I am curious to see how those on here with bodybuilding goals track their progress?
It is obviously quite easy to track powerlifting or strength progress - you either lift a weight or you do not. For bodybuilding it can be a bit more complicated since some people look to build lean mass, some focus on body composition, and others focus on specific bodyparts.
Personally I have never taken regular bodypart measurements and have usually just gone by how I look in the mirror, but I know that can be deceptive at times.
So, what does everyone use? Tape measure? Calipers? Scale? Mirror?
When I was bodybuilding I would use a tape measure every once in a while, but the mirror is your best friend. Calipers are great to see where you're at bodyfat-wise, but once you get used to readings and if you pay attention to the mirror, you don't even need calipers anymore to tell where you're at.
I look in the mirror several times a day but that's just cos i'm Mr Vain
Last edited by DavyRen; 12-01-2009 at 12:43 PM.
Height 6ft 1"
Current Weight 200lbs
200lbs @ 10%bf
With a little from:
Advice from WBB members
Originally Posted by Built
I just focus on the scale. If my weight goes up, I'm happy. Maybe sometime in the future I'll focus on more specific goals, but for now I'm good.
ain't nuttin but a peanut.
You will have gotten stronger when the weight that feels heavy is actually heavier than the weight that feels heavy now. Then the weight that feels heavy now will be a warmup for the weight that feels heavy then. But the weight will always feel heavy or you're not lifting enough weight. Clear? -Rippetoe
Recently I have thought about including more hypertrophy work and am not sure how I should track if what I am doing is effective. Obviously I do not want to try to gain a ton of weight (and probably would have a tough time doing so) but am not sure if the mirror, calipers, or tape measure will provide a better guide for me. Perhaps a combination would be best.
When I lifted for bbing, I used all 3 to see how I was doing. When my weight went up and my bf stayed the same, the measurements got bigger.
Give chalk a chance.
49 years old
I've been in the BB game for a while and I find a combination of 'all of the above' (below lol) as it were...
Key measurements - Waist size, Thigh/Legs, Calfs, Biceps, Forearms, Shoulders, Chest, Neck. I also like to ask a pretty girl to help me out with this bit
Weight and Bodyfat - Use these in conjunction. Measure weight with a scale, same time once per week, under the same cirumstance.
Bodyfat - Calipers are ok, as long as you are accurate with them, but excess skin can throw this measurment. Electrical impedence machines hand held or with probes are Ok but can be out by as much as 1-2%. The key with the electronic devices is the same as the scale. Use the same device, at the same time each week or month, under the same conditions. On an empty stomach upon waking is fine, but whatever you do, next time make sure the conditions are the same. Take 3 readings each time and take the average or middle value.
The mirror - Your best friend and worst enemy. Losing bodyfat can make muscles appear more defined and therefore bigger even if the tape measure says its smaller, but the same is true in reverse. Take photos for reference once a month or every two months, again under the same conditions.
That's my advice anyway, might be wrong but works for me.
PM me mate if you need any more BBin advice! I have big respect for the big powerlifters i've seen how hard they train!
I use the scale and the mirror. The mirror can be really deceiving sometimes but it can be good for gauging progress. Haven't ever been a fan of measurements. I've measured my arms maybe 3 times in the past 2 years and that's it.
6' 1.... 211lbs.
Bench: 275lbs x 1
Deadlift: 385lbs x 1
Squat: ??? (not enough)
Goal by the end of May 2010... Weigh 225lbs.
Journal: The Obligation... Become a F***** Beast
Pictures. Pictures never lie imo. Scale doesn't always reflect what you are doing. You can stay the same weight but have more muscle and less fat than a previous weigh in.
I think this is possibly the all-time best response on WBB. - Jorge Sanchez
"you're an animal eat like one damn it!" - Wikked1
"Now we're finally getting to the chicken or the egg question," I grinned. "Did I eat all that food because my size gives me more of an appetite, or did I get to be this big because I've been forcing myself to eat like this for years?"
From A Body Builder is Born
i knew you were a beast but not that kinda of a beast that eats grown men and children.. lilmase
Mirror lies! Lately I have just been focusing on lift numbers but I still have bodybuilding goals like getting my LBM to a certain point, don't have an effective way to measure this right now, but one day when My muscle mass is enough I will want to get back down to a more lean bf% as well, but after I do some more growing and recomping and most especially keep getting stronger.
Best lifts: 615/475/660, Raw w/ Wraps
I use a combination of things.
Most importantly progress pictures, hitting the same poses, in the same lighting, under the same conditions (pumped vs flat, carbed vs depleted, etc)
Mirror, gives me a good idea of where I am at but with nothing to compare to its easy to let your mind play tricks on you. (we can be our own worst critics sometimes)
Key measurements, as stated above.....waist, chest, arm, hips, quad are all good to track. If your waist is growing and the rest are staying the same......re-assess diet.
Bodyfat......although the only real way to measure BF% is to dissect someone, its pretty easy to estimate BF% from pictures esp when you are fairly lean (which is relative) Calipers and electronic devices can be off by as much as 5-10% and even DEXA scanning and bodpod can be off by 2-4%.
I usually use the scale and try to gain about .5 to 1 lbs per week, also i know if my weight is slowly going up and i am getting stronger that i must be gaining a little muscle, also i look into the mirror as well.
height: 6' weight offseason 220lbs bodybuilding: 10 years
IFPA CAPE COD 3rd place heavy
IFPA YORTON CUP 2nd place heavy
NPC ElITE CLASSIC 1st heavy (overall Winner)
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