Observations And Things I've Learned In 2017


Active Member
Thought I'd share what observations and things I've learned in 2017 regarding training, just for fun. And keeping in mind, they're not universal truths or anything, but just things specific to me that I've realised, so if it helps anyone else in the process that's a bonus :).

1) Recovering and rehabbing from pelvic floor tension myalgia has really forced me to change my outlook not only in training but in life also. My relationship with everything has had to change dramatically, and definitely how I go about training has had to be seriously looked at. Mainly in terms of pushing myself too hard and overcranking the CNS which was not helpful on a systemic level, but it definitely manifested as excess tension. So have really been learning during sessions to relax what needs to relax and only contract the necessary muscles. I noticed with most exercises I would tighten absolutely everything up, but it wasn't actually helpful to do so, exhausted my energy stores, and led to a decrease in performance, not to mention being just spent at the end of a session. Obviously some lifts require bracing of sorts, but doing it excessively was only doing harm.

2) Leading me to this point of basing my training more on autoregulation. I still program cycles mostly, and still have general principles and progressions I'm following, but to force that all the time just doesn't seem beneficial. There are times when you're just not feeling it, you're tired, and to try to force more volume/weight is just the last thing you wanna do.. It's okay to have a relaxed session, progression does not have to happen at every single workout. I'm finding it so important to listen to the body, as it always provides perfect feedback. Injuries are the more obvious ones hehe, but localised fatigue and also systemic fatigue is a sign. I still train when there's fatigue, but when it's extreme fatigue sometimes it's far better to have a rest day, or lighten the load, or just have a relaxed intuitive session. And of course, this isn't a point against training hard, I'm a big fan of training hard and training through even when tired, and developing spirit, drive and intensity. Just realising that sometimes it's not the best approach, and that it's ok to relax and be kind to yourself.
I'm going to make more of an effort (or less?) to include more relaxed sessions, and yes, even explore intuitive training. Of course it's not scientific or logical, but that's the point. I think it's healthy to relax and enjoy training, without planning anything, without recording anything, just going by feel. It also is a great opportunity to explore new and different exercises you've never tried before, and when I've tried this style of training before it's been very fun. Great for boosting motivation, as you're just training for fun and enjoyment, exploring different exercises and also different methods, as crazy as they may be.

3) Take your time in training. This has been important for me. When you rush through training, it's just not enjoyable, you're going through the motions, getting it 'over with', you make mistakes, and injuries happen. When you take your time, you're more focused, more relaxed, you can get really quality work in, and more importantly training is enjoyable as it's not a chore. You perform much better too, and aren't exhausted by the end of the session.

4) The drop set protocol mentioned in other threads works really well for bringing up lagging body parts. I did it for biceps and it's pretty dramatic the results (haven't measured, but it's noticable). Although I have been eating a lot more this time around so that may also be a factor haha. But still, this responded quite a bit compared to other parts.

5) This current myoreps cycle compared to the last myorep cycle has been very different, and it's definitely a case of 'how' something is done rather than what. Last time I pushed it far too hard, but I recently focused on autoregulation, didn't take every single set and minisets to absolute failure, force reps, and I really listened a lot... if I could feel the set was just done, I STOPPED haha. Didn't force myself to do the maximum amount of minisets, but really listened and went further when I was feeling good.

6) Be in control of the weight at all times, especially with heavy weight. Don't change your body/limb positioning just in order to get the weight up from A to B. If I'm already grinding and slowing right down, don't do that extra last rep just because I need to hit a 'certain number'. Too many times have I pushed too far only to later regret it.

7) Keeping the tension on the muscle at all times and squeezing it all through the rep helps keep tension where it's not only needed, but also keeps you safer. In other words, changing my focus from 'getting better numbers' (an external goal) to 'better quality reps' (more an internal goal). And overall, changing my focus to how it feels rather than doing it because someone said it was 'optimal'. Ties in with earlier point of listening to the body. (Obviously different goals require a different focus. Powerlifting requires progression in weights and very particular technique, I guess this was more in reference to training for hypertrophy.)

It's fairly clear that there's a pretty common theme throughout XD and bit of repetitiveness. But they've been big insights for me, and there definitely has been a real shift in how I approach training.

That's it haha, but feel free to share any insights or anything you've learned this year, this was good reminder and reflection for me personally, but others may get something out of it too :)