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Auto-Regulation

Auto-regulation

How do you guys regulate your workouts? How do you decide what you will do on any given day? Do you have certain protocols that you go through to determine exercise selection, workload, etc? What do you do if today isn’t your day? Do you push through or do you auto-regulate?

*This isn’t intended to be a question, just my attempt at a discussion.

I have a routine that I try to more or less follow. It’s all nice and printed in Excel with OCD formatting and perfectly creased folds. Nothing too fancy about it; it’s just based around how I recover and what exercises work for me.

But, I don’t worship the thing. If I show up and the seated BB press is take, I’ll hit up the Smith. If the Smith is ocupado, I’ll use dumbbells instead. If the seats are all taken, I’ll do some standing OHP. et cetera. If I’m supposed to start with barbell squats and the racks are taken, I’ll jump down to hack squats and then hit up the squats when the racks free up.

If the weights feel heavy that day, I’ll drop and go for a pump. If I still have energy after hitting a certain body part, I’ll fuck around with different exercises and reps I don’t normally do to see what works. Or, maybe I’ll just extend each exercise.

Basically, I have my currently “ideal” routine ready to roll (exercises typically stay the same, but rep ranges and exercise order vary periodically to accommodate consistent progression), but I try not to get butt hurt and give up if I can’t follow everything to the letter. And I’m open to extending the workout as spontaneously as my energy allows.

I think most people who DO quit early because of that sorta thing are either clinically OCD or are just looking, whether they realize it or not, for an excuse to not work up a sweat that day. They might disguise it as a valid reason (i.e., excuse), but at the end of the day they still gave up.

I try to beat the log book when I can, but I’m not a slave to mechanical load. Just because I’m too tired to increase a lift by X poundage or Y reps doesn’t mean the workout/exercise is a waste. As long as I get in there, bust my ass to the greatest extend possible and get some decent nutrition, results will come. Success isn’t built with any single rep or session, but through their aggregate effects over the long haul. Even if I’m “just not feeling it,” the mental discipline of handling my business despite feeling crappy pays dividends.

But, obviously, there’s still a lot to be said about manual regulation, as well.

I know what I want to get done for my session tonight. If I get there and I’m totally drained I may switch from a heavy training approach to a light and pump day or maybe take the day off completely. On the other hand I’ve planned on doing light weight/high reps and just felt the need to go in the 5 rep range or test my max.

So, after you have put a good amount of work in the gym you will know what to do. It’s never smart imo to train balls to the walls even if you’re gasp overtrained or just don’t have it. Save your efforts for a day where you can go all out.

It’s great to have a detailed plan, but you gotta listen to your body and know when to switch things up.

Personally I like to plan ahead what body part I want to do and have an idea for what lifts but from there I just have to see how I feel when I get there…

[quote]anonym wrote:
I have a routine that I try to more or less follow. It’s all nice and printed in Excel with OCD formatting and perfectly creased folds. Nothing too fancy about it; it’s just based around how I recover and what exercises work for me.

But, I don’t worship the thing. If I show up and the seated BB press is take, I’ll hit up the Smith. If the Smith is ocupado, I’ll use dumbbells instead. If the seats are all taken, I’ll do some standing OHP. et cetera. If I’m supposed to start with barbell squats and the racks are taken, I’ll jump down to hack squats and then hit up the squats when the racks free up.

If the weights feel heavy that day, I’ll drop and go for a pump. If I still have energy after hitting a certain body part, I’ll fuck around with different exercises and reps I don’t normally do to see what works. Or, maybe I’ll just extend each exercise.

Basically, I have my currently “ideal” routine ready to roll (exercises typically stay the same, but rep ranges and exercise order vary periodically to accommodate consistent progression), but I try not to get butt hurt and give up if I can’t follow everything to the letter. And I’m open to extending the workout as spontaneously as my energy allows.

I think most people who DO quit early because of that sorta thing are either clinically OCD or are just looking, whether they realize it or not, for an excuse to not work up a sweat that day. They might disguise it as a valid reason (i.e., excuse), but at the end of the day they still gave up.

I try to beat the log book when I can, but I’m not a slave to mechanical load. Just because I’m too tired to increase a lift by X poundage or Y reps doesn’t mean the workout/exercise is a waste. As long as I get in there, bust my ass to the greatest extend possible and get some decent nutrition, results will come. Success isn’t built with any single rep or session, but through their aggregate effects over the long haul. Even if I’m “just not feeling it,” the mental discipline of handling my business despite feeling crappy pays dividends.[/quote]

pretty much exactly the way I work too.

Interesting. I use to be VERY OCD with my training, always having a detailed plan for weeks at a time. Lately I have thrown all that out the window and train strictly on a day-to-day basis. It seems to be working.

I start out my workouts with a test exercise. Usually a squat variation. I’ll then do mobility/activation based on how my test went and then re-test.

Example:
OH Squat test - 45x10 - hips are tight, shoulders are tight, glutes aren’t activated
Bulgarian Split Squat Stretch - 3x10s each side
Glute Bridges/Reverse Crunches - 2x20 each
Band Pull-aparts/Band Dislocations - 2x10 each
OH Squat re-test - 45x10 - if in any rare case I am not warmed up, I’ll do more mob/activation and then retest again. So far this has not happened

Takes about 15-20 minutes and it tells me everything I need to know.

From there my workout is entirely unplanned. I do what I feel needs to be done. The only constant is a barbell and explosive reps. I naturally gravitate towards power cleans, clean high pulls, overhead pressing variations. I like heavy singles, doubles, and triples. I rarely go above 3 reps unless I am doing some of CT’s HDL work.

Like I said, I’m generally OCD with my training but it started hurting my progress so I did a complete 180 and now train on a whim. It’s much less stressful and I believe that I am at an experience level where I can completely auto-regulate and see great progress.

5/3/1 lays it all out…pure simplicity.

If I am feeling tired I just hit my main numbers, get the required assistance work and bug out.

If I am feeling frisky then you go for rep PR’s and hit the conditioning hard.

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
pretty much exactly the way I work too.[/quote]

We’re like two peas in a pod.

[quote]howie424 wrote:
How do you guys regulate your workouts? How do you decide what you will do on any given day? Do you have certain protocols that you go through to determine exercise selection, workload, etc? What do you do if today isn’t your day? Do you push through or do you auto-regulate?[/quote]
I walk into the gym with the exercises, sets, and reps (or really, rep range) already written down. I play the exact weights by ear, evaluating on a set by set basis. Based on things like energy, general recovery, and focus, my strength might be up or down compared to “the usual”, but as long as I perform well within the target rep range for the planned number of sets, it’s considered a good session.

If I have to adjust anything else (exercise substitution, leaving the gym earlier than planned, etc.), I simply make the smartest possible choices. This comes from experience, so it’s harder for a beginner to know what can/can’t be compromised.

Also, I wrote about my take on autoregulation in a thread a while back, so forgive the giant copy/paste, but I think it’s relevant here too:


When I write a program and recommend a rep range, I literally mean for all work sets to be within that range. So if I write 4x4-6, I’m expecting you to sort of “autoregulate” and use whatever weight you can handle for at least 4 good reps and no more than 6. Preferably without hitting muscular failure or grinding/barely getting any of those reps. The last set of an exercise is usually the only exception, where I can see it being fine to grind the last rep and end that lift on a high note, though I’d still avoid hitting failure or failing mid-rep.

Every rep should have solid form and feel solid. That’s probably, but not necessarily, going to mean you’ll adjust the weight used each set based on how you just performed and how you’re feeling.

As an example, here’s how I’ve been working my dumbbell shoulder press. My plan calls for 4x2-4.
3 Sessions Ago
60x4 -Every rep felt smooth, I could’ve squeezed out one more good rep before form got ugly, so I bumped up the weight.
65x3 - Felt good and solid. Stayed in the target rep range, so kept the weight.
65x2 - Glad I got at least two and hit my “minimum”, but it shouldn’t have been this hard. I made sure to rest a little bit longer, then attacked it again.
65x3 - Suck it, 65’ers.

2 Sessions Ago
65x3 - Based on the last workout’s last set, I should be good for 3, but a 4th would be gravy.
65x3 - Felt fine, still in target range. Continue.
65x3 - Same as last set. Felt good, carry on.
65x2 +1 push press - First rep felt good, second hit me hard for some reason. I got dumb and greedy and intentionally “cheated” an extra rep with leg drive.

