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What Defines a Good Workout?


First of all, Hey all, I hope you are all excellent...

Here are some things I want to cover before the question gets asked officially:

  • I started lifting again within the last year, so I count myself as a beginner.

  • I know more than most but not as much as many (as general population goes) about muscle and nutrition.

  • I visit the site a lot, will read every fucking article on this site over the coming months because I want to help people get into shape. Basically.

  • I want to turn myself into a fucking ANIMAL without the use of steroids, though I don't judge steroid use.

  • I think my only other contribution to this site was a post on how to make your penis stronger. No shit.

With that dealt with, let's get to it.

Fellas... what do you describe as a GOOD workout?

I'm not going to give any hints on what to write or how to describe it, I want to hear it straight and pure.

I'm not getting at 'most effective for your goals'. I'm talking about how do YOU know when YOU'VE just had a good workout?

The reason I ask is because I don't ever want to be caught fagging it in the gym (please take no offence at that term, none is meant).

But I don't know how I would describe it.

Put that down to lack of experience. Put that down to being too scared to push it all the way. Put that down to not ever HAVING a good workout. It could be any and none of these.

Guys, I'm not here to be hugged. If you want to be a prick about it, do so. If not, very cool too.

Thanks in advance.

All the very best,



There is no one way to determine if a workout is "good". That's completely subjective and up to each individual to determine. The only way you can define a good workout after the fact in a broad, general sense is by the level of progression from the previous workout for the same body parts.

How much did you progress from the week before? Could you have done more? Personally, I would only concern yourself with progression, because phrases like "go hard" or "lift till you got nothing left" are just words.

There's no value in those statements as the meaning behind the words differ from person to person. As long as you are progressing and gaining the results you wish to see, then you can say you had a "good" workout.

Other than that, it doesn't really matter what words you use to define a good workout. Words are words. Results are results.


i think most people will know what a good workout is and what a half-assed one is

in other words, once you have a good workout, you will know

nobody can really tell you, its just something that you should know


Yeah fellas I totally agree with you.

I mean it is subjective, I know when I've pussied out some, and when I know I've done good.

I think I should've aimed the question more at intensity. Like, how intense have you gone?

Have you pushed yourself to the point of chucking up?

Have you gone so hard your muscle has burst through your skin?

Then I guess the question is can you / should you push yourself this hard every time you work out, suffice to say you're recovering fully.


Maybe I'm just rambling like a mother fucker :stuck_out_tongue:

But it's an interesting topic.


... thinking about it, and with all respect :-)should I have put this in a different forum?


when your muscels are just shaking and twitching as you walk out the door, sweat is pouring off you like rain, and you felt pain. or any day you achieve a personal best is pretty good to


If I used more weight or did more reps for my exercises for that bodypart than I did last time, and if I get a skin-exploding pump. That is what a good workout is to me.


A good workout as part of a good routine, for a beginner / novice / intermediate ...

  1. you go in hungry ready to EAT THE WEIGHTS YEAH!

  2. you come out knackered, can hardly use the muscles you trained, but not hurt, just sore, or if not sore, then fell fine (until you try and lift more, but can't)

  3. by next workout you are hungry for more!

In other words you train hard, but not too hard, have time to recover and enthusiasm levels are high on the training days (they might be low on the rest days as you recover)

For advanced level it is not really like this, you are always sore, tired, wrecked for weeks depending on where you are in your training cycle ... usually feeling HUNGRY just before the meet!


A good workout is one that works the targeted muscle/full body to the extent that there is a progressive overload during each session.


A good workout for me is when I can barely walk out of the gym on a non-leg day. I need a wheelchair to get out of there on leg day.


Any session where you make progress, however you measure it, is a good one. Occasionally you make insane progress and that might be a great session.

even an extra kilo or making it through hard %'s is good.



A good workout is when I achieve what I set out to do ... but not easily.


If I have trouble driving stick back to my house, success.


Yes. However, that isn't really going to ever be the case. You won't be able to push yourself 100% every workout and fully recover. So, "backing off" is pretty much required, IMHO.

As far as the original question, my answer is similar to others: when I've beaten a record (by some metric: more weight, less rest, more reps, another set ..) I know I had a "good work out." I've had good work outs when I felt shitty, and I've had bad work outs when I felt good.


Fellas, thanks for some great answers!

I've got a much better grasp of what I want to be acheiving now.

I basically had just come from a workout that I thought was pretty pissy because I wasn't as pumped as I had been in past workouts and wasn't really sweating much, but I had made gains on the Bench since the last time I was there.

Thanks again guys.

All the very best!!


here's what comes to mind

  • training with enough intensity that you are just shy of injury

  • training with enough intensity that you CAN'T continue after 50-60 minutes with weight anywhere close to what you were lifting in the session

  • sweating is a tricky subject, it depends on how easily i lose proper form on some exercises, on deadlifts i get sweaty surprisingly fast because (for me) it's difficult to seriously screw up form, on the other hand for shoulder day i really need to pay attention to keep the workload even on both shoulders so i end up sweating much less

  • honestly in the end it's about weight lifted and volume performed, if you are stagnating at the same numbers then i think of that as a failure no matter how much i'm sweating and shaking


I figure I got a good workout if I can look in the mirror at the end, and really say, you know, you gave it 100% today.

regardless of how i feel after the workout or how i feel the next day.

I can be honest with myself, and there are definatly times I let myself down with the weights.


Great couple of posts there guys, thanks.


If I lifted more weight than I did the previous workout, then it was a success.


A great workout for me is when I lifted more weight for more reps then I ever did before. I feel like my body is stronger not sore and dead.