I had originally intended on posting updated charts today monitoring individual progress through the September-October challenge. The problem though is that when sitting down to do it, I realized that I was stumped on how best to represent individuals progress.

  • Each individual has their own starting points
  • Modified versions of workouts (modified push-up, assisted chin up etc) are difficult to represent graphically
  • I don’t like the idea of directly plotting people on the same chart, as it is a personal competition, rather than a member against member competition.

Short of producing 7 x 4 graphs of each person’s progress over each workout, instead I wanted to talk about this challenge  today in the context of my own data. This will buy me a little bit more time to figure out the best way to show individual progress in the future.

My own progress has been interesting. I haven’t been able to consistently workout as much as I had originally intended to. I have found that missing strength building workout days is far easier than missing a training night when following a scheduled running plan. That being said, I have improved a little bit each week. I am not sure how much that really has to do with getting in better shape, or the overwhelming desire to post improvements each week  no matter what.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about is how to compare reps of modified/assisted exercises. The first week, I was able to do ten chin-ups at 64 pounds assisted. On Tuesday night, I decided to really challenge myself, to determine what my body could maximally lift for one rep. I was able to do a chin-up with 46 lbs assisted, down from 64. This to me is progress as my end goal is to complete an unassisted chin-up . . . but how does it compare to 10 reps at 64 assisted? Are these measuring the same thing in general?

I suppose that the single-maximum weight-rep is a good indication overall of my strength. The 10 rep set is a good indication of how long for my muscles to fatigue. They answer different questions I suppose, which is an interesting predicament considering I wanted to summarize this in a nice little graph.

What do you guys think? How would you track your progress over time? For exercises like planks, and squats, it’s fairly simple . . . but what happens if you start adding weight to the squats? Is 10 squats with 20 lbs added comparable to 50 squats with no weight added? If so, how would you visualize that!