It can be quite tedious working out in the gym several days a week, particularly if you have been training for a number of years already.
Indeed it is surprisingly easy to get into a plateau where you are no longer seeing any noticeable gains, and are just going through the motions with each of your workouts, and not really pushing yourself as much as you could be.
So to help overcome this, you really need to pay more attention to your personal bests for each and every exercise, and make a concerted effort to break these records at every opportunity in order to see some positive results.
Recording Your Personal Bests
The reality is that many people don’t really keep any records of their personal bests and just end up lifting whatever they can manage.
So instead of attempting to break new records and make new gains, they will end up lifting the same amount of weight every week, which is okay for maintenance, but doesn’t really help you to get bigger and stronger.
A better strategy is to write down your personal bests for each and every exercise (bench press, squat, overhead shoulder press, barbell curl, deadlift, etc), or better still, download an app to your phone or tablet device so that it is easy to make a note of them as you go through your workouts.
That way you will always have records to beat, and will have an idea of how much you should be lifting whenever you start an exercise.
For example, if you can do 10 x 30 kg barbell curls, you might want to do 12 x 25 kg for your first set, 10 x 30 kg for your second set, and attempt 8 x 35 kg (or as many as you can manage) for your final set. Once you can do 10 reps at 35 kg, this will be your new personal best and should be the new benchmark in the future.
Note that a personal best isn’t really how much you can lift for one rep because what is the point of doing one rep? You need to be able to lift heavier and heavier weights for multiple reps in order to see gains.
How To Break Your Personal Bests
Of course it is very easy to talk about breaking new records, but it is obviously a lot harder to do in reality because your muscles are not always strong enough (or are too fatigued) to set a new personal best for a particular exercise.
However there are a few things that you can do that will make it easier to set new records and make new gains.
First of all you need to be in the right mindset. If you are playing around on your phone between sets and casually chatting with other gym members, then you are probably not in the right frame of mind to set new records.
If, however, you enter the gym determined to push yourself to the limit, and visualize yourself achieving a bigger and more muscular physique without being distracted by anyone or anything, then you will be far more likely to succeed in your goal.
The second thing that you can do is to fire yourself up and make yourself angry. I have always found that if I go to the gym in a foul mood, I will take my anger out on the weights and exercise machines, and will end up lifting more as a result. So this is definitely a tried and tested way of breaking new records in my experience.
The point is that you need to record your personal bests first of all so that you always have a benchmark weight that you should be lifting, and always have records to beat for each and every exercise. It doesn’t matter if you use an app on your phone or write them down on a piece of paper as long as you have some kind of record of them.
Then you can set about the task of breaking these records with the techniques that I described above so that you can successfully overcome any plateaus, increase your overall strength and make new gains.