Progress is what we are really after, right? That’s why we are exercising and eating healthy. To get better at something.
But progress needs to be earned and you do so by paying attention to a few different things. Improved form, more reps, more weight, more speed, and workout density. Improving any one of these things means you are moving in the right direction.
Form. Beginners should place more emphasis on improving form as the first level of progression. Strive to improve technique and control of a weight through a full range of motion. The weight used should still be challenging but the focus shouldn’t be on adding load until the form is dialed in.
Weight. After form is set putting more focus on adding weight will lead to the most strength gain. Over the course of weeks, months, and years (yeah, it takes a long time) try to steadily increase the amount of weight you are able to lift. Don’t rush it, there’s no need to force weights you aren’t ready for. But work hard.
Reps. If you can lift the same weight for more reps than you used to, you have gotten stronger. This is another great way to tangibly notice you are improving.
Speed. Sometimes a certain weight is a real grinder to get up. If you can move that weight with more speed you have gotten stronger.
Density. If you can finish the same amount of work in a shorter time, or more work in the same amount of time, you have gotten more fit. This might mean you are stronger too. Try removing some some of the rest period during your workout while doing the same number of reps and sets to improve the training density.
There are a bunch of ways to progress in your workouts. Each one takes a lot of hard work though. Take note of what you do in each workout. Write it down and improve upon that performance next time. Progress.