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Auto-what Now? The Beginner's Guide to Autoregulation

Author: Coach Nick Book

Picture this: you're at the gym, getting ready to complete your workout for the day. Your program says you need to deadlift 3 sets of 8 reps at 80% of your max. Cool, you think to yourself, let's do this. But as you start your first set, you realize that you're feeling more fatigued than usual. Your grip is slipping, your form is shaky, and you're pretty sure you're going to injure something if you continue at this weight. What do you do? Autoregulate, my friend. Autoregulate.

What is autoregulation? 

Simply put, it's the practice of adjusting your workouts based on how you're feeling on a given day. Instead of forcing yourself to complete a set or lift a certain weight no matter what, autoregulation allows you to listen to your body and adjust accordingly. This can lead to more effective and safer workouts.

So, how do you practically apply autoregulation to your exercise program? Here are a few tips:

Use RPE (rate of perceived exertion)

Instead of basing your workouts on a predetermined percentage of your max, try using RPE. This measures how difficult a particular set feels on a scale of 1-10. If you're feeling more fatigued than usual, you can adjust the weight accordingly.

Adjust volume

If you're not feeling up to a heavy lift, try decreasing the volume (number of sets or reps) instead of the weight. This still allows you to complete the exercise but with less strain on your body.

Take rest days

Rest days are crucial for allowing your body to recover and preventing burnout. If you're feeling particularly fatigued or sore, take a rest day instead of pushing through.

Listen to your body

This may seem obvious, but it's important to truly listen to your body and adjust your workouts accordingly. Some days, you may feel like you can lift the world. Other days, not so much. That's okay- adjust accordingly and remember that consistency is key.

Don't be too hard on yourself: Autoregulation is all about being flexible and listening to your body. Don't beat yourself up if you need to adjust your workout or take a rest day. Trust that you're making the best decision for your body.

In Conclusion...

Autoregulation may seem like a complex term, but in reality, it's all about being in tune with your body and adjusting accordingly. By using RPE, adjusting volume, taking rest days, listening to your body, and not being too hard on yourself, you can effectively incorporate autoregulation into your exercise program. Remember- the goal is to have effective and safe workouts, not to push yourself to the brink of injury. Happy lifting!