NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS – HOW TO EASILY CALCULATE PROGRESS IN THE WEIGHT ROOM

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Happy New Year, AAACKers!!

OK, I’m a little off topic but since it’s the new year I thought I’d venture into a slightly different arena. We’re all planning a few new year’s resolutions starting yesterday and at least one of them will have to do with fitness, losing weight, working out, or something like that. Since here at AAACK! we like to work and play hard I was mulling over an easy way to increase the intensity or show measurable progress of your gym or weight room workouts. In other words how does the average Joe or Josephine (who’s not a gym rat) make progress in the weight room. Besides having a trainer tell you, most people write down their exercises and sets and reps on paper or their mobile device. But deciding how to progress is tough. Should you add weight, reps, sets? One rule of thumb is set a goal, let’s say 3 work sets of 10 reps with 100 lbs of whatever exercise. Work sets are the ones you do after you’ve finished warming up and the sets really count and are meant create strength or size. When you can complete all the reps and sets in good form with the prescribed weight, then add 5 or 10%. But that gets stale quickly unless you are a true beginner and then you make progress regardless of the scheme.

Another way to up your intensity but which allows you to vary the workout and avoid staleness is to use a progression scheme which multiplies the reps and weight and then adds the totals.

For example, using the above workout, you multiply the reps x weight which equals 1000. Then you add the 3 sets together so the total is 3000. Now in your next workout you want a total for that exercise which is above 3000. And the nice thing is it doesn’t matter how you get there. You could add 1 rep to each set and then your total is 3300. Or you could increase the weight to 150, drop the reps to 5 and do 5 sets. Now your total is 3750, once again exceeding your previous workout although that may be too big a jump. Your only goal is to exceed the previous workout’s total although small increments will be better than large ones.

Pretty easy to follow and it can be calculated during the workout so if you miss a rep or the weight is too heavy, you can always change it during the workout because you know what total you’re chasing. And if you don’t feel like using as much weight, you can still make your total for the day by upping the reps and/or sets.

Since all this calculating can become tiresome, I wouldn’t do it for every exercise, just the big ones (compound movements) which have the greatest impact on your overall fitness and metabolism, e.g., leg press or squats, bench press, and a few others.

Now, while we don’t sell a gym AAACK! Pack yet we certainly carry some useful workout items: Purell, Wet Ones (do you need to clean some equipment?), Aleve or Advil for any post-workout aches and pains, Biofreeze for joint pain, Icy Hot, travel size deodorant, Gatorade powder, and Band-Aids.

Here’s to healthy travels in the new year!