sensitivity to weight and weight changes

Thread: sensitivity to weight and weight changes

1. Member
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Apr 2022
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sensitivity to weight and weight changes

Hello.

Recently, I unintentionally under-loaded the bar for my squat work sets. I then performed my first two work sets, thinking and feeling like I was achieving my scheduled progress. Then saw that I was underweight. After correcting for the third set, I could perceive no difference, and this made me curious to know if anyone tried to quantify a trainee’s conscious ability to gauge mass on the bar for any of the prescribed lifts. So, I worked out some questions:

1. How accurately can an advanced trainee guess at the load, if we assume they are able to set up ‘blind’ to the load and then perform 1 set of 1 rep? (e.g., trainee: “I perceived the load to be 320lbs., but it was actually 300lbs., so I can ‘tell’ the mass to within 7% ”)

2. What is the minimum change-in-mass they would be able to perceive/resolve, if they are ‘blind’ to the initial load, blind to the change, and performs 1 set of 1 rep at each load? (i.e., trainee: “I perceive/did not perceive a change-in-load, between sets”)

3. How precisely can they guess at blind changes in load in terms of multiples of the minimal perceptible change-in-mass? (e.g., trainee: “I perceive that the load was changed by 3 multiples of the minimal perceptible change-in-mass”)

4. How accurately can they guess at absolute changes in load, ‘blind’ to both initial and changed loads? (e.g., trainee: “I perceive that the initial load was changed by 30lbs.”)

2. Your ability to perceive weight on the bar, changes in weight, and degree of difficulty wrt its affect on bar speed is essentially shit, and it doesn't improve with experience. This is why "RPE" is a marketing scam.

3. MWM
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Feb 2019
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This varies workout to workout as well, presumably due to a combination of hundreds physiological, cognitive, emotional factors, and so on. Sometimes you feel full of energy and the weights feel light. Sometimes the weights feel crushingly heavy and you feel weak and uncoordinated, but somehow the fifth rep goes up even though it felt awful.

The same thing happens on the rowing machine, which gives you precise data on how much force you're generating. You can do an awful sprint workout on Wednesday, during which you feel so out of breath, nauseous and in so much pain that you think you must have embarrassed yourself, only to find out that you actually went faster than in the same workout you did on Monday.

4. VNV
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Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe
Your ability to perceive weight on the bar, changes in weight, and degree of difficulty wrt its affect on bar speed is essentially shit, and it doesn't improve with experience. …
Few people understand this, including myself. It’s unintuitive.

This seems to be a foundational principle of SS, and should be in the front matter of the blue book. Haven’t looked recently, so maybe it is.

5. I'll have to write an article about it.

6. Member
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Originally Posted by VNV
Few people understand this, including myself. It’s unintuitive.

This seems to be a foundational principle of SS, and should be in the front matter of the blue book. Haven’t looked recently, so maybe it is.
You tend to pick up an awareness of this reality when you regularly film your work sets. Still, it’s a hard sell and you have to be regularly reminded of it; your intuition should not be trusted.

7. VNV
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Originally Posted by Satch12879
You tend to pick up an awareness of this reality when you regularly film your work sets. Still, it’s a hard sell and you have to be regularly reminded of it; your intuition should not be trusted.
Yes. This board is the only place I’ve seen discussion about “unintuitive perception of effort” (UPE). Completely unknown to me during my first years of lifting, and unexpected later.

8. Vince, do you disagree with the observation?

9. VNV
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Not at all. I’ve experienced it myself. I think there’s also a connection with the advice to “grind” on the deadlift for at least 5 seconds. When the impossible becomes possible.

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