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  1. #1
    Registered User SuperJason's Avatar
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    How do I know if I'm working hard enough?

    How do I know if I'm working hard enough? Is it the burn, is it the soreness, or just results?...by what measure do I gauge if I'm pushing myself enough? I try to push hard on all I do, but I never know whether or not I'm really doing as much as my body can handle. That's the simple version of what's on my mind. Thoughts?
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    Prognosis Negative Brackneyc's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuperJason View Post
    How do I know if I'm working hard enough? Is it the burn, is it the soreness, or just results?...by what measure do I gauge if I'm pushing myself enough? I try to push hard on all I do, but I never know whether or not I'm really doing as much as my body can handle. That's the simple version of what's on my mind. Thoughts?

    Depending on your goals. If you want to look better, then your reflection is a good indicator. If you want to be stronger, then the weights on the bar is a good indicator.
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  3. #3
    Registered User SuperJason's Avatar
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    I want to get bigger and stronger. I just don't know if I'm doing enough reps/sets, pushing enough weight etc. How do you gauge that? I guess I've got more reading to do.
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  4. #4
    Banned djflex's Avatar
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    You need to have measurable goals to gauge your progress. If you want to get bigger stronger be specific to your goals. Add 40 lbs to my bench,etc
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  5. #5
    The Mind MontyMagpie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuperJason View Post
    How do I know if I'm working hard enough? Is it the burn, is it the soreness, or just results?...by what measure do I gauge if I'm pushing myself enough? I try to push hard on all I do, but I never know whether or not I'm really doing as much as my body can handle. That's the simple version of what's on my mind. Thoughts?
    If you are progressing with your lifts then you are doing it right.
    The mind is the only limit. As long as the mind can envision something, you can do it.
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  6. #6
    Registered User nixter's Avatar
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    This is an interesting question as I recently started taking co-worker to the gym with me who's never set foot in the gym before. He's done a great job quitting smoking and changing his diet so I felt comfortable that he wouldn't quit the gym in a week. He's doing well learning the correct form and techniques for various lifts. What I find to be most challenging however is getting him to try hard enough to lift something or perform another rep. It's not that he doesn't want to, he just doesn't know how to communicate that to his body properly. I can see that he's got it in him. It's fascinating in weird way. It's different than just being weak because I can look at his whole body while he'd doing the exercise and I can tell he's not recruiting anything. His face is all strained but his body isn't doing the work. It's totally mental though because if i yell at him I can see his mind get over that hurdle. Sometimes I hold my "fist gun" to his head and tell him "one more rep or I blow your facking face off. It works. He's been pretty consistent and he's improving. He's learning how to push himself without me threatening his life anymore, yay! He's lifting more and more every time. I think that's the important part for the OP. As long as you are constantly improving your lifts by weight or number of reps (ideally both over time) then you'll be "trying hard enough" eventually if you aren't already.
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  7. #7
    Hammer time... Smelly bull's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuperJason View Post
    I want to get bigger and stronger. I just don't know if I'm doing enough reps/sets, pushing enough weight etc. How do you gauge that? I guess I've got more reading to do.
    If you want to get bigger and stronger go do a program that has a built in progression. Something like Bill Starr's 5x5 for beginners is great.
    “No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training… what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” – Socrates

    My journal...mostly focused on losing weight and maintaining mass

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=159539181&p=1192452511#post1192452511
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  8. #8
    I'll Mod Til I'm Dead ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuperJason View Post
    ... results?...
    ^^^^ This, conditionally.

    If you're training for strength, 1-rep max increases don't come frequently enough to be a good gauge of the effectiveness of your program.

    If you're training as a bodybuilder, changes in the mirror come too slowly to use to judge how well your routine is working for you.

    But what will be a good indicator is the week-to-week numbers in your training log. As long as you see incremental increases in the weight and/or reps you're lifting with good form, you know you're on the right track. Progression is the engine that drives growth/strength increases.












    Originally Posted by nixter View Post
    What I find to be most challenging however is getting him to try hard enough to lift something or perform another rep. It's not that he doesn't want to, he just doesn't know how to communicate that to his body properly.
    That's entirely understandable. Learning how to call on as many motor units as possible without breaking good form is an acquired skill that takes time to develop. In a way, it's not unlike learning how to shoot a free throw, or hit a golf ball.

    Good on ya for taking the time and effort to get him started down the right path.
    No brain, no gain.

    You can't out-train bad nutrition.

