There’s a good chance you read the title Intuitive Strength Training and wondered, “What the heck is that?”.
You’re about to find out what it is and why, perhaps, you should give it a try.
We’ll bring this to life with some examples:
- “My back just doesn’t feel awesome today, so instead of deadlifts I’ll do some single leg work and back extensions.”
- “Oh my damn! I feel amazing today and the weights are flying up. I’m going to go for a new personal record.”
- “I’m just not feeling this workout today. I didn’t sleep well last night so I’m going to cut my workout volume in half and really focus on my technique.”
All three of those examples are intuitive strength training (also know as autoregulatory training) in action.
Listening to your body’s feedback and adjusting accordingly.
That’s intuitive strength training at it’s core, and I’ve been following these principles for the past couple of years with my own workouts and encouraging my clients to do the same.
The reason is simple — we may have the best intentions to follow our workout programs as written, but doing so doesn’t allow you to account for, well, life. Your workout may call for deadlifts today, but what if you tweaked your back at work? Is forcing yourself to deadlift just because it’s deadlift day really a smart choice?
You may want to improve your performance from last week’s workouts, but what if you’re in the middle of your glorious (sarcasm) monthly cycle and feel like a big ole hot mess?
What if the workout routine you’re following calls for conventional deadlifts, but no matter how perfect your form is, they just don’t feel right?
It’s been my experience, and my clients, that when you take the time to listen to your body’s feedback and adjust accordingly that you can achieve better results. Oftentimes it’s a great way to decrease the chance of injury as well.
What does intuitive strength training look like in practice?
Here are just a few, basic examples:
- Some days you’ll feel absolutely unstoppable and almost superhuman. Take advantage!
- Other days the weights may feel incredibly heavy, like they’re glued to the earth. Respect your body and back off and use lighter weights and hone in on your form. Live to lift (safely) another day when you feel up to it.
- Maybe a certain exercise variation just isn’t appropriate for you; swap it out for a different one instead. For example, some trainees, no matter how perfect their form is, just can’t do conventional deadlifts from the floor with a straight bar. However, they may be able to do rack pulls or trap bar deadlifts.
Too often trainees try to force their bodies into submission because they’re determined to follow their workout as written and do exercises A, B, and C and set some new personal records along the way, even if they’re having a not-so-awesome workout. I know, because I’ve done this. While you can get away with it for a while, I know all too well that if you don’t listen to your body when it says, “Back off, goofball,” it will eventually make you.
So that’s my definition of intuitive strength training and what it will accomplish: getting the best results from your workouts by listening to, and working with, your body.
- Use the exercise variations the work best for you.
- Respect your body when it tells you to back off.
- Take advantage of the days you feel awesome, and perhaps go for a new personal record or two.
Listening to your body’s feedback and adjusting accordingly (or taking advantage when appropriate) is a great way to strength train to ensure long-term results, increase the enjoyment of your workouts, and even improve the safety of your training sessions.
For more information on intuitive strength training, check out the newest addition to the Lift Like a Girl store – Intuitive Strength Training (clever title, I know).
It’s a 70 page eBook that shows you how to strength training intuitively and includes a couple awesome workout templates you can use to create your own training programs based on your equipment, goals, experience level, how many days per week you want to work out, and exercise preferences (and some done-for-you programs, too, to which you can apply the intuitive training principles).