The biggest value in having a coach is in coming up with a plan B.
Anyone can write a program or find one on the internet, but it takes knowledge, skill, and even some intuition to modify that program on the fly.
If you never need modifications, I call you a unicorn. If you frequently need modifications, I’m sorry for your luck and I know how you feel.
Autoregulation how we modify your training program for any given day. It demonstrates both the science and the art side of coaching. I could gather a gather a bunch of data about you:
Have you seen asymmetry in heavy lifts? The bench press where the sternum turns to the right. The squat where the left knee and left elbow stick out to the side. The deadlift stuck over on the right foot.
These happen. Often. If you haven’t noticed them, look out for them. It’s actually pretty cool.
But as a trainer, it’s frustrating. I can’t train you into that asymmetry. I can, but… what good could that possibly do? Now I have to stop you when I start to consistently see that.
But I’ve seen people shift over there almost immediately. I mean, like, rep two out of twenty. They know how to do the exercise, they just can’t. Their brains won’t let them. Why? Because ‘dey scared.
Length-tension relationship refers to the overlapping of microfilaments in a sarcomere. Heads of the myosin proteins need to grab the binding sites of actin proteins. There are two halves of one sarcomere. During muscle contraction, each side grabs a different actin molecule, then they pull each actin closer together. This happens with a BUNCH of little myosin heads and actin binding sites at the same time.
Now if the actin molecules are too far apart, there are fewer myosin heads to latch onto fewer actin binding sites. The amount of active tension the muscle can actively produce on its own is then lower. There are simply fewer molecules working. So longer lengths mean less active tension.
A similar thing happens if the muscle gets too short; you just run out of room to contract.
This portion of the length-tension relationship defines the active properties of muscles. Muscles, though, can also produce passive tension.
As length increases, passive tension also increases. This is due to elastic properties of muscle, such as the tendons and surrounding connective tissue. These tissues stretch, just like a rubber band, and then enough force is produced to overcome the active tension deficit that occurs when a muscle lengthens.
Above is a graph of the relationship.