Fitness and Diet

10 ways to achieve a PR in the gym in 2024

PR is just an abbreviation for Personal Record. Or the most you can lift at the gym, at any point in your life, for a particular exercise. For those who take lifting more seriously, it refers to the best performance or achievement an individual lifter has accomplished in a lift or exercise. Personal records are significant milestones for athletes, they represent new benchmarks or goals that they have achieved in their training and performance.

When a weightlifter sets a new personal record, it signifies that they have surpassed their previous best performance in terms of the amount of weight lifted, the number of reps completed, or any other measurable criteria related to their training and strength development. Personal records are often used as a reference point for progress and improvement in an athlete’s ability and serve as a motivational marker for setting new career goals and targets.

Anyone can have a personal record, whether in a video game, academics, work field, sports career, or fitness journey. You can set a goal for yourself to indicate progress and motivation. 

The key Takeaways 

  • Understanding the world PR in the context of gym and fitness
  • How to achieve a PR in the gym
  • Types of PR in weightlifting 
  • Benefits of PRs in gym workouts 
  • How to set and track your PR
  • PR tips for beginners 
  • PR vs 1RM

How to successfully achieve a PR in the gym (many people don’t know this)

Gym bros setting PR at the gym

Achieving a personal record in the gym requires proper training and a well-structured routine.  Here are the best steps to get you started: 

Set clear goals

Identify specific lifts or exercises you want to use to achieve a PR. Whether you want to increase your one-rep max (1RM) in the squat, bench press, or deadlift or improve your performance in other exercises, having clear goals will help guide your training.

Progressive overload 

Gradually increase your workouts’ intensity, volume, or load to continually challenge your muscles. This principle of progressive overload is essential for strength and muscle gains.

Structured training program 

Find and follow a well-designed training program. These programs include periods of progressive overload and recovery. Programs like linear progression, 5×5, Wendler 5/3/1, or powerlifting-specific programs can help you systematically increase strength and achieve PRs.

Focus on technique 

Prioritize proper exercise technique and form to maximize efficiency, safety, and performance. Practice good lifting forms and seek feedback from knowledgeable trainers or coaches to ensure you’re performing exercises correctly. Poor forms can be dangerous and lead to various injuries, so ensure you do each one properly. 

Train with intensity

Push yourself during workouts by lifting with maximal effort. Focus on each repetition, and challenge yourself to lift heavier weights or perform more reps than before.


Optimize recovery days. Ensure adequate rest, nutrition, hydration, and sleep support recovery and muscle growth. Recovery is crucial for maximizing strength gains and preventing overtraining. Imagine giving your all at the gym daily only to see little difference due to zero rest. Therefore, take that rest day. You deserve it, and your body deserves it.

Warm-up properly 

Obviously, we won’t forget about warmups now, right? Ensure you warm up thoroughly before attempting heavy lifts to prepare your muscles, joints, and nervous system. Don’t just jump into your routine on cold muscles. Incorporate dynamic stretches, mobility exercises, and light exercises to prepare you.

Train at peak times

Plan your training cycles and peak your strength at the right time to attempt PRs. Avoid attempting max lifts too frequently, leading to burnout or injury. Save PR attempts for when you feel strong, rested, and adequately prepared. This is a dope way to stay on top.

Visualize success

Mentally rehearse and visualize yourself successfully completing the lift or exercise you’re aiming to PR in. Visualizing success can help build confidence, focus, and motivation. See it, then be it! 

Stay positive and persistent. 

Nothing is more beautiful than a positive attitude toward yourself and your goals. Building strength and achieving PRs takes time, consistency, and patience. Celebrate progress along the way, stay positive, and stay committed to your goals even when progress is slow. You’ll get there in no time!

Types of PR in weight lifting you can try.

