T Nation

Detraining and Meet Coming Up


#1

Alright, I've taken 11 days off to hopefully recover from what I think might've been CNS fatigue. Meet be at the 2nd weekend of October. I'm currently 18 weeks out. Had a training session today and my god, it felt absolutely horrible. Basically, I did 85% of my training max(90% of my actual max) and it just felt ridiculously heavy.

Maybe it might just be a bad workout but this isn't the first time I've encountered something like this, the last time I took a full week off, it took me around 2-3 weeks before the movements felt "not weird". As of right now, I just feel off groove, as if I'm learning the movements for the first time, all over again. Stats before my break were a 150kgs squat, 92.5kgs bench, 152.5kgs deadlift.

As for the meet aspect of this forum post, I'm planning to use the first 6 weeks to get back into the groove of things and run a smolov squat cycle to peak my squat for the meet. Running a smolov squat cycle cause I'm hoping to break the squat record for either my weight class or the one above it. National records for u74 sub-junior at 165kgs squat, 100.5kgs bench, 225kgs deadlift. Records for u83 junior be at 170kgs squat, 115kgs bench, 212.5kgs deadlift.

As of right now, I can say that I am planning to mostly neglect my deadlift to get the squat/bench record. Would it be ridiculous for me to bulk up to u83 in 18 weeks since the squat records between the two weight classes is just 5kg apart? I'm currently around 75kgs.

TLDR: Weak after 2 weeks off. Meet in 18 weeks. Planning to run smolov(12 weeks) after 6 weeks of re-familiarization with the movement. 75kgs as of right now, should I bulk to u83?


#2

I have definitely felt this way before. My question is, if your feeling burned out, why run smolov? Have you tried a lower volume program in the past?

edit: What I mean is, have you just found that your body only responds to the higher volume of squats? I wouldn’t want to run the risk of burning out when the meet nears.


#3

[quote]Alrightmiami19c wrote:
I have definitely felt this way before. My question is, if your feeling burned out, why run smolov? Have you tried a lower volume program in the past?

edit: What I mean is, have you just found that your body only responds to the higher volume of squats? I wouldn’t want to run the risk of burning out when the meet nears.[/quote]

Out of desperation, I guess. I want the squat record that badly.


#4

[quote]Benanything wrote:

[quote]Alrightmiami19c wrote:
I have definitely felt this way before. My question is, if your feeling burned out, why run smolov? Have you tried a lower volume program in the past?

edit: What I mean is, have you just found that your body only responds to the higher volume of squats? I wouldn’t want to run the risk of burning out when the meet nears.[/quote]

Out of desperation, I guess. I want the squat record that badly.[/quote]

desperation rarely works. Do what it takes to get stronger, but consider the fact that there are many, many world class lifters who have never run Smolov. For myself, I added 100 lbs to my squat in 4 months this year, training it once a week for a couple months, and twice a week for the other 2 months. Relatively low volume. With no real plan other than to work hard and see what happens.

18 weeks is a long time. You should be able to accomplish a lot in that period. Don’t worry about weight class for now though. That’s largely irrelevant. Get as strong as you can possibly be, and then figure out which weight class is likely to be best for you when you’re about a month out.


#5

I understand you want to reach those goals but you can only push as quick as your body will allow and take what you can get (through auto-regulation). Forcing yourself to make progress at a certain rate can be detrimental when it causes significant form breakdown and over taxes your recovery abilities. I’ve forced myself to hit numbers for a long time and it doesn’t work well when I’m pushing too hard.

I wouldn’t recommend Smolov unless you’ve already spent time using somewhat high frequency/volume work. It’s very difficult for your body to adapt if it’s too big of a jump. Did you use a lot of volume when doing 5/3/1?

If you want to acclimate to the higher volume I would suggest doing something like Sheiko 29 or 37 and then Smolov with the 2 week intro.


#6

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
For myself, I added 100 lbs to my squat in 4 months this year, training it once a week for a couple months, and twice a week for the other 2 months.[/quote]

I wish I could win the training lotto like that.


