The Mountain Biker's Training Bible", Dave Morris' "Performance Cycling", etc..., not to mention quite a few Mountain Bike XC Racing and Endurance Racing online programs available for purchase.

    Outside of athletes that are in the Masters age groups and may or may not follow the recommendation of keeping the maintenance weights going once per week during the XC racing season - most of the programs mentioned above focus on the weights to be lifted during the off-season which, depending on where one lives, is currently in progress in the northern hemisphere. I think the OP's question with regard to keeping track is very pertinent to the aforementioned books/programs.

  23. #23
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    In the 20 yrs or so of lifting off and on, I've never written down what I lift and I've never known anyone who did. Nothing wrong with doing it, but I think I would find it a PITA keeping a pen/pad with me.

    Generally, for max gains, one should do reps to failure and lift with max intensity. Inevitably, over the course of weeks, one finds the max number of reps before failure ensues to be outside of the desired range (ie, one intends to to do 3 sets of 10 and finds oneself able to do 3 sets of 12) - at which point one adds additional weight/resistance.

    For most folks, there is no real reason to record these gains on paper. For a seasoned or competitive weight-lifter, for whom gains may come much slower, it may make sense to track progress in an effort to make sure one has not plateaued for too long. But the average guy getting in the gym is going to see rapid and consistent strength gains for the first few years.

    OT: I've recently started doing squats again and am SHOCKED to see how weak I've become, notwithstanding kinda large cycling quads.
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  24. #24
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    I keep track when I work out at the gym. I organize my chart so that it's small - about a quarter of a page - and I usually just check off what I've done. But I sometimes lose track of where I am in a workout if I don't do that, especially if the numbers of sets and reps vary for different exercises, or I do something out of order.
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    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    I think we are all focusing on cycling (it is the XC racing and training forum after all ). The low rep, powerlifting stuff falls somewhere between counter-productive and dangerous for a XC racer, so why even bring it up?
    I am sorry WVJon75... oh wait! That's not you! Silly me!

    No Problem.

    Low rep dangerous? Could be with out proper form.

    Why bring it up? Talking about getting stronger
    But how else do you get stronger? Dangerous? slowly increase weight. I have no problem upping my trap bar deadlift maxs last couple of off -seasons using this calculator

    16 Week 5x5 Week Generator | Dr. Squat - Dr. Fred Hatfield

    Joe Friel works down to 6 rep max's weightlifting. What else would you do?

    Joe Friel and that number 6 on bike
    Joe Friel - Force Reps

    Low cadence work on bike does not work. So why would high rep weight lifting help cycling?

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    Last edited by scottz123; 02-05-2013 at 07:43 PM.

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