In weightlifting, achieving a personal record, a personal best, or a one-rep max (1RM) is a significant accomplishment. Here are some common types of PRs in weightlifting: 

Squat PR

This refers to achieving a personal best in the squats where a lifter lowers their body as much as possible into a squatting position and then stands back up while supporting a barbell on their shoulders or holding dumbbells or kettlebells.

Bench press

A bench press PR is when a lifter reaches its highest level in the exercise. In this exercise, the lifter lies on a flat bench and presses a barbell upward from the chest to full arm extension. 

Overhead press 

It is also known as the shoulder press or military press. During this exercise, a lifter performs best by pressing a barbell or dumbbell overhead from shoulder height to full arm extension.

Volume PR

While not based on a single maximal lift, a volume PR refers to achieving a personal best in total training volume (sets x reps x weight) for a particular exercise or workout session.

Total PR 

In powerlifting or weightlifting competitions, the total PR refers to achieving a personal best in the combined total weight lifted in the squat, bench press, and deadlift (for powerlifting) or the snatch, clean, and jerk (for weightlifting).

Significance of PRs in gym workouts 

Setting personal records has several benefits in the gym for several reasons:

Measure of progress 

PRs are tangible evidence of progress and improvement in strength, performance, and fitness. Achieving a PR indicates that you have surpassed your previous best performance, demonstrating growth and development in your training. It’s a way of keeping up with how well you’ve been training. 

Motivation and confidence 

Setting and achieving PRs can be highly motivating and empowering. It boosts confidence, instills a sense of accomplishment, and motivates one to continue pushing oneself to new heights in the gym. 

Strength development 

Continually striving for PRs promotes strength development and muscle growth by subjecting your body to progressive overload. Increasing workouts’ intensity, volume, or load over time leads to strength gains.

Sense of accomplishment 

Surpassing a previous best performance brings a sense of achievement and pride. It validates the hard work, dedication, and commitment you’ve put into training and reminds you of what is possible with perseverance and effort. What’s more beautiful than aiming to do better than you did yesterday!

Confidence in technique 

Achieving a PR often requires mastery of proper technique and form in various exercises. Successfully lifting heavier weights or performing more reps shows your proficiency in technique and builds confidence in your ability to perform exercises safely and effectively.

Goal setting and achievement 

Setting PRs keeps things interesting at the gym or even at home, it gives you something to look forward to. It helps create focus, direction, and purpose in workouts, leading to a more structured and goal-oriented training program.

A simple and effective way to set and track PRs in your fitness journey 

It’s quite simple actually. You can set and track your records however you choose to. Other people keep track of their progress in stories or posts on social media, on a ledger, or with their personal trainer. Even the Notes app on your phone will do just fine. Add all important information regarding your last session to try to surpass them the next week.

Overall, PRs play several crucial roles in your fitness journey, including motivation, guidance during progression, and fostering a sense of accomplishment. Whether you’re lifting heavier weights, performing more reps, or achieving new milestones, PRs represent personal growth and achievement throughout your journey. 

The perfect PR tips for beginners 

For beginners in the gym, achieving personal records can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Here are some tips to help you set and achieve PRs safely and effectively:

Focus on technique 

First, you must prioritize learning and mastering proper exercise techniques and forms before attempting heavy lifts. Solid technique minimizes the risk of injury and preps your muscles for future strength gains.

Start light

Begin with lighter weights and gradually increase the intensity or load as you become more comfortable with the exercises. Remember not to rush the journey, there is joy in little beginnings. Building a strong foundation of strength and stability is essential for long-term progress.

Set realistic goals 

Set achievable and realistic PR goals based on your fitness level, experience, and abilities. Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable milestones to track your progress and stay motivated. 

Progress gradually 

Gradually increase your workouts’ intensity, volume, or load over time. Aim for small improvements rather than making huge leaps in strength too quickly.

Track your progress 

Keep a training log or journal to record your workouts, exercises, sets, reps, and weights lifted. Tracking your progress allows you to identify patterns, monitor improvements, and adjust your training accordingly.


Prioritize recovery by giving yourself time to rest and recover between workouts to allow your muscles to repair and grow stronger. Overtraining can hinder progress and increase your risk of injury, so please listen to your body and make sure you recover. 

Warm-up properly 

A lot of people don’t always warm up before they start exercising. Warm-ups are super duper important to prepare your muscles, joints, and nervous system for the demands of the workout. These warm-up exercises, including mobility exercises, dynamic stretches, and light sets of the exercise you’ll be doing can help. 

Seek guidance 

Consider working with a qualified personal trainer or strength coach, especially when starting. A knowledgeable trainer can help you with things like form, program design, and progression. They will also offer support and motivation, just what a beginner needs. However, if you don’t want to have a trainer, that’s totally fine. Not everyone who gyms or trains has a trainer; it’s just to educate you on the benefits of a trainer. 

Stay consistent 

Sure, you’ve heard the phrase “consistency is key.” It is definitely key to achieving PRs in the gym. Stay committed to your training program, exercise regularly, be patient with yourself as you go, and see how things unfold. Keep pushing it, and don’t stop, and watch things get better.

Celebrate every win

You have to celebrate every accomplishment along the way, no matter how small. Each PR, no matter how little, represents progress and growth in your fitness journey. Every stage deserves to be celebrated, and you should never undermine each point you reach. Always be proud of how far you’ve come and look forward to how much further you’ll go! 

Moreover, remember that everyone progresses at their own pace, so don’t compare yourself to others. You’re you, and you’re your greatest achievement. Focus on your journey, stay positive, and celebrate the progress you make along the way. With dedication, perseverance, and smart training, you’ll continue to set and achieve new gym PRs. Continue to root for yourself and be your biggest fan. 

PR vs 1RM 

Okay, let’s talk about PR and 1RM. Let’s finally understand the difference between these two things. 

One, A PR or personal record, refers to the best performance you have achieved in a particular exercise or lift. This can include lifting the heaviest weight for a certain number of reps, completing a certain number of reps with a given weight, or achieving any other personal best in strength, endurance, or performance. It can also be used outside of fitness; it’s just a way a person can keep track of anything they’re working on.

Now, let’s talk about 1RM. The 1RM, or one-repetition maximum, specifically refers to the maximum amount of weight a person can lift for a single repetition of a given exercise with proper technique. A 1RM is your personal weightlifting record for a squat, deadlift, or other exercise. It is often used as a measure of absolute strength and is commonly used in strength training programs to prescribe training loads and track progress over time. 

Unto what actually makes them different.

 Both PRs and 1RMs represent significant achievements in weightlifting and strength training. While the two are closely related terms, they refer to slightly different concepts. PRs can encompass any personal best performance in a given exercise, while 1RMs specifically refer to the maximum weight lifted for a single repetition. 

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Frequently asked questions 

Is there a difference between muscle strength and muscle growth?

Yes, there is a difference. Strength training helps to strengthen muscles, and muscle building/ bodybuilding aims to make muscles appear larger. Although larger muscles and overall physical size may provide some strength advantages, both training programs differ and depend on what you want to get out of your training, i.e., muscle size or strength.

What does volume mean in weight training?

In weight training, volume describes how much work you do per session. Common methods of measuring training volume include counting the number of reps and sets before you tire out. The greater the volume, the larger the increase in muscle fibers, leading to increased muscle growth. If your training volume is too low, your body won’t adapt or grow; if it is too high, you risk overtraining and becoming injured. So make sure you balance your training. 

How many reps are needed for muscle growth?

To get the most out of your gym results, you must understand which specific rep ranges will best help you achieve your goals. Progressive overload is necessary for muscle growth; it involves continually increasing the work on your muscles. In order to get bigger and stronger, you must ensure your muscles work harder than they are used to. Generally, 6-12 reps for 3-6 sets will help build overall muscle size.

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