    "The fitness and nutrition world is a breeding ground for obsessive-compulsive behavior. The irony is that many of the things people worry about have no impact on results either way, and therefore aren't worth an ounce of concern."--Alan Aragon

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  9. #9
    Day 20 NoShave Nov. tmonkey's Avatar
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    do you look the way you want now?

    if so congrats, you are working hard enough.

    if not you are not working hard enough. do more work son.
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    Originally Posted by SuperJason View Post
    How do I know if I'm working hard enough? Is it the burn, is it the soreness, or just results?...by what measure do I gauge if I'm pushing myself enough? I try to push hard on all I do, but I never know whether or not I'm really doing as much as my body can handle. That's the simple version of what's on my mind. Thoughts?
    If you have to ask that question, then you aren't working hard enough.
    "I'm a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm." -Iggy and The Stooges
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  11. #11
    Audaces fortuna iuvat BillReilly's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuperJason View Post
    How do I know if I'm working hard enough? Is it the burn, is it the soreness, or just results?...by what measure do I gauge if I'm pushing myself enough? I try to push hard on all I do, but I never know whether or not I'm really doing as much as my body can handle. That's the simple version of what's on my mind. Thoughts?
    You're working hard enough when you don't have to wonder if you are working hard enough. That's my rule. I know if I'm slacking when I start to think I might be slacking. That's pretty much the way I treat everything in life. When I'm done my last set, I know I did enough because I can't do another set. I finished my run tonight just at the point where I was about to collapse.

    I'm not going to lie and say I never slack. But, that's how I know it.
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by SuperJason View Post
    How do I know if I'm working hard enough? Is it the burn, is it the soreness, or just results?...by what measure do I gauge if I'm pushing myself enough? I try to push hard on all I do, but I never know whether or not I'm really doing as much as my body can handle. That's the simple version of what's on my mind. Thoughts?
    It's all about results. If you are getting bigger and stronger then you are doing something right. Experienced trainees will intentionally back off on some of their training and cycle intensity. It's about training SMART, not just training hard.
    Kevin

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  13. #13
    The uncommitted christos_swc's Avatar
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    Experience basically.
    Plus I know I'm working hard enough because when I work out harder I get joint pains.
    Get well soon Robert.
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  14. #14
    Registered User SuperJason's Avatar
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    I think I should have added....'to get maximum results' to the end of my question. I am seeing results, just slowly. I do work until I can't do any more reps/sets and then move on to the next exercise, but after I finish my workout I take a break, then wonder could I have done more, because I feel great...I guess that's just a mental thing.
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  15. #15
    Banging it! flat6nut's Avatar
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    Like others have stated...as long as you are progressing toward your goal. You also need to make sure your weight lifting routine and diet are right for your goals.
    Nobody knows you better than yourself. So ask yourself if you are truely giving it all you have to give, and then some. Dont worry about over training...you wont. Beat it up...you will know when you have done enough.

    Originally Posted by SuperJason View Post
    I think I should have added....'to get maximum results' to the end of my question. I am seeing results, just slowly. I do work until I can't do any more reps/sets and then move on to the next exercise, but after I finish my workout I take a break, then wonder could I have done more, because I feel great...I guess that's just a mental thing.
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  16. #16
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  17. #17
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    Originally Posted by Smelly bull View Post
    If you want to get bigger and stronger go do a program that has a built in progression. Something like Bill Starr's 5x5 for beginners is great.
    Yes, if you follow one of these programs it takes care of the working hard enough as long as you follow the program.

    Also, don't over estimate how hard you have to push yourself either. It's about using your energy and time intelligently.
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  18. #18
    Prognosis Negative Brackneyc's Avatar
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    I must not be working hard enough. I see post after post of guys talking about working every single set to failure, crawling out of the gym after leg day and puking. I am really doing it wrong.
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  19. #19
    Banging it! flat6nut's Avatar
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    Really? I thought your progress has gone well for you. I do go to controlled failure on every working set. Never puked on legs though. Almost passing out is a different story though.

    Originally Posted by Brackneyc View Post
    I must not be working hard enough. I see post after post of guys talking about working every single set to failure, crawling out of the gym after leg day and puking. I am really doing it wrong.
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  20. #20
    Registered User Payton1221's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ironwill2008 View Post
    But what will be a good indicator is the week-to-week numbers in your training log. Progression is the engine that drives growth/strength increases.
    ^^THIS, and make sure that you HAVE a log.

    Originally Posted by SuperJason View Post
    I think I should have added....'to get maximum results' to the end of my question. I am seeing results, just slowly. I do work until I can't do any more reps/sets and then move on to the next exercise, but after I finish my workout I take a break, then wonder could I have done more, because I feel great...I guess that's just a mental thing.
    Jason, remember this: bodybuilding is a marathon, NOT a sprint. Fastforward 6 months, 2 years, and even 5 years from now (when you'll still be a young pup @ just 44), think about how much change can take place with consistent progression in your lifts which WILL result in positive changes in your growth. Keep at it!
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    Registered User heatwave13's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuperJason View Post
    How do I know if I'm working hard enough? Is it the burn, is it the soreness, or just results?...by what measure do I gauge if I'm pushing myself enough? I try to push hard on all I do, but I never know whether or not I'm really doing as much as my body can handle. That's the simple version of what's on my mind. Thoughts?
    My thought on this is, firstly, how does one measure hard work? Hard Work can take on several different qualities. Is hard work seen when I'm screaming, cursing, grunting, and slinging chalk all over the gym while death-metal music is blaring over the radio? Is hard work noted when I feel totally wasted the day following a tough workout, being so sore that I can barely get out of bed?

