Autoregulatory Training vs. Linear Periodization [Research Review]

I know I’ve been slack on the blogging lately, but I really have had a few interesting things going on training wise, both theory and application side of things. There’s goodies on the way. For now, since this segues into the concept, I want to have a look at this paper which I got a few days ago:

The Effect of Autoregulatory Progressive Resistance Exercise vs. Linear Periodization on Strength Improvement in College Athletes.
Mann JB, Thyfault JP, Ivey PA, Sayers SP.
J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Jun 10. [Epub ahead of print]


Autoregulatory progressive resistance exercise (APRE) is a method by which athletes increase strength by progressing at their own pace based on daily and weekly variations in performance, unlike traditional linear periodization (LP), where there is a set increase in intensity from week to week. This study examined whether 6 weeks of APRE was more effective at improving strength compared with traditional LP in division I College football players. We compared 23 division 1 collegiate football players (2.65 +/- 0.8 training years) who were trained using either APRE (n = 12) or LP (n = 11) during 6 weeks of preseason training in 2 separate years. After 6 weeks of training, improvements in total bench press 1 repetition maximum (1RM), squat 1RM, and repeated 225-lb bench press repetitions were compared between the APRE and LP protocol groups. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) were used to determine differences between groups. Statistical significance was accepted at p </= 0.05. Autoregulatory progressive resistance exercise demonstrated greater improvement in 1RM bench press strength (APRE: 93.4 +/- 103 N vs. LP: -0.40 +/- 49.6 N; ANCOVA: F = 7.1, p = 0.02), estimated 1RM squat strength (APRE: 192.7 +/- 199 N vs. LP: 37.2 +/- 155 N; ANOVA: F = 4.1, p = 0.05) and the number of repetitions performed at a weight of 225 lb (APRE: 3.17 +/- 2.86 vs. LP: -0.09 +/- 2.40 repetitions; ANCOVA: F = 6.8, p = 0.02) compared with the LP group over the 6-week training period. Our findings indicate that the APRE was more effective than the LP means of programming in increasing the bench press and squat over a period of 6 weeks.

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Using Spreadsheets to Plan Training

Everybody likes to have a plan. A well-written, well-designed workout means you don’t have to think too much when you go to the gym. You just show up, do what the plan says, and go home.

I won’t lie; I like a good spreadsheet. It’s fun to fiddle around with the numbers and see how things crunch when you put them together in a program. It’s a useful way to track progress and see how things work together.

Here’s what prompted me to write this piece, though. What I want to know is how you’re using a spreadsheet to calculate percentages for the 5×5 routines, when those programs specifically state they don’t use percentages to calculate weights.

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Remembering Unloading Weeks

You grow outside the gym, not in it. That’s the mantra so often repeated, used to justify everything from training a muscle group only once a week to taking off whole months from exercise. There’s certainly a lot of truth in that statement. One thing that’s come into vogue these days is the concept of the unloading week (sometimes called deloading; it’s the same concept) where you do what the title says: remove the training stress from your body to “unload” it.

This is a valuable tool. Yet, as obvious as “take it easy” is, I don’t think a lot of people get it. So I want to talk about that.

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