Maintaining a workout log can be an effective way to track fitness progress. Seeing results on paper not only encourages continued effort, but serves as an invaluable guide for how best to improve a workout and establish new goals to work towards. Creating your own weight-lifting routine chart will help keep you on track for successful results.
Weight-lifting charts, or training logs, not only help maintain consistency within a workout, they also incorporate a fitness concept called periodization. Periodization is a systematic approach to training that uses progressive cycling and variation of parts of a training program to work through and prevent muscle adaptation. Keeping track of work performed over a certain period of time provides guidance about when to make changes to the routine to keep the workout fresh and the muscles challenged.
Listing the muscle group being worked and the exercises to be performed for that muscle group is essential in tracking progress. Training logs can be arranged to list multiple muscle groups on a single page, or one page can be devoted to a single muscle group depending on the amount of detail desired or preference for at-a-glance information.
Documenting the amount of weight used for each exercise is essential for tracking progress. The amount of weight can vary depending on desired resistance training goals. Elements of periodization can include mass gaining, increasing strength, stability training and explosive power. The weight moved will vary according to the periodization stage chosen, so tracking weight is important to avoid confusion and to maintain consistency within a workout.
Repetitions are the number of times a move is repeated until muscle failure is achieved. Like weight, repetitions will vary---sometimes from workout to workout---depending on the stage of periodization. Tracking repetitions on a training log is key for consistency.
Sets indicate the total volume of work performed for a given exercise. Tracking the number of sets performed for a given exercise plays an important part in determining how much work has been done for a given body part. Sets can vary in proportion to the amount of weight moved and repetitions performed. Logging sets can help keep track of which stage of training is being used.
Rest periods, an important feature in any resistance training program, play as significant a role as weights, reps and sets. Too much rest between sets and the muscles lose the cumulative work of the previous repetitions. Without enough rest, the muscles do not recover enough to achieve the desired strength gains. Rest periods can vary according to the amount of weight moved and work performed and should be tracked for consistency along with sets and repetitions.
Charts and logs can be laid out according to whatever aesthetic is most convenient or easily understandable for the user. Logs can be arranged to include multiple workouts on a single page, multiple muscle groups on a single page, or can focus on single muscle groups or single exercises per page.
- Periodization: Latest Studies and Practical Applications; Christopher C. Frankel and Len Kravitz, Ph.D
- National Academy of Sports Medicine Optimum Performance Training for the Fitness Professional; Michael A. Clark
- Bodybuilding.com: Sets & Reps: The Nuts and Bolts of Program Design
- National Acaedmy of Sport Medicine Essentials of Sports Performance Training; Michael A. Clark
- Program Design; Paul Chek
Jullie Chung writes regularly for various websites. She is a nationally certified fitness trainer and performance enhancement specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and trains regularly in yoga, flatwater kayaking, boxing and mixed martial arts. An avid outdoor fan, she regularly hikes, climbs and trail runs.