    One idea is that I can measure my level of hard work by whether or not I'm making progress in my goal area. For example, I may have a goal to squat 500 lbs. one year from now. I would closely monitor my progress to see if I can successfully and consistently add weight to the bar. Even if it's slow, steady, plodding....as long as I'm getting stronger, adding weight to the total, or being able to do a few more reps than before, then I know that I'm getting stronger and working hard enough to move toward my goal.

    On the other hand, if I'm stalled out or even regressing, I would have to pause, look at the situation and see if I'm not working hard enough or just not working "Smart" enough.
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  22. #22
    Registered User x-trainer ben's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuperJason View Post
    How do I know if I'm working hard enough? Is it the burn, is it the soreness, or just results?...by what measure do I gauge if I'm pushing myself enough? I try to push hard on all I do, but I never know whether or not I'm really doing as much as my body can handle. That's the simple version of what's on my mind. Thoughts?
    Ask yourself, if i had a training partner with me pushing me could i have done 1-3 more reps per set? If the answer is yes, then you left some on the field and you need to push a bit harder or dig a little deeper. The other gauge is that look in the mirror before the morning shower. Both can be very motivational methods.
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  23. #23
    Registered User zedx's Avatar
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    You should feel a soreness in that area. Once you workout for a couple days hard, and more at 3 days in a row hard you should feel run down some. Which will make you feel like you just don't have a 100% to give when the next day comes.

    If you don't feel exhausted and still can give it 100% after 2-3 days in a row you ain't pushing hard enough at each session.

    2-3 in a row - hard days of working out should make you want either a lighter day or smaller muscle day or a day off.

    That's from my weightlifting book.
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  24. #24
    All the way from the UK clive's Avatar
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    I’ve never been a slave to getting the weight higher all the time.
    I think variation and rep ranges can get the muscle growing as well.
    As to knowing if you’re pushing yourself hard enough, do you go to failure and get the DOMs the next day?
    From my experience you’ve got to really go for it and push yourself beyond what you thought you could do, but at the same time listening to your body so you don’t injure yourself, I know that sound contradictory but hopefully that makes sense.
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  25. #25
    Banging it! flat6nut's Avatar
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    What same body part are you working 3 days in a row? Did not quite understand your entire post. Also, doms are not a judge of how good a workout a person has had.


    Originally Posted by zedx View Post
    You should feel a soreness in that area. Once you workout for a couple days hard, and more at 3 days in a row hard you should feel run down some. Which will make you feel like you just don't have a 100% to give when the next day comes.

    If you don't feel exhausted and still can give it 100% after 2-3 days in a row you ain't pushing hard enough at each session.

    2-3 in a row - hard days of working out should make you want either a lighter day or smaller muscle day or a day off.

    That's from my weightlifting book.
    Journal
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=141126481
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  26. #26
    Registered User pathdoc2's Avatar
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    If you are seeing result albeit slow ones, you are on the right path. Time is your friend and in this world (bodybuilding) nothing of value comes quickly. Patience grasshopper.
    How do you know if you're a bodybuilder? Not when you call yourself a bodybuilder. You are a bodybuilder when someone else calls you a bodybuilder!
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  27. #27
    Prognosis Negative Brackneyc's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by flat6nut View Post
    Really? I thought your progress has gone well for you. I do go to controlled failure on every working set. Never puked on legs though. Almost passing out is a different story though.

    I did too, but upon closer inspection, I need to be yakking my guts up and crawling out of the gym. THAT is when hugeness happens.
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  28. #28
    Da1UnV bodyhard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuperJason View Post
    How do I know if I'm working hard enough?
    How could you not know?
    It's difficult to stand out if you're too busy trying to fit in. ~

    GOD IS GOOD.....
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  29. #29
    Registered User gbg's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by OutOfStep View Post
    If you have to ask that question, then you aren't working hard enough.
    Thread/

    Exactly what I was going to say.
    Being a real lifter is not about a number, or a medal, or somebody else telling you that you are a real lifter. It is about commitment to the iron and strength of purpose.
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  30. #30
    Registered User michail71's Avatar
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    Think train smart, not hard. Though that doesn't mean not to train hard either.
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