Lifting weights, when done right, is great for you and makes you stronger over time. And it’s a good feeling to see yourself improving, right? If you’d like to keep track of your progress, here are three things to look for:
- You can complete more reps with the same weight: Many times when lifting, you’ll work with rep ranges; for example 8-12 reps. You will start with a weight that you can just about complete 8 reps with, and increase your repetitions over time. Once you can do more than 12 reps with that weight, you will increase the weight and start the same process with a heavier weight. But even before you increase your weight, the fact that you are able to increase your number of reps indicates that you’re getting stronger.
- You can lift more more weight for the same number of reps: If you used to do 10 reps of 40kg back squats, they started feeling easier and easier over time, so you decided to try 45kg and were still able to complete 10 reps, you got stronger. The same goes for all other exercises of course!
- You can complete the same number of reps with the same weight, but with better form: This is the most overlooked indicator of progress, but still a very important one. As an example, let’s look at shoulder presses. Let’s say that you’re doing dumbbell shoulder presses with 8kg/ side. The first time you use the 8kg weights, you just about manage to complete 8 reps, but you weren’t able to complete the last two reps with great form. You keep using the 8kg dumbbells for several workouts, and cannot increase your reps or weight yet, but you notice your form getting better; especially for the last few reps. That means you’re making progress! Better form is a very subtle sign that you’re improving, but it’s still worth noting; especially because it might be the first one you’ll see.
Now, let’s get lifting!