I just realized how much time I put into keeping track of everything I do when it comes to my workouts. It’s kind of pathetic actually. However, it really is the only way I know how to keep it all straight. I’m not at the point yet where I can just “feel it out.” I need to know what my plan is, exactly what I’m going to do, and how much I’m going to do it with. Now, while I may be giving myself a little crap for doing this, anything you read or hear points to tracking as a major plus when training. After all, without tracking, how do you know if you’re really making progress?
Over the last two days alone I have spent at least an hour working with a spreadsheet that I have created. It consists of the current workout split I’m utilizing and the entire rep, set, weight scheme that goes along with it. I’ve created enough sheets to give me a 12 week look ahead. That’s a pretty long time to see into the future, but I think it’s important. It works for me to have a plan. Without a plan I would just be meandering from one exercise to another. No real purpose. No real progress. Kind of like my blog posts…
I don’t usually start off with such a long-term plan in place. It typically begins with a single workout or maybe a week of them. If I like what I’m doing I add to it. I try to figure out some progressive variables along the way to make it worthwhile. A lot of material discusses the idea of cycles; micro, macro, etc. I subscribe to this philosophy in a way. It may not be as locked down. It may not even follow what some may consider to be a proper cycle. Regardless, there is a method to my madness. I like it because it’s MY madness. I can understand it and I can see where it’s going.
Right now I’m using three week cycles. I’m increasing the percentages each week over the course of those three weeks. After the cycle concludes, I drop the weight. At that point I start about 5% higher than I began the previous cycle with.
Week 1 – 15 Reps, 50% 1RM
Week 2 – 15 Reps, 55% 1 RM
Week 3 – 15 Reps, 60% 1RM
Week 4 – 10 Reps, 55% 1RM
This will allow me to begin each cycle with a little bit more weight and end the cycle at just about the right percentage to match generally accepted capabilities. Right now I plan on taking this through the aforementioned 12 week timeline. This will give me a cycle of 15 reps, 10, 8, and finally, 5 reps. By the time I’ve completed the last week with 5 reps I should be using around 85% of my 1RM. Once that’s been completed, I plan on starting all over again with 15 rep sets. The next time around I will re-establish any new 1RM lifts that have been accomplished and use those new numbers against my percentages.
This all goes to show that when trying to accomplish a detailed, and perhaps somewhat complex training routine, it really does pay to track your efforts. If you neglect your tracking you’ll get either completely lost or not have moved anywhere at all. I intend on knowing what I’ve done, when I’ve done it, and what I’m doing next. It’s what keeps me going. It’s what has me looking forward to the weeks ahead. If I don’t see what’s coming down the road, I’m not really a fan of driving on it.
Keep track of your lifts. Keep changing it up. Keep progressing. Know your path.