“Autoregulation” refers to the adjustments you make in your training, depending on how things are going. If your life stress is generally very high (little to no sleep, your spouse just left you, and you’re about to get fired), it’s safe to assume that training will be impacted. Auto regulating your training is an attempt to account for these daily fluctuations in training status- some days are better, some days are worse, and most days you’re simply punching the clock and putting in the reps.
Below are a few ways to adjust your training on a daily and weekly basis.
- Use RPE to pick the loads you’ll use on a given day.
- Use RPE in conjunction with some %. This might be that you work up to a heavy single, estimate what your 1 rep max might be, and pick your weights based on that 1 rep max (if this made no sense to you, this video will clarify it a bit).
- Use rep ranges. I stole this idea from Andy Baker. Pick a rep range for a lift. Let’s say 5-8. Pick a conservative starting weight. Start at the low end of the range with the given weight. Each week try and add a rep or 2. Once you’re at the top end of the range, add some weight and drop back down. On good days you might hit a few extra reps. On bad days you might be on the lower end of the range.
- Pick a weight range. The corollary to the rep range is a weight range. Pick a range (maybe 5-10%), for a specified number of reps. You might plan to squat 5 sets of 5 reps for your workout. Let’s say you normally use about 80% for the weights you pick. You might give yourself a small range to work across to account for any hiccups-in this case, try 75-82.5%. You have the option to go a bit lighter, and, conversely, the ability to add some more weight if it’s feeling really good.
- Use an amrap or a “top” set. This can guide your decision-making for the day. A few of my favorite ways to do this: work up to 1 heavy set of 8 reps, then for another 2-3 sets keep the same weight but do only 5-6 reps (i.e. this gives you a clear indicator that you’re about 2-3 reps from your limit). Another fun strategy: work up to 1 heavy set of 5 (or whatever rep you want), then peel 5-10% off the bar for another 2-4 sets. You can cut reps off or weight, but the general idea is the same.