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  1. #1
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    Training by feel rather than a plan

    Any of you train by feel? For example rather than having specific parts you train each day.. you go by feel. Example. Your shoulders and hamstrings feel fatigued but quads and chest feel fresh so you train quads and chest. Next day your arms and hamstrings feel fresh so you train them. Etc. Still obviously apply progressive overload and track your exercises but not having a specific part to train each day. Thoughts?
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    Done this a few years ago for a few months, tried to hit everything twice a week. Worked for a while but then the autism kicked in because I lost track of progress/goal and I hopped on a upper lower style.
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    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Yep, I usually end up doing 2 compounds and 2 isolations for 2 bodyparts (from these 5 bodyparts: chest, shoulder, back, quads, posterior chain). I usually mix upper and lower - or every 3rd day ends up being a chest and back day.

    I don't pay that much attention to reps and weight, I tend to use number of sets and exertion per set and the main parameters. I aim to do things slightly better or at least slightly different to last time. At the moment I seem to be just doing repeats at 8 reps until I get a griding rep in the last set. Other times, I stick to 2 or 3 sets and take every set to 1 rep before failure.

    Usually 1 of the isolations is a movement designed to prevent imbalance or injury like cuban rotations, overhead shrugs, hip abductions etc.
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    Yep, I usually end up doing 2 compounds and 2 isolations for 2 bodyparts (from these 5 bodyparts: chest, shoulder, back, quads, posterior chain). I usually mix upper and lower - or every 3rd day ends up being a chest and back day.

    I don't pay that much attention to reps and weight, I tend to use number of sets and exertion per set and the main parameters. I aim to do things slightly better or at least slightly different to last time. At the moment I seem to be just doing repeats at 8 reps until I get a griding rep in the last set. Other times, I stick to 2 or 3 sets and take every set to 1 rep before failure.

    Usually 1 of the isolations is a movement designed to prevent imbalance or injury like cuban rotations, overhead shrugs, hip abductions etc.
    I think this is how I'm going to approach things from now. Makes more sense to train by feel
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    I’m pretty sure that I heard Mr Olympia Jay Cutler say that he trained on a random split based on how he was feeling.
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    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Once you have enough experience training by feel is what you do. Programs are great to a point then you need to customize things to fit you personally.

    You just need to make sure you don’t overtrain your best body parts and undertrain the bad ones. Most people tend to do that. The parts you enjoy training end up being the best and the ones you don’t enjoy training end up being the worst
    Last edited by Tommy W.; 01-09-2022 at 12:54 PM.
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    Registered User safcpaul's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies lads. Youve all confirmed my thoughts
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    I think this is relatively easy for hypertrophy.

    And completely idiotic for any specific strength or athletic goal.



    So just depends on goals
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    Sounds like a nightmare to me! I like structure, but that said, a lot of training is inevitably done by feel. When the program says I am supposed to train a particular muscle on a particular day but said muscle is still sore, I will shuffle things around accordingly. If I'm trying to get 9 reps for an exercise and the 7th rep is an all-out grinding effort, I know to stop and not risk injury by going for another rep. When I'm completely recovered the day after an exercise, I know I can add a set the next time.
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    Some people do not count reps and go by "feel". Doesn't work for me. I induce more pain if I am trying to achieve a certain premeditated number of reps. If I go by feel I tend to "feel" it earlier.

    Good split should take care of any uncertainty about what you should train today. To me, if some muscle group is sore, well, too fkn bad, suck it up. Often it is a lagging part you are trying to bring up.
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    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    I think this is relatively easy for hypertrophy.

    And completely idiotic for any specific strength or athletic goal.



    So just depends on goals
    I agree

    When I tried the Calgary Barbell routine, I was surprised by how different it was - I actually did way more volume (counterintuitively) but wasn't nuking my muscles on every set.
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  12. #12
    Registered User safcpaul's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    I think this is relatively easy for hypertrophy.

    And completely idiotic for any specific strength or athletic goal.



    So just depends on goals
    Yeah definitely hypertrophy is my goal mate
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  13. #13
    Registered User safcpaul's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by weiss1967 View Post
    Some people do not count reps and go by "feel". Doesn't work for me. I induce more pain if I am trying to achieve a certain premeditated number of reps. If I go by feel I tend to "feel" it earlier.

