Autoregulation is when you make some choices about your training during your workout rather than having everything locked into place before your workout. If you’re new to autoregulation, it may sound like a technical concept, but it’s actually very simple. If you’ve ever done a few extra reps because you were feeling good or took an extra minute of rest to recover after a tough set, then you’ve already used autoregulation in your training. It essentially just means “adjusting on the fly.”
Autoregulation doesn’t mean you get to completely go by feel and suddenly have an excuse to totally sandbag your workouts on bad days. Instead, it can be seen as leveraging the fact that performance will differ from day to day.
When running a fixed program, on a day that you’re feeling extremely strong and performing extremely well, you might be confined to doing work that is well below your potential for that day. That’s wasted potential. On an autoregulated program, however, if you’re feeling particularly strong on one day, you have the freedom to go heavier than usual. And the same thing applies for days that you’re not feeling as strong, you have the permission to use weights that match your abilities on that specific day.