In the world of fitness you will hear some of the more experienced lifters talk a lot about lifting according to how they feel.
It seems that now lots of people are using that word, but it does not mean what you think it means…
When you gain enough experience to base your lifts off how you feel it does not mean any of the following:
– Going too light too often.
– Stopping short because you don’t ‘feel’ it.
– Staying in your comfort zones.
The three points above are very common and people use feel as an excuse not to work harder, where as the experienced lifters use feel to test their limits and perhaps work up to a new 8,5 or 3RM for the day and maybe even add a little more weight to their assistance/back off sets.
It is true that if they really don’t feel strong enough to push a new RM they won’t but they will still hit their minimum lifting numbers according to their program.
Experienced lifters do work off of feel but they also follow a a progressive and periodised program as well. For these people ‘feel’ means a new RM/PB not “I’m going to take it easy because I’m a tad sore” which is what it means to many.
Some call this Auto-Regulation. This is linked in with utilising the RPE (Rate of perceived exertion) scale to gauge your lifts. You might record a deadlift that feels like an 8RPE to you but when you watch it back it looks like a 7, meaning you will help understand what each RPE point means to you and how/when to push harder or hold back.
Any good program will be progressive and have scheduled de-loads and a logical structure one the Macro/Meso & Micro-cycles, however until you are at a Training Age* that allows you to understand what ‘feel’ actually is you’d be better off following a strict structured program and striving for constant progression.
*Training Age si the amount of years you’ve been lifting. As an example you can have an 18year old Olympic Lifter who has been lifting for 14years easily out-lift a 30Year old man who has been lifting 6month.
If you have been lifting for a considerable amount of time then you will already know what feel really is, if you;re still new to lifting I would advise you write everything down when you train. I literally mean everything… How the reps felt, how they looked on camera, how their speed was, who your form was, EVERYTHING. Doing this will help you grasp the concept of what feel actually is very quickly.
In the words of a wise man:
“Don’t think, feel.” – Bruce Lee