Skip to Content

What Is a “PR” In The Gym?

What Is a “PR” In The Gym?

Hitting the gym is all about setting fitness goals and following through with them, which is why you will often hear personal trainers referencing their “PR.” But just what is a “PR?”

A “PR” in the gym refers to your “personal record.” PR is the maximum amount of weight you can lift, the highest number of reps you can handle, or your best time for a fitness activity. Trainers, weight lifters, and athletes use their PR to improve their performance and track their fitness progress.

Although PR is most commonly referenced in weight lifting, it can be used for any fitness activity.

Why Is a PR Important?

Your PR is an important part of your physical training. Each person who goes to the gym has specific goals they want to achieve, and tracking your PR is a great way to benchmark your progress.

Whether you want to build muscle mass, lose weight, or boost endurance, utilizing your PR as a stepping stone towards more progress can help you exponentially.

Different Types of PR

It’s important to understand that PR is a broad term in the gym, as it can apply to virtually any fitness activity. Since PR is your personal record, you can use it for any kind of physical fitness to improve your health and performance. These are some of the most common types of PR.


One of the most common ways to use PR is in bodybuilding. Getting gains is all about setting new records and breaking them, which is exactly where tracking PR comes into play.

Bodybuilders who want to see consistent results steadily improve their PR over time by lifting more weight. Although PR can be applied to virtually any kind of bodybuilding activity, these tend to be some of the most common exercises:

  • Benchpress
  • Squats
  • Deadlift

Bodybuilders will use PR to improve either the amount of weight they can lift or the number of repetitions they can handle for a specific exercise. For example, adding 5 lbs or one rep to an exercise routine is a great way to improve your PR.

Weight Loss

Although much of weight loss has to do with diet and nutrition, routine exercise in the gym is equally as important. That said, simply going to the gym does not necessarily imply that you will see the results you want.

It is easy to say that you have been to the gym and are on your path to losing weight because you spent an hour walking on the treadmill without breaking a sweat. In reality, seeing progress with weight loss requires constantly pushing your fitness goals by improving your PR over time.

If losing weight is your primary goal, cardio will be the best activity for burning calories and fat. Improving your PR with cardio allows you to see results faster and more efficiently. You can track PR by improving the amount of time it takes you to run a mile or the number of calories burned in a certain amount of time.

Endurance Training

Endurance Training

A lot of athletes are focused on improving their endurance. Like weight loss, cardio is the key exercise to track your PR with, but there will likely be less focus on counting calories. This would include setting PR goals in the following areas:

  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Cycling

Endurance athletes often train for competitions and look for any edge they can get. Shaving off a few seconds on your best mile time or setting a new track record is a great way to improve your PR.

Although PR in the gym would imply setting new personal records on cardio machines, many athletes use this in training outside of the gym. Crossfit trainers, outdoor runners, and cyclists all use PR to become better athletes.

How to Determine Your PR

Determining your PR needs to be approached carefully. Given that this involves pushing your body to its limits, you must determine your PR with safety in mind.

Much like with any type of physical exercise, the first thing that you should always do before testing your PR is a warm-up. After you stretch, you should also have a spotter for support – especially if you are weightlifting.

You can then set a reasonable record that you want to hit based on your current physical strength and endurance.

Choose a safe amount of weight or distance to cover for the exercise to determine your PR and track your results.

How to Improve Your PR in the Gym

PR is a critical component of staying fit and exercising, regardless of why you go to the gym. That is why constantly striving to improve your PR is essential if you want to see results in the long run. You can improve your PR in the gym by using the following methods:

  • Set a fitness goal
  • Record your progress
  • Exercise consistently
  • Diversify your fitness routine
  • Hire a personal trainer

By using all or some of the above methods, you can drastically increase your progress in the gym and reach your goals. If you are having a hard time improving your PR on your own, consider hiring a personal trainer to help get you closer to your goals.

Conclusion to Your PR at the Gym

A PR in the gym is your personal record for an exercise, which can be measured in weight, repetitions, or time.

PR can be used for any kind of physical activity with the most common being weight lifting, weight loss, and endurance training.

You can improve your PR by setting fitness goals, recording progress, exercising routinely, diversifying your fitness routine, and/or hiring a personal trainer.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.