T Nation

Tracking PRs


Just interested in seeing how everyone does this, or if they even track at all. Maybe I'll find a better way...

For me, I have 4 pages at the back of my workout book. 1 page for each 5/3/1 lift.

The weight running down the left hand side, 1 per line, reps completed next to it.


112.5 - 10, 11
115 - 9, 12, 15
120 - 8
145 - 3, 4, 5
150 - 2

This doesn't let me look at dates.


I use Excel spreadsheets that are dated and have each session labeled “Week 1, Day 1” and so on. Each day has the movement, the training max, the weight lifted and the number of reps completed. I don’t track smaller assistance movements like curls or glute/ham raises, just the main movements and rows, which are the only assistance movement worth tracking for me.

It takes a little while to set up initially with formulas and header rows, but the basic template is usable with any version of 5/3/1.


How do you know if you set a rep PR at a weight? Do you need to go back through the entire spreadsheet?


Yeah, sometimes I go back through the spreadsheet and look. It’s organized and simple enough to do this, but I am a past the point of quick gains, so as long as I am hitting well beyond the prescribed reps on the last set, I rarely look back. There are just too many variables that can cause you to have an awesome day, an average day, or a shitty day. Don’t get caught up in tracking things too much. Trust the program, be patient, and proceed.

You may want to go back and look at 6 months or a year ago occasionally, but don’t get discouraged if your reps from a month or two ago haven’t moved much. Progress isn’t linear!


Like JoeyWaters I track my PR sets so I can always look back to when I set whatever PRs. In my workout book I use the last pages like tsantos but structured a bit differently. I list only my current PRs with the date set, so I start with less than 10 listings. If I set a new PR, I just write it in and cross out any that were broken. That often involves leaving the weight listed, but crossing out the old reps and date then writing in the new reps/date next to it. When I change to a new workout book, I just copy over the current PRs.


I keep a text file on my phone. I travel a lot so it’s a little more convenient than a paper log.



Reps x weight, date set


1 x 405 lb., 1 Jan 14
2 x 395 lb., 1 Jan 14
3 x 385 lb., 1 Jan 14
4 x 365 lb., 1 Jan 14


While I track workouts in a book, I do this on my phone in Notes. Just recently stopped erasing old maxes for comparison sake: