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Thread: Autoregulation/strength by feel?

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    Autoregulation/strength by feel?

    I've been looking to expand my knowledge on alternatives to strict percent based programming for WL. For my whole powerlifting career I found success in utilizing tools like RPE based training, mixing proximity to failure with percentages, and so on. However, it seems a lot more difficult for me to wrap my head around applying this for this sport. I understand that Catalyst has some examples that basically come down to working up to RMs and backing off 10% for the remaining sets, but I was hoping that I could be pointed in a direction to further elucidate myself on this subject (books, articles, programs, etc). I've also seen that application of RPE to weightlifting, but to be honest it didn't seem all that great to me.
    Thanks!

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    i think its going to depend a lot on your experience level and age. I'm also not so sure you will find anything more...detailed than what Catalyst talks about with their back off sets. Maybe something in Ma's book (though I've never read it). Outside of the Chinese, i don't know that there's many doing "by feel" and call it such. I think most tend to stick to percent based programming, though they might call out some back off sets at a strict percent (like your example).

    What I've found works for me is to use a percent based program, then use those numbers as a guide and adjust accordingly. As an example take this hypothetical:
    Day 1
    snatch: 85/2)4 (working sets)
    squat: 75/10)3 (working sets)
    other stuff

    Day 2
    Clean: 75/3)5 (working sets)
    Other stuff

    on day 2, if my legs are shot from the day before, i'll just adjust accordingly. Maybe i can do 5 triples at 70, not 75. Maybe i can do doubles but not triples. Etc. I just make a note for next time around so that i learn how i work, not how a book tells me i should work. As long as you keep pushing and give an honest effort, it works itself out. philosophically, i don't think RPE can exist on paper as its completely subjective and temporary (if that makes sense)

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    Quote Originally Posted by rawfeels View Post
    i think its going to depend a lot on your experience level and age. I'm also not so sure you will find anything more...detailed than what Catalyst talks about with their back off sets. Maybe something in Ma's book (though I've never read it). Outside of the Chinese, i don't know that there's many doing "by feel" and call it such. I think most tend to stick to percent based programming, though they might call out some back off sets at a strict percent (like your example).

    What I've found works for me is to use a percent based program, then use those numbers as a guide and adjust accordingly. As an example take this hypothetical:
    Day 1
    snatch: 85/2)4 (working sets)
    squat: 75/10)3 (working sets)
    other stuff

    Day 2
    Clean: 75/3)5 (working sets)
    Other stuff

    on day 2, if my legs are shot from the day before, i'll just adjust accordingly. Maybe i can do 5 triples at 70, not 75. Maybe i can do doubles but not triples. Etc. I just make a note for next time around so that i learn how i work, not how a book tells me i should work. As long as you keep pushing and give an honest effort, it works itself out. philosophically, i don't think RPE can exist on paper as its completely subjective and temporary (if that makes sense)
    Yeah; that's the way that I've experienced it in the past, but that seems like a bit different than the answer I'm hoping I'll find :/. I'll take a look at Ma's book, though from what I've seen in brief: doesn't it tend to favor percentages?

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    Who says you can't use autoregulation for the strength component of a program and percentage-based or some other progressive overload pattern for the rest?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkpeter View Post
    Who says you can't use autoregulation for the strength component of a program and percentage-based or some other progressive overload pattern for the rest?
    That's what I've been doing, actually. However; I am just curious to see if and how this might have been implemented outside of the obvious examples (Catalyst and Mash, much more so Mash). I feel like it is useful to think about, at least for me.

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    The corollary is, 'What capacity/ies of fitness are you autoregulating, and what contingency occurs if work does not lead to an increase of previous stimulus?'

    The likelihood of missed competition lifts and their variations will occur for reasons other than just decay of contractile potential of the primary working muscles. This is opposed to the more purely tonic lifts like squatting, deadlifting and benching.

    Program design I think starts with justifying some KPI's and these KPI's should reflect some sort of progressive overload. Obviously if you autoregulate down from previous output you have a recovery problem.

    The mere fact that every percentage based program has a higher likelihood of missed ballistic lifts over missed tonic lifts suggests that in some way, autoregulation kind of already occurs 'do I take it again? or do I move on?' We should fact that in with our program design before we begin.

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    Thank you for your thought out response. I would evaluate it on a more novel level of trying to perform maximally every day within the contexts of what MV, MEV, and MRV might be. Meaning that I am trying to see if there is a well thought out system that doesn't just allow for autoregulating down, but rather up too on days where you might be feeling better. But, I see your point, where things like RIR/RPE have less meaning as performing something like 3x5 @7 is meaningless because I might have the physical potential to hit 100kg, but can only do 90 because of technical limitations that day versus what that means in the context of simpler movements.

    But then the questions for me seem to be: how, when, and why should one *up* regulate volume during a given session? Or does that have less value than for a strength building movement because increasing volume like that doesn't have the same positive effects as it does for strength training?

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    Up-regulating is contextualized by the task, in the case of using RIR, I currently have some lifters who have a prescribed tonnage goal for squatting and pressing in the week over 2 sessions and a prescribed working weight. The direction is to rep out under a RIR protocol...... they still achieve the tonnage goal for the week but at no time do they invade a contractile failure state which is arguably more severe in terms of recovery for the rest of the session and rest of the week. So if their recovery is good and they are training well, they will achieve the goal tonnage in fewer sets.

    Up-regulating for competition lifts and their supplementary versions, might be in terms of assessing your KPI's on intensity/volume and adding more attempts based on day to day performance How many successful reps @82% and > in the final 6 weeks of a training block? How many am I taking? If the previous competition I took 67 and made 59, then I go 23 of the first 23 in the next block, maybe I could up-regulate to over 70 attempts or add some intensity to the bar?

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    I see what you are saying more clearly now. Referring to the competition lifts as "attempts" puts it into a perspective that, for some reason, more clearly differentiates the way those lifts might be handled compared to strength building exercises. Thank you

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