Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Training Progress - A reallife issue

  1. Jun 10, 2012 #1
    Training Progress - A reallife issue :)

    Hey there

    I'm following a new training program and would like a measure for my progress, i just dont have a clue how to figure it out :P

    So i'm sitting in a machine pushing the weights for hopefully 15-30 sec pr rep. at a given weight and if the load is right i will fatigue my muscles after between 60 and 120 seconds.

    Let's say i managed to do 25 kg for 90 seconds. So next time i add 10% more weight, but it turns out i can only keep it up for 81 seconds (-10%). Is there any way of measuring if this effort is better, worse or the same as last time.

    I know i'm withstanding the force, of some portion, of m*g, dependig on the machine, but i'm also sure time is a factor.

    Can anyone help me ? Would be very appreciated, thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 11, 2012 #2
    Re: Training Progress - A reallife issue :)

    Its not about using some type of formula for determining what effort is "better" or "worse."

    Training, appropriately, is about applying the appropriate stimulus (training modality, volume, frequency, intensity etc) and then allowing adaptation to take place via rest and proper diet.

    Depending on what you are training for it could be good or bad. Usually though, just the fact that you have increased the weight you have increased the intensity (defined as percentage of 1 rep maximum in exercise physiology circles IIRC). This can be good or bad, once again this all depends.

    The best way to measure progress also depends on your goals. Are you training for some type of sporting activity, losing weight, gaining weight/muscle, just trying to stay fit? Keeping a log of your training (date, exercises performed, reps, time, rest periods etc) should take care of the training part. You want to see a general trend over the course of weeks/months. Don't get caught up worrying about one week to the next. Training is a pretty slow process, so you have to look over longer time scales (several weeks atleast).

    So with your example, its not so important that you lifted 10% more weight for 10% less time this week than last. More importantly is if you are lifting that 10% more weight for the same amount of time in a couple of weeks. Or that you will be lifting 20% more weight for 10% less time, or 10% more weight for 10% MORE time etc. This will vary if you just look 1 week to the next because we are humans with responsibilities, we are tired on some days or fired up on others. That is not important. Over the course of, say, 4 weeks you should see a clear trend of improvement somewhere (more weight, more reps, more time, less rest whatever it is you are trying to improve). I'd say that if you don't see a clear trend over the course of 4 weeks or so, you should look into troubleshooting your training, diet or rest schedule(s).

    No need for getting crazy with equations and formula's and trying to quantify effort. It is subjective. Better to track the objective data, such as volume (how many sets, reps), frequency (workouts per week), intensity (% of 1 rep max, you can define arbitrarily for yourself if you don't feel comfortable testing 1 rep maxes IE using 5 rep maxes), density (how much training you are doing per unit time in a given workout, rest periods are important here). These are the parameters which you should be aiming to improve over the long term.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook