Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
© 2020, The Author(s). Autoregulation is a process that is used to manipulate training based primarily on the measurement of an individual’s performance or their perceived capability to perform. Despite being established as a training framework since the 1940s, there has been limited systematic research investigating its broad utility. Instead, researchers have focused on disparate practices that can be considered specific examples of the broader autoregulation training framework. A primary limitation of previous research includes inconsistent use of key terminology (e.g., adaptation, readiness, fatigue, and response) and associated ambiguity of how to implement different autoregulation strategies. Crucially, this ambiguity in terminology and failure to provide a holistic overview of autoregulation limits the synthesis of existing research findings and their dissemination to practitioners working in both performance and health contexts. Therefore, the purpose of the current review was threefold: first, we provide a broad overview of various autoregulation strategies and their development in both research and practice whilst highlighting the inconsistencies in definitions and terminology that currently exist. Second, we present an overarching conceptual framework that can be used to generate operational definitions and contextualise autoregulation within broader training theory. Finally, we show how previous definitions of autoregulation fit within the proposed framework and provide specific examples of how common practices may be viewed, highlighting their individual subtleties.
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