Yeh, that is a problem with it, and lifting heavy in general. Some people have (and most develop) great body awareness and can tell when something falters. When you become a real technician with the lift you eventually learn by "feel". It takes a while, though.KenDowns wrote: My problem with this approach is that there is no objective measure of how clean your rep was, so the decision to up the weights is always open to doubt. This may be fine for some people but it would drive me crazy.
Even at that, you can still miss out if you leave it to your own judgement. For example, after that 8 week program I mentioned, when it was test week, I went for 195, which was 5kg over pre-program max. I felt like it just fell apart, and was going to stop it there and be happy with the 5kg improvement. However i had a client video it (he was just in training himself at the time) and, when I seen the video, although it wasn't "perfect", it was actually quite clean and moved a lot faster than it felt. Seeing the video is the only reason I went for 205. Otherwise I would of left it. 205 looked as messy as 195 felt.
This "housekeeping" approach was originally 100% instinctive and I would do it when I found myself mulling over certain form issues but, never really having a chance to toy around with it because I was always going for weight or rep PB's. So I would go through a few weeks of playing around with moderately heavy weights i.e. 80-85% of 1RM but keeping the reps low to make the sets easy enough to experiment.
The 3-2-1 thing was really for when I started training people and had to write down an "instinctive" approach, so I wondered how I could somehow put a progression into it, as I couldn't write "just see how it feels".
In short you are right. When training on your own you can only judge form by feel or video. For me I have a good training partner, too, who I trust to be honest and can rely on his feedback. Failing that I video it. Obviously for clients, they have me there so that variable is covered.
The idea behind getting more reps across multiple sets is to build in some kind of progression. The main issue is it's almost like a "false" progression. You may get more reps on doubles week, and even more on singles week, but it still needs to translate to more reps in one set with the starting weight, or better reps with a heavier weight. So, although you technically progress every week with it, you don't really know if you have progressed until you rep out with the original weight and nail a clean and easy 5 reps, or you go heavier and lift better than you did before....