The current study shows that allowing choice (autoregulation) in the context of a hypertrophy program will likely be beneficial for muscle growth if each muscle group is still trained with the same frequency, intensity, effort, number of sets, and so long as accessory exercises (in this case, exercises besides squat and bench press) are performed at least once every other week.

In terms of strength, allowing choice may enhance 1RM on a given exercise if it results in a more frequent performance of that specific lift.

Previous research has shown that some degree of choice, in and of itself, can enhance performance. Therefore, coaches are encouraged to write training programs that include some element of choice and autonomy for variables that are unlikely to have any potential negative outcome.

For example, bodybuilders can autoregulate the selection of isolation movements and powerlifters the selection of accessory movements on a session-to-session basis.

Article from MASS – Monthly Applications in Strength Sport. The best tool to stay updated on the latest fitness science and how to use it. Learn more and get a free sample at


Auto-regulated exercise selection training regimen produces small increases in lean body mass and maximal strength adaptations in strength-trained individuals. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002272.

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