#7

[quote]lift206 wrote:

I wouldn’t recommend Smolov unless you’ve already spent time using somewhat high frequency/volume work. It’s very difficult for your body to adapt if it’s too big of a jump. Did you use a lot of volume when doing 5/3/1?

[/quote]

I did the big 3 + 1(press) at varying percentages ( 75-85%) 4 times a week for anywhere from 3x3 to 5x3 for 3 months on top of my 5/3/1 program. So it would look something like 5/3/1 Squat, 85% Press 3x3, 80% Deadlift 3x3, 75% Bench, 3x3.


#8

[quote]Benanything wrote:

[quote]lift206 wrote:

I wouldn’t recommend Smolov unless you’ve already spent time using somewhat high frequency/volume work. It’s very difficult for your body to adapt if it’s too big of a jump. Did you use a lot of volume when doing 5/3/1?

[/quote]

I did the big 3 + 1(press) at varying percentages ( 75-85%) 4 times a week for anywhere from 3x3 to 5x3 for 3 months on top of my 5/3/1 program. So it would look something like 5/3/1 Squat, 85% Press 3x3, 80% Deadlift 3x3, 75% Bench, 3x3.[/quote]

What about assistance work? If you were doing the BBB template and consistently getting 50 reps on the assistance work to maintain higher volume then I can see the transition being easier.


#9

[quote]lift206 wrote:

[quote]Benanything wrote:

[quote]lift206 wrote:

I wouldn’t recommend Smolov unless you’ve already spent time using somewhat high frequency/volume work. It’s very difficult for your body to adapt if it’s too big of a jump. Did you use a lot of volume when doing 5/3/1?

[/quote]

I did the big 3 + 1(press) at varying percentages ( 75-85%) 4 times a week for anywhere from 3x3 to 5x3 for 3 months on top of my 5/3/1 program. So it would look something like 5/3/1 Squat, 85% Press 3x3, 80% Deadlift 3x3, 75% Bench, 3x3.[/quote]

What about assistance work? If you were doing the BBB template and consistently getting 50 reps on the assistance work to maintain higher volume then I can see the transition being easier.[/quote]

I’ve ran the BBB template at 60%-70% for assistance work for 4 months and I got most if not all of the reps in.


#10

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

[quote]Benanything wrote:

[quote]Alrightmiami19c wrote:
I have definitely felt this way before. My question is, if your feeling burned out, why run smolov? Have you tried a lower volume program in the past?

edit: What I mean is, have you just found that your body only responds to the higher volume of squats? I wouldn’t want to run the risk of burning out when the meet nears.[/quote]

Out of desperation, I guess. I want the squat record that badly.[/quote]

desperation rarely works. Do what it takes to get stronger, but consider the fact that there are many, many world class lifters who have never run Smolov. For myself, I added 100 lbs to my squat in 4 months this year, training it once a week for a couple months, and twice a week for the other 2 months. Relatively low volume. With no real plan other than to work hard and see what happens.

18 weeks is a long time. You should be able to accomplish a lot in that period. Don’t worry about weight class for now though. That’s largely irrelevant. Get as strong as you can possibly be, and then figure out which weight class is likely to be best for you when you’re about a month out.[/quote]

This. Just because high volume works for some doesn’t mean it has to for you; not to mention I get the impression a bunch of guys who say high volume worked for them may not have been working hard enough at low volume and the high volume simply made them work at the rate they need to (I’m not saying at all that people who succeed using high volume are lazy, I just think a lot of lifters at some point don’t push hard enough and high volume is a way of reeducating them).

You seem to work yourself pretty hard so maybe you don’t need all that volume?

I seem to be one of those guys who don’t do so well with high volume after about six weeks, and out of that period I do better backing off the volume and just hitting the lifts heavy once a week or so. You may be the same.

The other thing with focusing on squat and bench is that you shouldn’t forget your squat and DL can feed of each other very nicely. Again, this is just me, but I have yet to find myself only getting stronger at one of the two - and in the same vein, if one is shitty, the other tends that way as well. I guess is comes down to how your squat, though. I’m a wide stance, all back of my body squatter so the DL really drives it. I can see if you’re a narrower squatter with more quad dominance that the transfer would be smaller, but it’d still be there.

