Shorthand Log

Implementing Varying Workloads

This workout log system uses the same abbreviated style as the basic shorthand log. Like the basic shorthand log, a new resistance is recorded only when a particular number of repetitions has been achieved. If entered in a table, columns represent weight increases, not successive workout dates as in a traditional workout log. However, columns are not necessarily required, since subsequent weight increases can simply be recorded immediately after the old workout weight, in a series all in one line below the respective exercise (as illustrated below).

Implementing more advanced program with varying workloads (AKA: Daily Undulating Periodization or Variable Resistance Training) using a shorthand log does not necessarily require additional entries as long as calculations can easily be calculated in your head. For example, warmup weights can be figured by calculating 50% of workout resistances and light and heavy loads, as well as weight progressions, are all calculated by variations of approximately 5%. Like the basic shorthand log, only recording weight increases dramatically reduces writing and needless sifting through countless past log entries as compared to traditional workout log recording techniques.

Loads & Progressions

Simply record only one weight (base weight) for each exercise, a weight that allows between 8-9 reps, for example. See suggested methods of identifying initial resistances.

  • Warmup set
    • Use 50% of workout resistance
    • 12 to 15 reps
  • Workout set(s)
    • Moderate day(s)
      • use base resistance
    • Light day(s)
      • use ~5% lighter than base resistance with optional additional set
      • optional additional set with possibly slightly less rest between sets
    • Optional rest day
    • Heavy Day(s)
      • use ~5% heavier than base resistance
      • optional slightly longer rest between sets
    • Repeat cycle


Record new base workout weight approximately ~5% greater to right of previous base weight, only if one of the following achievements are met on any workout set using acceptable exercise form:

Sample Triple Load Progression

  • Light day: increase if 12 reps
  • Moderate day: increase if 10 reps
  • Heavy day: increase if 8 reps

This way, a progression can potentially be made every workout, regardless if you are assigned to a workout using light, moderate, or heavy workloads.

When you are still attempting to identify the proper workout resistance, or in cases where you are making rapid progress, you may find you can perform reps beyond these sample guidelines. In this case, you can increase your base weight accordingly. For example on heavy day, say for some reason you end up performing 10 reps in good form. In which case, a weight increase of 10% (instead of a ~5% at 8 reps) would likely be a more appropriate weight increase. Also see Merit Based Progression Method.

Combating Stagnant Progress

Consider the following techniques, if strength increases are not achieved on a particular exercise or on a number of exercises within a workout for a period of several workouts:

  • Rest longer between sets, particularly on heavy day
  • On heavy day, increase resistance in a smaller increment if possible (AKA: micro loading)
    • See Magnetic Micro Weights and Weight Stack Adaptor
  • Take an additional day of rest
    • especially before heavy day(s), or
    • directly proceeding a particular exercise routine in which stagnant progress has been observed for a period of time.
  • If following a low carbohydrate diet, consider increasing carbohydrates slightly, particularly immediately following a workout (see rationale).
  • Change program to less familiar exercises, yet still continue to favor basic exercises.

Calculating Actual Resistances

Notice although a workout weight is recorded, percentages (used to calculate warmups, light and heavy days, and weight increases) are actually based off of actual workout resistances and not necessarily only the workout weight. See explanations of examples provided in Basic Shorthand log and Calculating Actual Resistance. Alternatively, the Workload Adjustment Calculator can automatically calculate all of these figures.

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