Most Recent Session
65x4 - Mildly pissed about last session’s last set. Want to make a statement to myself, and I did. Yay me.
65x3 - Hit the top end of my rep range last set, but I don’t feel confident at this weight and know 70 would be a big struggle. Kept weight the same.
65x3 - Reps felt smooth. Maintain.
65x3 - End of a good session. I’ll likely go for 70 on the second or third set of the next workout, depending on how I feel.


(Hope that explains how my head works.)

Thanks for all of the contribution fellas.

What signs do you look for to determine what kind of workout you are going to have? Are these signs always accurate?

[quote]anonym wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
pretty much exactly the way I work too.[/quote]

We’re like two peas in a pod.[/quote]

it’s business time

[quote]rds63799 wrote:

[quote]anonym wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
pretty much exactly the way I work too.[/quote]

We’re like two peas in a pod.[/quote]

it’s business time[/quote]

Speaking of business, are you still at that shop in gt western road?

Right now, I’m following a planned volume. The better I feel the more intensity I’ll add.

[quote]howie424 wrote:
What signs do you look for to determine what kind of workout you are going to have? Are these signs always accurate? [/quote]
The first exercise of my general warm-up is the overhead reverse lunge and twist with both arms overhead for 1x8-10 per side:

I also do some one-arm and one-leg plank variations. If my balance is off with any of those (wobbling, swaying side to side, etc.), then I know my head’s not right and I’m not mentally ready to train yet. I’ll keep going with the rest of my warm-up but I’ll concentrate on being more “in the moment” and conscious of what I’m doing.

That’s really the only thing I’ve noticed to be a pretty reliable indicator of whether or not I’m ready to train.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]howie424 wrote:
What signs do you look for to determine what kind of workout you are going to have? Are these signs always accurate? [/quote]
The first exercise of my general warm-up is the overhead reverse lunge and twist with both arms overhead for 1x8-10 per side:

I also do some one-arm and one-leg plank variations. If my balance is off with any of those (wobbling, swaying side to side, etc.), then I know my head’s not right and I’m not mentally ready to train yet. I’ll keep going with the rest of my warm-up but I’ll concentrate on being more “in the moment” and conscious of what I’m doing.

That’s really the only thing I’ve noticed to be a pretty reliable indicator of whether or not I’m ready to train.[/quote]

That’s somewhat similar to what I do. I find that band pull-aparts are great for testing how well I will do based on my grip and the type of contraction I get. I also like doing hollow body to test overall strength.

[quote]ChongLordUno wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:

[quote]anonym wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
pretty much exactly the way I work too.[/quote]

We’re like two peas in a pod.[/quote]

it’s business time[/quote]

Speaking of business, are you still at that shop in gt western road? [/quote]

yeah mate, I’m there kinda random days but always in on Sundays for sure. Stop by for some T-member discounts

[quote]rds63799 wrote:

[quote]ChongLordUno wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:

[quote]anonym wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
pretty much exactly the way I work too.[/quote]

We’re like two peas in a pod.[/quote]

it’s business time[/quote]

Speaking of business, are you still at that shop in gt western road? [/quote]

yeah mate, I’m there kinda random days but always in on Sundays for sure. Stop by for some T-member discounts[/quote]

Nice one dude. I’m working at the rugby sevens this weekend however will be looking to fire down the Sunday after.

If you’re around, we can talk shop!

[quote]ChongLordUno wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:

[quote]ChongLordUno wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:

[quote]anonym wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
pretty much exactly the way I work too.[/quote]

We’re like two peas in a pod.[/quote]

it’s business time[/quote]

Speaking of business, are you still at that shop in gt western road? [/quote]

yeah mate, I’m there kinda random days but always in on Sundays for sure. Stop by for some T-member discounts[/quote]

Nice one dude. I’m working at the rugby sevens this weekend however will be looking to fire down the Sunday after.

If you’re around, we can talk shop!

[/quote]

cool man, if you come down on a Sunday I’ll definitely be there. I’m the guy with the beard.

I have been using Auto Regulation type training for the past 14 weeks (Mike Turscherer’s RTS Training) I am a big fan. The idea of perceived exertion on a given day has helped me progress faster than other styles.