Overall, just relax and trust that you’ll get stronger as long as you work hard consistently if you let yourself recover. Smolov has a reputation as insanely taxing so might not be the best option.

Just in my own experience, this has what has worked to bring my squat up:

  • go heavy once a week, working up to two heavy singles
  • deadlift heavy regularly
  • work on your speed for squats as well
  • if you want to squat more frequently, use variations (paused front squats are a favourite for me, high box squats if you stall midway)
  • if you compete wrapped, squat wrapped but not too often (once a fortnight at most works for me so far), and only above 90%
  • use heavy clusters once a week for short periods of three to four weeks

#11

Another question on a slightly unrelated topic, how much do y’all get out of knee sleeves (I use SBDs) and a belt? Is it a huge difference?


#12

[quote]Benanything wrote:
Another question on a slightly unrelated topic, how much do y’all get out of knee sleeves (I use SBDs) and a belt? Is it a huge difference?[/quote]

I don’t think I get anything out of my rehband sleeves which are pretty tight, outside of them making my knees happier. People who say they get like 10lbs out of them or whatever are probably just making that up


#13

[quote]cparker wrote:

[quote]Benanything wrote:
Another question on a slightly unrelated topic, how much do y’all get out of knee sleeves (I use SBDs) and a belt? Is it a huge difference?[/quote]

I don’t think I get anything out of my rehband sleeves which are pretty tight, outside of them making my knees happier. People who say they get like 10lbs out of them or whatever are probably just making that up[/quote]
I have a loose pair of Rehbands and a tight (“competition fit” according to their sizing chart) pair of SBDs. The SBDs definitely feel better, but neither adds anything to my squat. If you got some that were 3 sizes too small and took 4 Russian coaches to help you put them on then fmight be another story, which is why IPF now says you have to be able to put on your knee sleeves yourself. Knee sleeves are more for comfort and maybe injury prevention than for anything else.

As far as belts, lately I have been doing a lot of beltless work and now my beltless lifts are pretty close to my lifts with a belt. If you are using the belt to support your spine rather than using your abs and erectors then you are asking for trouble, for me it’s kind of like a “pressure gauge” that lets me know how tight I am. I find it useful on bench as well, it definitely doesn’t add anything but I never get loose. Without a belt on it seems like keeping your abs tight is just one more thing to focus on, with the belt I tend to stay tight automatically. Since you’re allowed to use it in competition, why would you not?


#14

I don’t think that Smolov is a good idea unless you are used to insane volume and are taking some “special supplements”. I have heard of more injuries, burn-outs, and complete failures from Smolov than anything positive, it’s just not a reasonable program. A regular person can’t progress at that rate. It was originally designed for Olympic lifters whose leg strength was holding them back, as far as I know you are not meant to do anything but squat during that time.

You would be better off increasing volume and maybe frequency at a modest rate, anything too drastic is likely to have negative effects. You are already fatigued, so concentrate on getting stronger and not wearing yourself out again. More volume isn’t good if you can’t recover, and some people don’t respond well to high volume.


#15

IMO, the argument between low vs high volume is overrated. I would love to do a study on this where you break down lifters into strength classifications: Class IV, Class III, Class II, Class I, Master, Elite, International Elite; break it down even further with light, medium, heavy weight lifters; and then categorize into low or high volume. Ask the entire lifting community to provide the entire training cycle volume (set x rep x intensity) and total length of cycle (including deload) to provide a volume/week average. I would predict that the volume/week average isn’t that much different between low and high volume programs, I would guess less than 30%. I find it hard to believe an international elite heavy weight lifter doing a “high” volume program would be doing over twice as much volume as an international elite heavy weight lifter doing a “low” volume program, assuming they are technically proficient in all the movements.

For me, I’m finishing up my third Smolov base cycle this week (over a 26 week period) and plan to hit a max next week. I am not over estimating my max as some often do and I’ve learned to auto-regulate in case I don’t recover fast enough or I set my max to high. When looking at the details, I’m only training hard for 3 weeks out of 6 when doing Smolov (2 week intro and 1 week deload before max). Whereas I’m training hard for 6 weeks out of 6 when doing Sheiko. The volume isn’t drastically different. I haven’t felt close to injury since improving on technique and learning what my limits are.

