Think about your workouts for a minute. How much did you lift on your bench press in each set in your last workout? How many reps did you do? How did you feel at the end of each set? If you do not know the answer to those questions there is no way to maximize your next workout. A weight lifting log is crucial to getting superior workouts and improving in every workout.
Many lifters may try to tell you the only thing you really need to know is how much you lifted in your heaviest set. You can buy into the theory if you want to be average. If you want to excel in lifting and physical improvement you must know all the details of your workout. You need to be able to adjust every set to maximize to get the greatest benefit from your workouts.
It takes only a few seconds between sets to quickly jot down how much you lifted, how many reps, and how it felt. This is the same amount of time you would have spent standing there catching your breath before starting the next set. Put the time to work for you.
The knowledge you gain from your log is powerful. You can use it to motivate yourself in tremendous ways. If you can squeeze out one extra rep in your workout every session it is a major gain. Being able to look back through the logs and see how you improve over the weeks motivates you for the future. If you know each workout brings you one or two added reps, and each few workouts lets you increase in weight you train with confidence. Without this knowledge you may feel stuck, on a plateau and become discouraged.
A weight lifting log does not stop you from hitting a plateau, but it lets you quickly identify one. You can then make changes quickly to restart your muscle growth and power gains. You can make adjustments to your diet, your supplements, or change up exercises to get the gains going again.
This brings us to another important aspect of your weight lifting log. It needs to include areas for you to monitor your eating habits and specifically any supplements you are taking. The feedback from your logs is what is going to teach you which supplements give you the maximum benefits and help you learn how to cycle them properly for your body. When you see the benefits dropping off you stop taking the supplement and give your body a rest.
The same is true with exercises. When you see one exercise hit a plateau, like the barbell bicep curl, then you switch up exercises to hit the muscle differently. You could switch to dumbbell curls, concentration curls, switch to a curl bar, or any other change to re-target your efforts and start seeing gains again. Your weight lifting log becomes your guide to making changes and then verifying they are working for you. Without a log you are only working on gut feel and memory. With a log you have history and the chance to learn what works for your body consistently.