    Good split should take care of any uncertainty about what you should train today. To me, if some muscle group is sore, well, too fkn bad, suck it up. Often it is a lagging part you are trying to bring up.
    I certainly wouldn't stop counting reps. Everything still tracked but listening to my body to what body part I'm training. A little bit soreness certainly wouldn't stop me hitting that muscle again
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    Registered User safcpaul's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by RapidFail View Post
    Sounds like a nightmare to me! I like structure, but that said, a lot of training is inevitably done by feel. When the program says I am supposed to train a particular muscle on a particular day but said muscle is still sore, I will shuffle things around accordingly. If I'm trying to get 9 reps for an exercise and the 7th rep is an all-out grinding effort, I know to stop and not risk injury by going for another rep. When I'm completely recovered the day after an exercise, I know I can add a set the next time.
    My structure is i get up on a morning and workout or if I'm at work early in the morning, I workout on the evening when I finish and I have one day a week where I do nothing. Only thing I'm going to change is listening to my body more. For example my knees feel a bit achy I'll not be squatting today but my back feels great then I'll do more back work etc.
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    Originally Posted by safcpaul View Post
    I certainly wouldn't stop counting reps. Everything still tracked but listening to my body to what body part I'm training. A little bit soreness certainly wouldn't stop me hitting that muscle again
    Yeah I still count reps, but will adjust based on feel. I usually don’t need to change anything significantly in a workout, but will hit certain machines or exercises based on what I want to do. Once you’ve been doing it long enough it just makes sense to keep your workouts enjoyable and to get the most out of them. For example yesterday my biceps were completely wiped out for some reason and I was struggling hitting decent reps(as in more than 5 when I usually hit 8-10). So instead of dropping weight or hitting less reps I just cancelled my last few bicep exercises and took the extra time to destroy my traps. Seems like a better use of time and felt great.
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    Originally Posted by safcpaul View Post
    Yeah definitely hypertrophy is my goal mate
    Personally I'd struggle completely free for all so I'd probably do something like SP

    Upper push compound
    Lower compound
    Upper pull
    Push 2
    Lower 2
    Pull 2

    Or whatever split you layout and then I'd probably personally have like 6 or so exercises for each slot and rotate.

    Sounds quite fun actually
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    I think this is relatively easy for hypertrophy.

    And completely idiotic for any specific strength or athletic goal.



    So just depends on goals
    In my limited experience, this is definitely true.

    Training "by feel" is a lot more fun and casually rewarding, but obscures the kind of long-range thinking necessary to make real and lasting progress over a plateau or hurdle.

    Since lifting is supposed to be fun and recreational, I alternate depending upon whether I have a strength goal in the near future or not.

    For another month or so, I'm going to train based upon what I feel like doing.
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    Provided you get enough volume per week for each muscle group it doesn’t really matter.

    Just don’t turned into someone who doesn’t wanna train a particular muscle group just because you don’t want to.

    How you “feel” on a day doesn’t necessarily translate to what’s best to do.

    Your legs might feel ****ty but once you’re warmed up you hit a PR or you’re able to get a great MMC anyway.

    I still fall into the camp of structure and simply using auto-regulation to vary my loading since that will take care of days you’re under-recovered and allows you to still work to a proper relative intensity.

    I also believe in trying to beat the logbook even if it’s for a rep, so if you’re constantly shifting the goalposts on when you train I think it sets up a scenario of the perception of progress, but really spinning your wheels.

    That doesn’t mean forcing weight/reps/sets. But ensuring I keep a pretty regular schedule means comparisons from week to week or month to month are more accurate.
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    I think it makes sense to go by feel, your body tells you when you've had enough reps of an exercise, just gotta listen to it.
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  20. #20
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    Originally Posted by Filmbuff81 View Post
    Provided you get enough volume per week for each muscle group it doesn’t really matter.

    Just don’t turned into someone who doesn’t wanna train a particular muscle group just because you don’t want to.

    How you “feel” on a day doesn’t necessarily translate to what’s best to do.

    Your legs might feel ****ty but once you’re warmed up you hit a PR or you’re able to get a great MMC anyway.

    I still fall into the camp of structure and simply using auto-regulation to vary my loading since that will take care of days you’re under-recovered and allows you to still work to a proper relative intensity.

    I also believe in trying to beat the logbook even if it’s for a rep, so if you’re constantly shifting the goalposts on when you train I think it sets up a scenario of the perception of progress, but really spinning your wheels.

    That doesn’t mean forcing weight/reps/sets. But ensuring I keep a pretty regular schedule means comparisons from week to week or month to month are more accurate.
    I agree with all that mate. I'm still tracking everything, same rotation of exercises etc but frequency changing based on feel rather than what I've got scheduled on my workout routine. Certainly not beneficial for the young lad who wants to just hit chest and arms lol
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    Originally Posted by Filmbuff81 View Post
    Provided you get enough volume per week for each muscle group it doesn’t really matter.

    Just don’t turned into someone who doesn’t wanna train a particular muscle group just because you don’t want to.
    This!

    It all works as long as you are being consistent. But if you're systematically undertraining certain parts of your body it tends to come back and really bite you later IME.
    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.

    - Richard Feynman
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