A study has been published recently in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning looking at the effects of what they term as Non-Linear and Auto-Regulatory perodisation. This is by no means a new concept to any long time weight trainer or strength athlete it basically boils down to going as hard as you can on any given training day and knowing when to take your foot off the pedal when your feeling like shit.
The problem with “classical perodisation” or any strength programme that is overly prescriptive to the day is that it doesn’t allow for the athlete to go for it when they are feeling on top of the world or to take it easy when they are feeling like shit. This means that a lot of chances to achieve personal’s bests are denied to the athlete due to over prescription.
In this months Edition of the JSCR Mann et al looked at the effects of Auto-Regulatory Perodisation (ARP) versus the traditional linear model (LP) and in results that will come of no surprise to anyone who trains by how they feel on the day ARP smashed LP for the bench and squat during a 6 week period with American Football players (see figure 1).
Any good programme designed for maximal strength gains should have an inbuilt mechanism that allows the athlete to take advantage of days when they feel good. A good example of this is the Westside template where the lifter is given both a Max Effort and Repetition Effort day which basically allows them to go balls out and try for a weight or rep PB on that day. If they are not feeling up to it they can always take their foot off the pedal and try again next week.
531 also has this built in each week the lifter is set a goal of “load x >reps” this gives the lifter a bare minimum they have to shoot for and determines a minimum volume load yet with the choice to perform as many reps as possible they are always presented with the option to max out.
Since this is also set at 90% of their actual capabilities by just making the reps they have actually taken a deload.
Prescriptive programmes that set loads and volume in stone might make the coach feel like they are being precise or scientific when in fact they are being nieve.
The recovery of different athletes from sessions and loads is down to such a wide variety of variables that are out of your control that there is no way you can realistically expect to predict performance a day in advance never mind weeks, months or even years.
Thus any model of programming or perodisation that does not acknowledge this ignorance is always going to produce inferior results.
Till next time,