Face it. Everything in life involves great organization. And that’s especially true when it comes to your strength-training routine. If you’re going to make sure you hit all the muscle groups, get the right number of sets, alternate your moves and certainly keep track of the dates and times, you’ll need a good set of grids that outline it all. Each has to be easy to understand, simple to read and quick to update. It’s a challenge, but once you get the system created, it will help you get and stay on track for efficient, effective workouts.
Because there is so much information, you’ll need to break it down into smaller pieces on several grids, with one main go-to chart that sums it all up. Along with your main grid, you’ll want to keep separate charts for upper-body, lower-body, core and muscle groups. In addition to your strength cards, you’ll also benefit from keeping one for your cardio workouts. That means, in all, you should have five grids.
Specs and Tips
While your master chart can be any size you want, the others should be small enough that you can carry them with you to the gym. Put each one on an index card and leave enough room for a week’s worth of workouts. To protect them from sweat, either laminate them or carry them in clear sandwich bags.
Think of your master chart as the CEO of the group. It gives you the big picture while the other ones carry the details. This grid can be kept in an easy-access home location where you can check it daily and update it easily. The easiest format to keep is a monthly calendar form in which you either pre-schedule your workouts or write them down as you go. Once the month is complete, you’ll have a list of workout victories to celebrate before you move into the next round.
Upper-Body, Lower-Body and Core Charts
For the smaller cards that outline your upper-body, lower-body and core workouts, you’ll want to pre-schedule your weekly workouts before you go to the gym so that you don’t waste time when you get there. Jot down your goals for moves, sets, reps and weight levels and carry it with you to keep you on track. If you make any changes, be sure to mark them down on your card when you’re done and adjust your training schedule when you get home.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.