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Posted: 5/27/2002 1:32:26 PM EDT

Here's some friendly advice for weight lifters of any level.  

Keep a workout log of your sets, reps, and the weight.  This is a great way to ensure you push yourself each workout.  It also acts as a record book for you to go back and refer to past workouts.  Finally, you can keep track of your training cycles if you do that(you should).

Here is an example of what I write on a page:

                8-10reps- 3 weeks

Bench- 225-10
Pulldowns- 180-10
Incline bench- 205-10
Ben-over rows- 115-10
Decline- 215-10
cable rows- 140-10
pec-deck- 90-10


This is one workout(chest and back day).  The first number is the weight, the second is how many reps.  Often, I write in little notes like "did partials on last set of bench" or "biceps were dragging a** today"

"8-10" means I am trying to go to or near failure between 8 and 10 reps.  3 weeks is how long I stay in the 8-10 range.  After 3 weeks, I go straight into "6-8" for three weeks.  I go back and look at my log at the last week of 8-10 and look at the weight and reps for a certain excercise.  I then add some weight because I'm now trying to reach failure between 6-8 reps.  For example, if I Benched 235 for 8 reps my last week of 8-10, I'd add 5-10lbs to that for my first week of 6-8.

Three weeks later I go to 4-6, then occasionally down to 1-3reps for 3 weeks, adding sets as I do less reps.  Then I jump to 10-12 reps and switch to mostly dumbells and cables to mix it up for a few weeks.  All the while I continually go back and check th log to ensure I'm progressing.  Once I'm back to the beginning "8-10", I'll be stronger and can typically do 5-15lbs more than I could thge last time around.  Cycling keeps me sore also, something that experienced lifters know stops happening if you're not consantly shocking your muscles.  You learn to love those sore muscles![:D]

This system works very well for me, but some people would rather just use intuition or a estimation when throwing the weights on.  Either way, if you're looking to improve your intensity in the gym, seeing your work on paper definetly helps.  

Good luck
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