Training: Track your Numbers!

Blog Content:

  1. Telos Group Class: Conjugate Training Method

  2. Max Effort vs. Dynamic Effort

  3. Recording your Numbers

  4. Progress Over Time

  5. Telos Training Log Notebooks

Telos Group Class: Conjugate Training Method

At Telos, we focus on providing the best strength and conditioning workouts to our members. Our goal is to build the strongest and healthiest group of members, in a safe and effective manner. Every week, we program using the conjugate training method which is as follows:

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the conjugate training method, it is a well known training program that was popularized by Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell gym in Columbus, Ohio (if you’re curious, check out the Netflix documentary on Westside Barbell. It’s called “Westside vs The World…and it’s intense!) In this training program there is a focus on providing a variety of movements and exercises, and rotates between max effort and dynamic effort days. Essentially, you utilize the same movement pattern over and over, but there is variety on how you train that pattern. For example, every Friday we do an upper body max effort (1 rep max, 3 rep max, or 5 rep max) but we mix up the exercises between flat bench, incline bench, decline bench, overhead press, close grip bench, neutral grip bench, and wide grip bench. 

Max Effort vs. Dynamic Effort

The conjugate training method rotates between max effort and dynamic effort days. Max effort days are the “rep maxes” where the focus is lifting heavy and building strength. The dynamic effort days require you to use a load that is less than your one-rep max for maximum speed, thus focusing on speed and power! As a result, you are building your strength by stimulating your muscles to extremely heavy loads while also conditioning your body using lower loads but at faster paces and higher volumes. 

Recording your Numbers

If you have been to any Telos class, we emphasize tracking the “numbers”. It is imperative that you track your rep maxes and weights used in order to track and measure your progression, or identify any sticking points! These numbers can be written down in notebooks, excel spreadsheets, or certain fitness apps. Personally, I prefer notebooks but that is just a preference. Beyond your weights for the rep maxes, you should consider recording your sleep, water intake, “rate your workout”, and times of completion of the conditioning pieces. 

Tracking numbers provides you with more data, and will allow you to track your performance. Questions you should ask yourself based on your data:

  • Am I seeing progress?

  • Have I reached a plateau? 

  • Is my lack of sleep affecting my performance?

  • What is my current weight for squat/bench/deadlift now versus when I started?

  • Is there a positive or negative trend?

  • How have I been feeling during the workouts? Have I been feeling ready or exhausted?

  • Am I fatigued and should I add in an active recovery session/week to allow my body to recover?

I look at my own data and my personal training clients’ data weekly. This allows me to assess progress, see if the program is working, analyze the data, and change anything that needs to be changed in order to surpass any sticking points. 

For reference, below are the tracking methods I use for my own training, which includes an excel sheet that tracks my CrossFit skill training (morning workouts) and my notebook that tracks my conjugate training/strength training (afternoon workouts): 


When I first started working out and lifting weights, I NEVER tracked, and it wasn’t until a year into my training regimen that I realized I was benching the same weight every week and that my pull-ups were stagnant. I did some research on good ol’ Google and developed a strategy. I started tracking every workout in a notebook and placed focus on my performance and numbers, and within a year all of my numbers increased. I wasn’t just going through the motions, instead I was actively pushing myself and making myself aware of where I needed to put more effort in. 

Progress Over Time

Progress is NOT linear. It is very unlikely that you will be increasing your weights and rep maxes every week. Eventually, as you become more experienced, your rate of progress will slow down and your program’s complexity will need to increase. This is because you are reaching your “genetic limit”, as seen below in the graph. If we were capable of linearly progressing every week, we’d be benching thousands of pounds…which is pretty cool, and I wish that was the case. 

As a beginner, your program does not need to be super fancy. All you need is consistency and a well-rounded program with core compound movements like bench, deadlift, and squats. As an advanced athlete, you will need to adjust your program to great detail in order to gain competitive advantage and to break plateaus. This is why recording is so important, it allows you to make this assessment. Below is a graph that shows progress over time, and as you can see, that rate of progress slows down once you enter the intermediate range. However, you can still go up and improve if you’re collecting data and making smart decisions with your training. 


Telos Training Log Notebooks

We want you to continue getting better and to take the training seriously, which is why we are looking into designing custom Telos Training Log Notebooks 😉 Stay tuned for the announcement. 

Lastly, I suggest checking out Shaun’s article from October 2020, it’s a short blog with super great perspective and valuable lessons about training: Lessons From a Spiral Notebook