• Auto-Regulation (Schwarzenegger.com) - By Mike Tuchscherer

      Download full PDF here

      “Listen to your body.” That’s what I was told I must do. “Okay, well how do I do that?” I responded. Then the conversation always deteriorated into vagaries. The most I could get anyone to tell me was it was going to take me ten years to learn how to do it.

      TEN YEARS!

      That’s a long time! I was a new coach and I had team of powerlifters who depended on me to prepare them for competition. We didn’t have ten years to just figure it out. But luckily for me, I had been training myself for about that long, so I was starting to grasp some of what people meant by “listen to your body”. So I set out to find my own answers. I observed what I was doing. I talked to other lifters and asked a lot of questions. I began to formulate the ideas for how to teach people to listen to their body.

      Signal or noise?
      You see, at the time it was popular to tell people to listen to their body. Now the pendulum has shifted and people say “how you feel is a lie”. As usual, the truth is more nuanced. I personally don’t like either catch phrase anymore.

      How you feel is not a lie. I can assure you that you do actually feel the way you feel. But what do you do about that feeling? Ah ha! That is a much more useful question! And the other side saying, “Listen to your body”? Well they get it wrong too. Often people that are “listening to their body” are just over-valuing their emotional reactions. They get lost in the noise of emotions and can’t find the signal.

      Auto-regulation
      Where I’m going with this is toward auto-regulation. Auto-regulation simply means adjusting the day’s training to fit the body’s needs. It’s a course-correction; a feedback loop. Every single strength training system in the world that has demonstrated repeated success at the highest levels has incorporated auto-regulation. Every one. Not all use the same tools, but they all adapt to the fluctuating capabilities of the lifter.

      The way many systems work is through continued oversight by a coach. The coach watches the lifter and adjusts the program as needed to fit the lifter’s needs. But many of us aren’t so lucky as to train with a top coach. I know that through most of my lifting career, I had no coaching oversight. So rather than auto-regulate in a way that relies on a coach’s eye, I found other methods that I could use on my own. ...more