Weightlifting Training Diary

Today, I informed an athlete that it was time to start keeping a training diary and was met with a request to provide a “sales pitch”. It’s a perfectly fair request. Why should an athlete keep a training diary? This question needs a well-reasoned answer and hopefully, my answer below will be of some value.

After jotting down some dot points, it seemed that there were six good reasons.


Keeping a training diary provides an opportunity to faithfully and fully record the training you have done, and when you did it. Without a training diary, your remembrances of the content and character of your training will be inaccurate. You may develop a false view about your training and the progress you are making. It is too easy to suffer delusions. Although athletes like to feel they can remember their personal bests for every exercise, it is highly likely that memory will fail.


Keeping a diary makes it possible to perform a statistical analysis of your training. You can measure the volume of work in terms of sets, reps, and tonnes. You can also analyse the mix of exercises, frequency of training, the rate of progress, and many other parameters. Many athletes may not feel there is any need to do this but if you have serious ambitions, you will want to know how your training compares with other athletes.


If you keep a training diary, you will always be easily able to keep your coach informed if they should ask what training you did. All you need to do is to take and send a photo of your session notes. Your training diary is an excellent measure of accountability. It keeps you honest and ensures that you can accurately inform your coach.


Looking over your diary and reflecting on the training you have done is a powerful way to develop strategies for improvement. As you engage in training it is worthwhile to write notes to yourself about what you have learned, what the coach said, or express feelings and thoughts about your training. Then if you regularly look back over your training log, these notes will serve to guide you to make the most out of your training.


From time to time, your coach may ask to review your training diary to get an overall picture of how your training is going. From a coaching perspective, there are many things to look for and potential issues to identify. For example, the coach may wish to look at your distribution of sets across different intensities, whether there is any bias in your training effort, and whether your training adequately addresses your specific needs.


Your training diary will allow you the opportunity to analyse, review and reflect on your training and this will enable you to better develop personal training goals. You can write these goals into your training diary to guide your future training effort.

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