T Nation

Deload Week Turns into Deload Month


#1

I had some pretty great gains over the summer. I've had tons of time to experiment with two-a-days, longer rests, "grease the groove," etc.

It paid off:
-My squat went up 30kg
-I hit a new PR in bench press (my best in 3 years)
-Chin-ups increased from 6 rep sets to 15 on a good day.
-Leaner than I've ever been (~12% BF), yet gained 3 kg (~7 lb).

But then around the beginning of September, I started having more "not feeling it" days. I believe in listening to my body, so I figured I needed-- and deserved-- a deload week. I did minimal lifting and enjoyed some R&R.

But it didn't help. I continued to "not feel it," and it wasn't just in my head: When I did push myself to lift, I'd struggle with weight that I normally crush. I tried backing off more, going as low as 2x a week, using lighter loads, etc. but problems remained:

-Low max effort sets
-Weak pumps
-Headaches during/after workouts
-Lack of motivation
-Weak appetite

It's been over a month since I decided I needed to "deload," and I haven't figured out how to get back in the groove. Anyone ever experience this? How do you pull out of a performance nose-dive?


#2

Athletes take 6 - 8 week breaks all the time. This idea that you need to hit the gym 6 times per week and go at 100% at each session is crap.

Your mojo will come back, take a step back, get the work you can done and when you're ready hit it hard.


#3

no they dont

OP quit being a pussy and go back to the gym


#4

Shit like this happens. Your body will decide when it wants to go back to equilibrium. Individual recovery abilities vary.

Meanwhile, you must maintain your caloric intake despite the lack of appetite to ensure you have enough nutrients for your body to supercompensate. You can try supplementing with vitamin D, zinc and/ or L-dopa.

I am guessing you were doing high frequency lifting with high percentages of your 1rm. Don't get into a "deload" type of mindset. Lower the weights but still try to set PRs with higher reps up to 15 for the time being.


#5

Stop listening to your body. Don't let it tell you when it "feels it"; you make it feel it when you want. You are in control; your body is lying to you. You need to get back to the gym and train hard. Training harder and a savage attitude will force your body to adapt out of its comfortable malaise, not rewarding it with more lethargy.


#6

Follow a different routine, perferably one with different core lifts so that you don't freak out over strength loss. Even something simple like going from deadstop deads to touch and gos or flat bench to slight incline would be enough. You're just beating your body down with the same approach right now, something new will result in something different.


#7

Yup, nailed it. I was working up to 90+% for a set or two before doing clusters with 80%*. Supposedly that can be pretty stressful on the CNS if volume or frequency is too high. I'm glad you mentioned nutrition, I might be guilty of letting my calorie intake fall too low.

*My interpretation of CT's layering system, basically.

So how's this for an action plan?
-Eat more (i.e. go back to carb cycling)
-Swap out core lifts. I'm thinking OH Press instead of bench, front squats instead of back squats, and... Maybe deadlifts in the 6-8 rep range instead of 1-3.
-Make rep PRs instead of weight PRs for a cycle
-Eat more

Thanks for everyone's feedback (even the guy who called me a pussy). If none of that stuff works, I'll see if I can score some original formula Jack3d on the black market.


#8

See, the reason why I didn't use the term "CNS fatigue" was because subjecting your self to this belief according to conventional definitions leads you toward a self defeating mindset and your actions and results (or lack of them) will follow. You attest that your lack of calories due your current mental state is also a contributing factor. This is how the dominoes fall.

Your mind is far stronger than people give it credit for. What you should be doing at times like these is really "not be a pussy" lol. Don't back off, don't deload, don't drastically lower volume/frequency.

Figure out HOW to manage volume/intensity/frequency even in a mental rut like this.
-set rep prs up to 15-20 reps instead of 1-3rm maxes. Set one in a completely different rep scheme from what you normally do and leave the gym feeling accomplished.
-have some lighter days and use this time to focus on technique (5Ã?5 @ 65-70%)
-have some pump days where you focus on the muscle instead of the movements and work on weaknesses
-don't change up the core lifts especially if you are not advanced, unless there is sufficient similarity in the movement patterns, e.g, deficit deadlifts.

Find ways to motivate yourself to push yourself hard in the gym.
-DO NOT use stimulants.

Find ways to force yourself to eat even if you feel like shit.

Think positively. Your body will follow and it will adapt.

Heed the words of wisdom from T3hPwnisher:


#9

I get the "do what it takes" angle... "When you can't run, walk. When you can't walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving."

But my goal is to lift more weight than I've lifted before, and for some reason, my effort started achieving the opposite of that. If you're trying to drive to Alaska and you notice that you just crossed the border into Mexico, it might be worth pulling over to check a map before you put the pedal to the floor again, you know?

Do you think OH press is similar enough to bench press to warrant rotating it in as a primary? I'll do both anyway, but I'm thinking about de-emphasizing flat bench for awhile.

Pwn's words resonate-- I WILL freak out about strength loss if I keep doing the same stuff, haha.

Thanks for including the "No stimulants!" statement just in case I wasn't joking about Jack3d :stuck_out_tongue: I never really get strung out on PWO before I lift, but I do drink coffee... Does that count as something I should stop?


#10

Yup. He is right. This is what he wrote. You either use a completely different rep range with the same exercises or do a variation sufficiently similar like he wrote. Tbere are many ways you can play this.

The military press is not a good substitute for the bench press. How do you figure it can take it's place?

Coffee's fine lol. Ephedrine/ pseudoephidrine and cocaine are not.


#11

You need to periodise your training. Strength training needs to go through phases. You can't train at high intensity (% of 1RM) every session otherwise you will burn out.
Good Strength programs have a built in periodisation plan already so you just need to follow the program. Check out what Mike Robertson says about this as it fits you.

You should come back to the gym and just ease back into it. Use lighter weights and build back up. No high intensity stuff at all. Just build it up week by week until you hit your peak week then start another cycle . Training cycles could last 6 to 8 weeks in your case.
This is similar to how Andy Bolton trains and he is one of the strongest men on earth.


#12

i like that video great motivational speech


#13

Depends on the reason you were training the bench in the first place. If all you're looking at is an upperbody push, then OH press is a great choice. If I didn't compete in powerlifting, I would've switched out bench with OH press years ago. However, if you're looking for a horizontal press specifically, OHP isn't going to be as good of a choice.


#14

You never must have had good blow then.

OP: Given that it has been a month, I would say that it is NOT due to training too hard but something else. Above all make ABSOLUTELY sure that you get all the important MICRO-NUTRIENTS, especially ALL minerals. That shit can make or break anyone.

If the body gets all that it needs you can PUNISH it with ridiculous training without breaking down. However, if you fuck the former up, standard training can beat you down.


#15

"upperbody push"? Wud? There is a very simple and bloody obvious difference between OHP and the bench press. The former does not involve the pecs much at all and is almost all anterior delts. The primary muscle drivers for the BP are the anterior delts, pecs, and triceps. So it should be obvious why the two should NOT really be seen as substitutes for each other.

Most of the time you say some dumb or at least cryptic shit.


#16

mythical strength good reading


#17

You and I tend to not agree on things.


#18

Thanks man, much appreciated. It's been a fun project.


#19

So you think I am wrong here? You make it sound like the issue at hand is a matter of opinion.


#20

LOL. Both of you seriously need to get together one day in real life and have a nice blow party.