While adding weight to the bar is the easiest way to measure progress, it’s not always the best way to track short term improvement for more advanced individuals. There is a common misconception that if we’re not increasing the weight every workout, we’re not getting better. This couldn’t be further from the truth and for lack of better words, training this way is just outright dumb. Beginners should be able to add weight week to week, but as we progress there are other ways to track our progress in a safe and realistic way.

  1. Increasing the Amount of Weight
    • Great way to track short term progress for beginners and can expect to see progress every 1-3 weeks
    • More advanced individuals every 3-6 months


  1. Technique
    • Look to complete sets at challenging load, while keeping pristine form and missing no prescribed reps
    • Assess changes in technique with heavier working sets versus your technique in lighter warm-up sets
    • Don’t lift for ego, aim to PR your technique


  1. Work Capacity
    • Number of working sets or “hard” sets on a given lift
    • Total volume in a session or week (sets x reps x load)
    • Work completed in a given time


  1. Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
    • Record RPE on your main lifts or sessions overall
    • Can depend day to day, but should see overall improvement over time


The number one goal for training should always be injury prevention, and in order to stay injury free, we need to train smart. Strive to improve with the mindset that lasting progress will be made in terms of months and years, not workout to workout. Set realistic goals and learn to track your progress using variables other than increased weight. Progress may not always be linear, but if you use these tools paired with consistency and hard work, you will see improvements with time.


Becca Carley, B.S, EP-C

Forge-Rx Trainer


Schedule a chat with Becca today to see why personal training can help you get the most out of your goals: