Measuring the benefits of weight lifting

I’ve added some serious free-weights to my training this winter, and I have a question about how best to track my overall progress.

Obviously being able to lift more weight is a data point, and the overall volume of weight lifted per session is another, but I’m wondering if there’s a way to quantify the positive fitness benefits since aerobic fitness only measures Power/HR data.


In weight training, I’ve always considered recovery time as a metric. When I’ve been on a particular schedule for a certain amount of time - all else being equal - how quickly am I recovering, how much muscle fatigue/pain (lactic acid buildup) am I accumulating compared to previously?

Subjective, but I’ve found recovery an informative data point.

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That makes sense–it’s sort of an RPE metric. I use a Garmin watch with rest time built into the sets, so I can sort of monitor how my body is reacting (i.e. am I ready to go after 2 min instead of 3 min).

I meant day-to-day, but that’s an interesting twist as well!

Very RPE, but I can also quantify daily recovery by monitoring resting HR and HR variability over time.

HI @Michael_Robertson ! As an endurance athlete it seems that there are many more metrics to evaluate your performance… for weight training, what was your goal when you started? Strength, strength-endurance, power on the bike…?


I’ve gotten into gravel racing and found that I’m struggling with cramps towards the end of events. I have a solid hydration regimen, so my theory is that I don’t have enough muscle fibers developed to tolerate the load over longer distances (>50 miles).

Goals are:
Overall strength upper and lower body
Core strength/stability
Increased power @ ftp
Increased endurance

I’m following a plan from Ed Burke’s book “Off Season Training for Cyclists” which is somewhat dated but the periodized weight training program fits with my goals.


@Michael_Robertson Awesome! Since your goals are focused on strength- then a simple metric would simply be the amount of weight you are able to life for a specified amount of reps.

As for cramps… do you follow a stretching program for your low back, hamstring, and calf muscles?

Thanks Jinger–Yes, I’m a consistent Abi Carver yoga devotee, and I follow almost 100% of my workouts with her “Hips & Hamstrings” routine which has helped quite a bit. At 52 yo I’m not as limber as I used to be, but I recognize how important stretching is for injury prevention and better performance. I’m trying to also increase core strength/stability both through her yoga workouts and through more traditional ab routines (my lower back does get sore on long, hard efforts).

Appreciate your feedback!

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Interestingly, the cramps are often in my quads, which is in part what leads me to believe is a muscle mass/muscular endurance issue and not hydration/stretching.

Interesting! Where specifically in the quad? Or is it more global?

Typically the outer quad, and almost always on hills, but it’s been more generalized in certain events. Sometimes I can focus on using my glutes and hamstrings to prevent locking up completely…

OK- makes send that it is on hills… vastus lateralis is the primary knee extensor for everything up… hills and stairs.

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