With that said, I’m not advocating people do what I do. They have to program within their work capacity and do what makes gains. Too much volume or too little is non-optimal and that varies for everyone. The argument of low vs high volume is pointless.

I’m probably getting about a 10-15 lb increase on squat from each cycle and some may say it’s not worth the effort but that’s all really just preference. Eventually I may have to train 5 days a week for 2+ hours each day and I’m okay with that.


#16

[quote]Benanything wrote:
I’ve ran the BBB template at 60%-70% for assistance work for 4 months and I got most if not all of the reps in.[/quote]

You might be able to do it but just understand that you are taking a risk doing a new program that you don’t have experience with so it’s hard to know exactly how you’ll respond. Gains are never guaranteed - only likely or unlikely and you get a better idea with experience.


#17

[quote]Benanything wrote:
Another question on a slightly unrelated topic, how much do y’all get out of knee sleeves (I use SBDs) and a belt? Is it a huge difference?[/quote]

I feel like I get a confidence boost with SBDs over Rehbands. I would say that confidence boost is worth 2 lbs if I had to put a number to it.


#18

[quote]chris_ottawa wrote:

[quote]cparker wrote:

[quote]Benanything wrote:
Another question on a slightly unrelated topic, how much do y’all get out of knee sleeves (I use SBDs) and a belt? Is it a huge difference?[/quote]

I don’t think I get anything out of my rehband sleeves which are pretty tight, outside of them making my knees happier. People who say they get like 10lbs out of them or whatever are probably just making that up[/quote]
I have a loose pair of Rehbands and a tight (“competition fit” according to their sizing chart) pair of SBDs. The SBDs definitely feel better, but neither adds anything to my squat. If you got some that were 3 sizes too small and took 4 Russian coaches to help you put them on then fmight be another story, which is why IPF now says you have to be able to put on your knee sleeves yourself. Knee sleeves are more for comfort and maybe injury prevention than for anything else.

…belts… Since you’re allowed to use it in competition, why would you not?[/quote]

Totally agree on the belt thing. Belts can certainly add a substantial amount of weight to your max on both deadlift and squat, and they’re legal in every raw federation that I’m aware of. I’ve never heard of beltless competition. Not EVERYBODY performs substantially better with one, but I’d say well over 99% of lifters do. Maybe 1 in 1000 does not, if that. You’ll have to practice quite a bit with using a belt, proper tightness, bracing etc, but well worth doing for competition.

I love my SBD sleeves, and only recently have been training without them. My meet tomorrow doesn’t allow sleeves in its raw division, so I had to get used to that. The main benefit I get out of them is in warm ups and rep work though. I can get warm, and stay warm, much quicker with them on. And rep work is much easier/more comfortable. I feel like my knee tracking is better with them on, so I don’t have to focus on that so much on a high rep set. As others have said though, it’s doubtful you’ll get add to your true max with them, unless they’re illegally tight.


#19

[quote]Benanything wrote:
Another question on a slightly unrelated topic, how much do y’all get out of knee sleeves (I use SBDs) and a belt? Is it a huge difference?[/quote]

Knee sleeves add precisely nothing, but make a big comfort difference to me. I use Eleikos, and they’ve gotten tighter as my legs got bigger but that hasn’t given me any extra pop like wraps do.

Belt gives me a bunch in a squat and conventional DL, more because I find it easier to get and keep tight wearing a belt, the pressure in my gut is so much greater when I take my air. I think there’s also a confidence increase for me wearing a nice tight belt that makes a big difference. For sumo I don’t feel like a belt helps as much, and I rarely wear one to bench because of how pathetically light my bench is.


#20

OP, I’ll be blunt with this: running a super-compensation program that will leave you little room for volume progression later on is rash. And junior records are really only a reflection of how long someone has been lifting. Worrying about a record like that when the open record in your weight class is nearly twice it doesn’t seem very productive to me, and you’ll get a lot stronger in the long run focusing on the latter.