When it comes to working out, some days are great, some days are not so great. It all depends on you on that given day. For example, did you get the right amount of sleep? Are you maybe dealing with an injury so you have to take it slower than you’d like to? Or maybe your energy in general is just not up where you want it to be. This doesn’t mean, down an energy drink and hit the gym. This just means your human and may just need to autoregulate your workouts. 

What is Autoregulation?

In the most basic form, autoregulation of weight lifting, cardio, and all other forms of exercise just means that you’re adjusting the intensity. The biggest difference between autoregulation and having a set routine is that while you have a routine in place you’re adjusting the intensity on a workout to workout basis. 

What affects your strength on the day to day? Several factors actually. Just a few include your stress levels, eating habits, and sleep patterns. While autoregulation isn’t necessarily a “workout program” on its own. It helps to modify said workout plan as a way to avoid things like burnout, injury, or the overworking of your body in a general sense.

Now, something that shouldn’t shock you is that using the autoregulation form of training takes practice like most things in life. As Mark Hawthorne said, “practice makes progress”. No one is perfect; however, once you get the hang of something you’ll make progress that would otherwise be unobtainable. 

So how can you incorporate autoregulation exercise into your powerlifting routine? Let’s take a look.

How Rate of Perceived Exertion Works

As one of the most popular ideologies in the world of autoregulation workouts today, RPE or rate of perceived exertion, is becoming a first rate contender in the fitness world. This is do to the fact that you’re not basing what you’re lifting off of a set weight alone. Rather, you’re basing your lifting abilities off of the energy you yourself have left to give. 

When I say it’s based on the energy you have left it’s typically based on a scale of one to ten. However, in most cases, the lower half of the scale isn’t even referenced. Instead it’s more like a scale of 5 to 10. In that case, five would be a moderate intensity with little to no change in the velocity of your set. Ten is considered the maximum effort. Meaning that if the person powerlifting tried for one more repetition in their workout the result would be less than optimal. Why? Because they would essentially not be able to fully complete the set.

Here’s a better breakdown of the scale. 

Rate of Perceived Exertion:

10: Max effort, no more repetitions can be completed.

9: One more repetition possible.

8: Three more repetitions possible.

7: More than three repetitions left, but there is a visible reduction of speed in the final repetition.

6: More than three repetitions left, still able to move quickly and with intent.

5: No changes in velocity during the set, able to complete 5 additional repetitions before being done.

Something to remember is that your rate of perceived exertion relies on something called your repetitions in reserve or RIR. As the one completing the exercises whether in powerlifting or other variations, you yourself decide how much you have left in your energy reserves. Can you do 5 more reps, 6 more? Maybe only 2. All of those numbers are fine and your body will essentially thank you later for not causing it extra undo stresses. 

The RIR and RPE scales are actually quite similar. However, unlike the RPE scale the entirety of the RIR scale is noted. It starts at one and goes to ten with one being little to no effort needed for the repetitions to be completed. By default this makes ten maximum effort needed to complete the repetitions. Below is a better breakdown of how to gauge where you’re at on the scale.

Repetitions in Reserve:

10: Maximum effort needed to complete repetitions.

9: 1 repetition left in accordance with your energy.

8: Typically about 2 repetitions left in accordance with your energy.

7: Typically about 3 repetitions left in accordance with your energy.

6: Between 3 to 5 repetitions left in accordance with your energy.

5: Typically around 6 repetitions are left in accordance with your energy.

4: Anywhere from 6+ repetitions left in accordance with your energy.

3: Some effort needed to complete repetitions.

2: Light effort needed to complete repetitions.

1: Little or no effort needed to complete repetitions.

Pros & Cons of Autoregulation

In terms of those athletes first starting out on any exercise regime. It can actually be a very beneficial way to learn about your body. How so? You’ll be able to understand what your body can do and what causes overtraining or muscle fatigue more clearly. Not only that, you’ll be able to avoid injury in the long run by gaining said understanding. 

The downside to using autoregulation comes in when a person is essentially an emotional roller coaster just waiting to go off its track. That is to say, the person who is “emotionally” deciding how much they can handle may either over do it or in some cases, not do enough because they’re not in the right state of mind. Another drawback may be in a person’s ability to gauge and stay somewhat consistent. What does that mean? It means that a person may one day decide they want to go at a certain level of RPE and the next a lower variation to the point where tracking is almost impossible. 

That being said, those that decide to train this way may want to make note of their day to day workouts to keep better track. This can come in the form of a pen to paper approach or through an app on your phone. 

The Right Supplements for Exercise

Now, as with most things, you’ll no doubt want to make sure you’re getting the right nutrition and supplements. Why? Because you may or may not be getting the right amount of minerals and nutrients straight from your food you’re eating. That’s where Paradigm Peptides can help. How so? We have a vast array of peptides, SARMs, and research chemicals that can help keep your exercise game on track. Want to learn more? Check us out now.