Weightlifting is about “progressive overload,” McClary says. In other words, you need to make sure that you are continually stressing your muscles more and more in order to make progress — either through increased weight, increased repetitions, increased sets or increased density of training. If you don’t do so, your muscles will simply not be given the stimulus to grow.
That’s why McClary says it’s important to track of the details of your workouts — how much weight was on the bar, for which exercise and for how many repetitions. You can even make notes to help you remember what you liked, what you didn’t like, what worked well and what didn’t.
“Keeping track allows you to track your progress and make adjustments,” McClary says. “It’s OK to be the guy at the gym with the notebook.”