T Nation

2-3 Weeks Forced Stop, How to Start Back


I’ve been ill since previous Monday (10 days ago) due to an infection. I first had to take an antibiotic that makes tendons/articulations much weaker (so no sport allowed at all) for a week, then the last few days I started to have fever, migraine, nausea, weakness, lack of appetite, difficult sleep and so on.
I need to keep on taking the same antibiotic up until next Monday, then when my exams are ready I’ll see what I need to do and if I can move to a lighter therapy.

So best case scenario I’ll be able to hit the gym again about mid of next week, otherwise more like the week after the next one. I was running Leviathan before I had to stop due to this shitty situation, I didn’t eat properly/enough in these days and I did no physical activity except going to work cause I was too drained from the infection symptoms and the antibiotic side effects.

What would be a smart way to get back to training without wasting too much time but still in a safe way?
I was thinking about going back one step with the TM I was using before and run one cycle of 5’s Pro + 5x5FSL, so it would be 3 weeks with a lighter TM and program, then the 4th week increase the TM back to what I was using and do the TM test and see from there.


You could do that- I usually come back and start with the de-load week and see how it goes. Once I missed 20 days- flu - lost like 10 pounds - came back and did the de-load and moved on with no problems. You could just reoeat your last cycle; or just do the required % and wait a week or two before pushing the last set. In general though - I have found that strength loss after a layoff of only a few weeks is all in my head. I could see if it were a month or something.
Good luck


Thanks a lot, you’re right, it makes sense to come back with the deload week and see from there. First time I’ve been sick in years and definitely feeling like I suddenly became a weakling, had the suspect it was in my head, hope it’s true


Ok, there’s something wrong going on.
Last week I did deload - it went good, except on the last day, squat day. The 1 rep at 100% TM felt heavy. Also, I had DOMS in my lower body both after deads day and squat day. I blamed the fact that I trained in the morning with suboptimal sleep for the squat day.

This week, I did the TM test week with the same TM I was using before the stop.
Yesterday I did press, it went good - I’d dare to say it went BETTER than when I did it before the stop.
Today, I did deads and it was a complete disaster. At 90%TM, I had to hit 5 reps, I hit 4, was pulling mixed grip and on the 5th rep I rotated and had to lower the bar when it was close to the knee.
I thought it was a one off, and tried to do TMx5 - I got one rep. Had to lower the bar on the second rep. My legs felt incredibly heavy and I felt the load went all to the lower back immediatly.
I’ve NEVER felt my legs so heavy doing deads, it was like they were extremely contracted but at the same time they weren’t pushing shit, just contracted like hell and doing no work.
Basically, my previous TM (which was in the low 85%, probably about 80%) just became my 1RM.
I don’t think it’s in my mind cause the Press test went good and today I was absolutely sure I would have had no issues getting the 5 reps.

It seems too much of a coincidence that my legs give up so quickly as they did on squat day and this deadlift day, and that my lower body has DOMS from a deload week.
The lower body is exactly where the antibiotic caused weakness and tendonitis in the previous weeks and today I feel I’ve made a step towards an herniated disc.

I don’t really know what to do now, I’ll go on with this TM test week for sure and see what I get, especially on squat day, but I don’t really feel confident restarting Leviathan, even with tweaked TMs.
I think I’ll go back two cycles on deads and eventually on the other lifts that need to be reset, then run 1-2 cycles of 5’s Pro, 5x5FSL and do another TM test to see what I get.

I’d speak with my medic about it but he’d tell me not to workout while waiting for the side effects of the antibiotic to go away, which is bullshit, since he’s been saying the same thing for weeks now. I simply refuse to wait for a non finite amount of time until things magically settle.
Side note, from a visit I’ve done a few days ago it emerged that it wasn’t an infection but a very strong inflammation, so the fucking antibiotic wasn’t even necessary.


just make sure the antiobitic that you took wasnt a flourquinolone(sp)(like cipro)…it has been shown to increase tendon tears(from expierence as well as strength athletes Chris Duffin & Brandon Lily) do your research on sides from antibiotics


It was ciproxin indeed. I took it twice a day for a week, then once a day another week. It gave me some mild tendonitis and light knee pain when I took it.
My medic told me to wait 2 weeks before the side effects went away, and I did, now at rest I feel fine, but working out it seems like legs don’t respond and get fatigued immediatly. I have no clue how long should I wait and what should I do in the meanwhile (neither does my medic, as it’s painfully obvious).


back off the supplemental work for a cycle and just do 5’s pro - at least for the squat/deads. You’ll get back to your normal strength in a cycle or two. Two to three cycles (6-9 weeks) is not that big a set back in the grand scheme of things. I would lower your TM, do 5’s pro with no supplemental until you can move the weight again with confidence.


Keeping assistance at 50-100 reps per category on squats/deads day?
Also, my doubt it - should I hammer the legs with assistance work (i.e. leg press, romanian deads, goblet squats and such) or back off on leg work?
I don’t understand if doing leg work should help or should be avoided.


that’s up to you. I would do lower back and ab work as I’m not a fan of doing a lot of single leg work unless it’s body weight (like 25-50 single leg squats per leg). I never hammer my legs with assistance - they get enough from training the mail lifts. Also note that my TM in the squat is 440, so that’s why I stick to abs/lower back for that category.


We’re on the same page about leg work. I use assistance leg work only in those programs that don’t have supplemental work, usually, like 25-50 SLDL/goblets when the program asks for 50-100 reps, rest is ab work.

I was thinking, since my upper body seems to be working fine, should I take the chance to try and push the press and bench somehow?
Something like:

Press - 5’s Pro, 5x5FSL
Deads - 5’s Pro; Bench 5x5FSL
Bench - 5’s Pro, 5x5FSL
Squats - 5’s Pro, Press 5x5FSL

on the usual 4 days split.
Or any other way I could push the upper body a bit more (chicken legs here I come), dunno, trying to see the glass half full


just do w/e program you’re doing, ease off the supplemental and push forward. Personally, I do 5’s pro, BBB@FSL for Bench and Press, but do 3x5@FSL for squat, and 5x5 or 10x5@FSL for deadlift.

Just ease back into things - you don’t need to up the intensity for one thing just because you lower the intensity for another.


Not to sound like a complete pussy, but I was running Leviathan, every week requires to work up in triples and hit a single with the TM. It’s not hard usually but it gets intensive and I don’t feel confident at all doing it, even if I take the TM back 2-3 cycles on deads and squats.
I only did two weeks of it before stopping, so was thinking to pull back to a different and lighter program until I’m back to normal


So when you guys say you get your strength back to normal, I assume that means you feel like you’re able to do the weight you did before but not that you adjust your TM to what it used to be, right? Otherwise, that would imply you ignore Jim’s rule about incrementing only up to 5/10 lbs per cycle for respective movement.


I went back 2-3 cycles (3 on deads, 2 on squats, if memory serves) and worked back from there with the usual TM increases, I’ll be back to the pre-stop TMs in a few weeks now, so there was no need to jump ahead with the increases.
I do feel I could use the same TM I used before, but I’m not increasing it until the normal progression kicks in