Strength does not always evolve as planned in the Program Designer profile, since predetermined programs do not take into account the individual lifter fatigue levels on a daily basis.
The predetermined weight increase from session to session or week to week is not always “doable” since it does not take into account your current shape, degree of readiness, level of stress, recovery state and sleep level.
2. Load Progression
Autoregulation is a very useful system that automatically individualizes load progression and allows you to train with higher loads on days when you experience low fatigue levels and vice versa.
3. Training Log
By comparing the target reps with actual performed reps and target reps to failure (RTF) with performed RTF, the load on the next sets will either be up- or down- regulated. For example, if the target number of reps was 6 and the number of performed reps was 8, then the load selected will have been too light and must be increased. If the target number of reps was 8 and you performed 6 reps, then the load will have been too heavy and must be reduced for the next set. If the number of target reps and performed reps are equal, then no adjustments will be required.
4. Reps to Failure
Reps to Failure (RTF), are based on how many repetitions remain on completion of a set, and automatically adjusts the load to match your capabilities on a set-to-set basis. For example, a Performed RTF of 2 means that you could have done 2 more reps. And if the Target RTF was 0, then the load (kg) was too light and must be increased for the next set. A Performed RTF of 0 means that it was impossible to do even 1 more rep. If the Target RTF was also 0, then the load (kg) on the next set will not be autoregulated. Finally, if the Target RTF was 2 and your performed RTF was 0, then the load was too heavy and must be reduced for the next set. RTF is a subjective measure that will become more accurate with practice and over time.
5. The RTF Scale
The RTF scale is rated from 0 to 5, and measures the feeling of effort, strain discomfort, and/or fatigue experienced during resistance training.
Autoregulation not only individually customizes week-to-week progression, but it allows for different days within a week to be progressed individually. If the Total performed volume load exceeds Total target volume load for a specific body part, then you surpassed expectations for the session. This is marked with a blue column extending upwards in the green field in the Fatigue & recovery monitoring section.
If the Total performed volume load is lower than the Target volume load, then you underperformed for the session. This is marked with a blue column extending downwards in the orange field in the Fatigue & recovery monitoring section.
7. Target load
The target load for each set throughout the program is based on the Strength athlete’s input in the Pre-interview form, step 3. Although you can autoregulate the load up or down, the Target load calculated in the Pre-interview form step 3, remains the same. Try to be honest and provide as accurate information about weight and reps as possible, so that the estimated 1 RM values are as accurate as possible. The estimated 1 RM values are used as Target load, and if 1 RM values are set too high, it may become impossible to reach your target loads and it will appear that you are adapting poorly to the training program.
The correct target load can put you in the best frame of mind, by preparing you for the next set. For example, “With a target load of 140 kg in the squat, I should be able to do 6 reps (target reps) with 3 RTF or reps in reserve (target RTF)”.
8. The goal of autoregulation
Autoregulation is a very useful system that automatically and individually customizes load progression and allows you to train with higher loads on days when you experience low fatigue levels and vice versa. On days when you have more energy you will probably be able to do more reps on the autoregulated load or have more reps in reserve (RTF), or both. This will increase the working load on the next sets for the current exercise.
For example, if the autoregulated load is 100 kg in barbell full squat with Target reps at 8 and Target RTF at 2, and you feel the load is too light, then you can either perform more reps than Target reps or stop at 8 reps and enter more Performed RTF than Target RTF. For every Performed rep that exceeds the Target reps or Performed RTF that exceed the Target RTF, the load on the next sets for the same exercise will be increased by 2,5 %.
The goal is to have a trend where you exceed the Target load. Of course, there will be days when you are tired and have little energy where you are then able to reduce the autoregulated load.