4 Ways to Make Sure You're Progressing in the Gym

If you’re in the gym to get strong or build muscle then you have to Train. Like. It!⁣

If you’re not finding ways to increase effort or tracking your progress, how will you ever improve?⁣

Or even know that you’re improving?⁣

Here are 4 easy ways to make sure gains are happening and that you’re not wasting your time in the gym:

1) Train 1-2 reps shy of failure

If you finish a set and it feels like you could have done 5+ more reps, increase the weight for the next set. You won’t get any stronger or get “toned” if you’re not exerting any effort.

Even if you choose too light of a weight and overshoot your reps for a set, DO IT. Say 3 sets of 8 is what’s programmed, but you pick a weight that you can do 10-12. Don’t stop the set at 8 reps if you could have done more. Knock out what you can, do those extra reps, and then increase the weight for the next set.

You’ll know it’s a good weight choice if the last 1-2 reps in a set feel like a struggle but you’re still able to finish with acceptable form.

2) Keep track of your weights for each workout and try to increase the reps or weight each week

For example, if you have 4x10 squats programmed over a block, your progression could look like this:

Week 1: 150lbs for 10 reps

Week 2: 155lbs for 10 reps

Week 3: 165lbs for 8 reps

Week 4: 165lbs for 10 reps

You increased the weight for Weeks 2 and 3, but Week 3 you only got 8 reps. So keep the load the same and try for more reps in Week 4.

3) Slow down the movement

If you’re flying through your reps without any thought, slow it down. You’re missing a very important and beneficial part of the movement when you’re not controlling the eccentric (aka the release).

For example: you do 50lb hamstring curls and get them done fast because they feel heavy.

Now, you can count 3-4s on the way down or even add a slight pause at the top or bottom.

4) You’re able to decrease rest times

Completing your workouts in a shorter amount of time is progress. If that’s the case and things feel “too easy”, it may be time to up the weights.

For example: you used to have to take 30-60s break in between a superset of 2 exercises and now you can go back to back without rest.

Or you used to need a full minute or 2 between your normal sets and now you feel good in 45s. This might be an exercise you can increase the weight on.

Put some THOUGHT into your training, track your progress, and chase those gains.

Get your workouts programmed and laid out for you: 12-week strength and hypertrophy based programming for beginner, intermediate, and advanced lifters inside Body By Natalie!