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Autoregulate to Dominate | How to Use RPE Training for BJJ


The BJJ Performance Tip of the Week | #028

Mobility🧘🏽‍♂️ •Strength 💪🏽 •Nutrition 🥑 •Interesting🧐

Edition: Friday, August 11th, 2023

Ever noticed how different your performance is during training based on how you're feeling that day? This is where the magic of autoregulation comes into play. You might be wondering what's this buzzword all about and how is it relevant to jiujitsu. Let’s dive in.


Autoregulation isn't just a fancy term—it's your key to smart training. It means tailoring your training to YOU, because guess what? We're all unique and so should our workouts be! 🎯

🔍 What's in a Name? Autoregulation Uncovered

At its core, autoregulation is about listening to your body and adjusting your training based on how you feel. It's about recognizing that things like mood, sleep, nutrition, stress, and even where you are in your menstrual cycle, all affect your readiness to train and your recovery status. 💡

🎢 Autoregulation - Not Just Training by Feel 📈

There's a misconception that autoregulation is just about "training by feel". That's not quite right. It's about creating a robust and valid framework to guide your training journey. It's like having a personal performance coach who knows you inside and out.

📊 RPE-based Training and How To Apply it To Jiujitsu

One popular approach to autoregulation is RPE-based training. This concept uses a scale to quantify how hard you feel you're working during exercise. Sounds tricky? Don't worry! The scale is super easy to use and, with time, can help you train smarter, not harder! 🧠

RPE chart showing the different RPE levels from 1-10

Image source: Stronger by Science Article - The Science of Autoregulation

When using the RPE scale it’s important to “anchor”⚓ your effort by knowing what taking a set to failure FEELS like. This is easier the more experience you have lifting, but if you’re a beginning your RPE reference may be wildly off without having had the opportunity to “anchor”.

Okay, so how does all of this relate to jiujitsu?

Well, getting strong on the mats requires a strength-based training approach. And autoregulation is an incredibly effective tool to use to ensure you’re achieving the program's desired outcomes.

Not only that but as a jiujitsu athlete you can appreciate that the demand on your body from grappling can be quite taxing and change week to week and day to day, therefore RPE can be a great tool to adjust for your fatigue levels and ensure you're still progressing with your strength goals.

Autoregulation and RPE aren’t always appropriate though, it depends on the program, the athlete completing the program, the training cycle and more.

If you want to see how RPE can be used in action in a strength-based program to get you strong on the mats and reduce your risk of injury check out the Beast Mode program found at BJJ Strong Online.

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