Tracking Your Workouts for Optimal Progress

Let’s talk about that little habit that can make a BIG difference in your journey to becoming the fittest and strongest version of yourself and for optimal progress: tracking your workouts. Now, I know what you might be thinking – isn’t it enough to just show up, choose a weight or exercise and sweat it out? While showing up is definitely crucial, tracking your workouts is like adding the icing to the cake to your fitness journey. Let me break it down for you.

Here at Ivy Training, we track and log our clients workouts with an easy to use app, TrueCoach. We keep track for our clients to ensure optimal progression.

First up, tracking your workouts gives you clarity on where you’re at and where you’re headed. It’s like having a map for your fitness journey. Imagine setting out on a road trip without a GPS – you might end up lost, confused, and frustrated. The same goes for your workouts. Without tracking, you might not know if you’re making progress, plateauing, or even regressing. But with a simple log of your exercises, sets, reps, and weights, you can easily see what’s working and what trajectory you are on over time.

Consistency With Motivation and Results

Let’s not forget the motivation factor. There’s something incredibly satisfying about seeing your progress in a tangible way. Whether it’s lifting heavier weights, running faster, or simply being able to do more push-ups, tracking your improvements can be a major confidence booster. It’s like getting a high-five from your past self every time you glance at your workout log. Speaking of push-ups, we have done a blog here about how to master and progress your push-ups. 

Here’s a perfect example below on where tracking your workouts can be useful: details like how many reps you performed, if you lowered slowly with an eccentric variation, which surface height you used and more! You’ll need to check out that blog for details!

But tracking your workouts isn’t just about patting yourself on the back – it’s also about holding yourself accountable. When you write down your workouts, you’re making a commitment to yourself to show up and put in the work. It’s a way of saying, “Hey, I’m serious about this whole fitness thing.” Plus, let’s be real, nobody wants to leave blank spaces in their workout log. It’s like having unfinished business staring you in the face.

Tracking Kept Easy

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking – tracking your workouts sounds like a lot of extra work. But fear not, we live in the age of technology, and there are plenty of apps out there that make tracking a breeze. Whether you’re into weights, running, or yoga, there’s an app for easy tracking. Here at Ivy Training, you have probably seen your coach logging and making notes during your workout. We use an app called TrueCoach, which is very user friendly for both parties. As your coach, we want to assess how that session felt and what weights were being used for that specific exercise to give us a trajectory of where to progress you on to. We love to see that consistent progress and share it with you each week. 

And of course, tracking your workouts isn’t just about what you do in the gym – it can also be what you do outside of it. Keeping tabs on your nutrition, sleep, and stress levels can give you valuable insights. Such as how your lifestyle habits are affecting your progress. After all, you can’t out-train a bad diet or sleep deprivation.

At Ivy Training we always keep a log of what our clients have done in their workouts.

Sticking To The Plan

And let’s not forget about the power of consistency. They say that consistency is the key to success in just about anything, and fitness is no exception. By tracking your workouts, you can ensure that you’re staying consistent with your training. Plus, there’s something incredibly satisfying about seeing the numbers and transformative results over time.

In conclusion – this is the importance of tracking your workouts in a nutshell. Tracking your workouts can help you stay on track, stay motivated, and ultimately, ensure you’re making optimal progress. It helps us go from exercising without clarity to training with intent and a purpose. So start logging and get ready to take your fitness journey to the next level! Contact us here to learn more about what we do at Ivy Training.

4 Easy Ways to Get Phenomenal Push-Ups

Push-ups are one of the most recognisable exercises in the world. Being able to do a push-up is a a sign of being strong and athletic, even for people who don’t train. They’re great for building strength and muscle in the pecs (chest), anterior deltoids (shoulders), and triceps. They’re also incredibly versatile. All you need is yourself and a surface to push against, so they’re perfect for times that you don’t have access to any strength training equipment.

However, push-ups are hard. Research has shown that a regular push-up requires a person to lift around 64% of their body weight.1 That’s a lot of weight, especially for people who haven’t got a lot of training experience. Fortunately, there are many ways to work up to a push-up no matter your starting point!

A full push-up in the starting position.

1. Barbell/Dumbbell Bench Press

Although it’s not a push-up, the bench press shares almost all of the same muscle groups and joint actions. Research has shown that the two exercises have a strong association regarding strength and muscle development,2 which means that training one will likely improve the other.

So why would you choose a bench press instead of an easier push-up variant? The main reason would be to allow for more gradual increases in difficulty over time. Most of the ways to make a push-up easier involve elevating the hands, but people are unlikely to have easy access to a series of progressively lower surfaces that match their rate of strength gain. The bench press allows for weight increases of as little as 1kg at a time, making it a lot easier to progressively load the movement.

Of course, the bench press requires access to more equipment than a push-up, so it’s not the most accessible alternative. Building strength is also specific to the movement trained, so if your goal is to be able to do a push-up, we’d recommend continuing to do a push-up variant alongside the bench press.

The bench press, a great assistance exercise for push-ups.

2. Incline Push-Ups

The main way of making push-ups easier is to place the hands on a raised surface. By angling the body, we reduce the amount of body weight that needs to be moved.

The first step is to find an appropriate surface to start on. The easiest version has the hands placed on a wall, but your starting height will depend on your strength level. From there, we follow a progressive loading scheme similar to any other exercise, with hand elevation substituting for weight. Once you can do the desired number of reps, we can make it harder by using a slightly lower surface. The surfaces will get progressively lower until you’re on the floor.

A squat rack with adjustable hooks is an excellent tool for this method if you have access to one. The idea is to rack the bar on the hooks and use it as the elevated surface for your hands. As you get stronger, move the hooks down to make the push-ups more difficult. This is my favourite method, as it allows for load increases that are uniform and more gradual.

An incline push-up.

3. Knee Push-Ups

The knee push-up is a great exercise for someone who is strong enough to not need an incline, but isn’t quite ready to do full sets on their toes yet. The load of a knee push-up is 49% of body weight compared to 64% for toe push-ups,3 so it’s significantly easier whilst still being a good challenge.

Adding sets and reps is the best way to progress the movement. Once you can do a comfortable number of reps and sets (e.g. 3 sets of 10 reps) at full range of motion, it might be time to move from your knees to your toes!

A push-up done on the knees.

4. Controlled Negatives

Controlling the eccentric (lowering) phase of an exercise is a great way to build muscle and strength, especially if you can’t yet do the full movement.4 For a push-up, this would involve starting in the top plank position, then lowering yourself to the ground as slowly as possible. Once you reach the ground, climb back up to the starting position and do another rep.

This is a great technique that can be used with any of the variations that we’ve discussed. For progression, work up to doing multiple sets and reps before moving on to a harder variation.

Final Thoughts

If you want to be able to do a push-up, hopefully this guide will be useful. No matter your ability level, there are ways to start building the necessary strength through the chest, shoulders, and triceps. With effort, consistency, and some help from one of our coaches, it won’t be long until you’re doing your first push-up!

Final Thoughts

  1. The Effect of Position on the Percentage of Body Mass Supported During Traditional and Modified Push-Up Variants ↩︎
  2. Push-Ups are Able to Predict the Bench Press 1-RM and Constitute an Alternative for Measuring Maximum Upper Body Strength Based on Load-Velocity Relationships ↩︎
  3. The Effect of Position on the Percentage of Body Mass Supported During Traditional and Modified Push-Up Variants ↩︎
  4. The Effects of Eccentric Versus Concentric Resistance Training on Muscle Strength and Mass in Healthy Adults: a Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis ↩︎