by Mike Tuchscherer, 14 December 2017
Back in 2008, we had a training log app on the RTS website. For many reasons we had to shut it down and rebuild it. We relaunched it in 2016 and have been packing it with features ever since. What’s more, it’s free for anyone to use with any style of training you want.
Surely you’re heard people tell you to log your training before. The idea behind logging is that it should give something back to you. It should help you make better training decisions. The idea is simple — keeping track of what you’ve done allows you to look back on it to figure out what worked for you and what didn’t, and more importantly what you should do next. It’s very useful in adjusting training loads (put the right weight on the bar and lift it the right number of times).
The theory sounds great, but in practice was much harder to do. There is lots of noise clouding up the signal. The way most people train makes teasing out relationships even harder in the standard training log format (i.e. writing stuff down in a notebook occasionally). But just because it’s difficult to do it well doesn’t make it less valuable. And this is where technology can help us.
It was with this in mind that we started building online training logs in 2008. And now we’ve got a pretty good system laid out and it’s getting better all the time. The idea behind it is something like this…
If you log your training using our online system, we can do a lot more with the data. In fact, we can turn that data into actionable information that you can use to make better choices in the gym. Here are a few ways that happens:
+ The log “knows” what you lifted last and can help you determine your ideal training loads for any exercise even if the reps are different.
+ The way we manage exercises in the log means it’s easy to compile all of your bench exercises, push exercises, upper body exercises, etc, etc. You don’t have to go through a list and hand-select every exercise that fits some criteria in order to see some statistics on it. But if you need that kind of granularity, you can do that too.
+ You can determine if a given program is “working” much faster if you’re using the RTS system to log your training. Training that works is obviously important, and it’s also motivating. Training that doesn’t work needs to be changed. Better to spot it early so you can fit in more productive training cycles each year.
+ There’s a lot of other stuff too. Bodyweight tracking is obviously important and useful. We have a full recovery monitoring system in TRAC. Various reports and more.
The most under-rated feature has to be the Block Review. This is something we use with all of our lifters to review each training block. As you track your training and collect these block reviews, you start to develop a picture of what training produces the best results for each of your lifts. And it’s not theoretical — it’s information fit for you as an athlete. You get to better see what exercises, volumes, intensities, stress levels, rep/RPE ranges produce the best results for you.
This is where the rubber truly meets the road and where logging your training pays huge dividends. With a bit of time and attention, you can figure out the training that your body responds best to. And from there, you can ride the wave and make incredible progress on your lifts.
I’ve had lifters that, through the block review process, we’ve discovered that they simply don’t respond well to high intensities. Other lifters respond great. Same goes for certain exercises. I don’t respond well to long pause bench, but Kelly Branton sure does. You might discover that you CAN recover from very high workloads, but it doesn’t produce better results than lower workloads (more work = more wear and tear). Or maybe that’s not true for you. There are so many other possibilities too and you really don’t know until you start to look.
If it sounds like I’m building up to a pitch, I’m not. The RTS Training Log app is free. Completely and forever. We made it that way because we’re truly interested in helping lifters get stronger and set their next PR. We’re constantly adding more features as well. RTS athletes also get some added perks with the system — we can pre-load your training and even get the system to calculate your target weights for you. This makes everything much simpler — from planning your session to logging it afterward.
Keeping a (good) training log is a huge asset to your training. There’s no real reason you shouldn’t be logging. And if you’re going to make the effort to log it, you may as well get the most you can out of your log.
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About the Author:
|About the Author
Mike Tuchscherer is the owner and head coach at RTS. He has been powerlifting since 2001 and since has traveled all over the world for competitions. In 2009, he was the first man from USA powerlifting to win a gold medal at the World Games – the highest possible achievement in powerlifting. He has coached over a dozen competitors at the world championships, a score of national champions, and multiple world record holders.