Another great article on this website. In terms of "reactive" training, a certain Olympic Gold Medalist had the guideline that if he felt good in training, he did a lot that day. If he felt bad, he did much less and stopped training early. The idea was to practice success and to not practice failure (or training on a day you are off your game). On a strict training paradigm where every set and rep is layed out, what if you feel bad on a day you are supposed to max or PR? What if you then feel fantastic on a day that is supposed to be easy? I think flexibility is even more important for the majority of us that are not full time athletes. Work and personal committments can get in the way of a very strict training cycle. I actually plan my hard training around business travel and train more/harder when my workload (job related) is lighter. I will take several (up to but 5) days off if I will be out of town or working long hours. Better that than force in a bad workout that cuts into sleep and weakens my immune system. Other times, I will almost intentionally "overtrain" and squat or dead every other day for a week or so. I find I do not lose anything during a 5 day lay off, as long as I am not consitently taking 5 days off between every workout. Sometimes I feel exceptionally well after 5 days away from the gym.
Date: 13 Sep 2009 20:27
Number of posts: 2
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Yes, I agree. Flexibility could be said simply to allow oneself to take advantage of opportunities or to not get into the habbit of just "getting it done". But I think you have to bridge the flexibility with a certain amount of structure and order to be successful and that is what is difficult to figure out. In fact, most every 'structured' thing I write about strength training has to do with this.
The problem is that most trainees would not have the discipline to use reactive training exclusively even if they had the knowledge to do this and if this could be said to work. Most of my notions of training have to do with training based on your ability at any given time while still having a structured overload and without things giving way to entropy, which, as you know, they will. Most plans that are moderately organized but left too open ended will eventually just fall into chaos. Not just because of lack of discipline but because the trainee cannot actually see patterns and structure in something that doesn't have structure as it's defining characteristic. It can be done! It just is much harder to learn.
It's easy to see why the kinds of plans I was complaining about in this article are so attractive. The appearance of structure is actually more important than the over-riding goal. People feel very successful on these programs because they are meeting a very easy to reach goal. Following a structured program!