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Difficulties with Recovering from Training

I have difficulties recovering from my training. I have sleep apnea which is very difficult to get under control. I tried CPAP for 18 months but that didn’t work. Now using an MRA which helps some. Still it’s far from optimal. On average I go to bed at 11PM and get up at 7AM. I try to get to bed 15 to 30min earlier, from now on.

I’m 39, 1m74, 91kg and ~20% BF
(Re)Started training since September 2014. (after 3 years of training and a 4 year hiatus)
I train 3 times a week using this variation on the 531 program:
day 1 : squat: main DL: BBB
day 2: bench: main OH press: BBB
day 3: DL: main squat: BBB
day 4: OH press : main bench : BBB

One cycle looks like this: (Beyond 531)
Wave a (main = 3x3+ and joker sets, BBB = 5x3, assistance)
Wave b (main = 3x5, BBB = 5x5, assistance)
Wave c (main = 5-3-1+ and joker singles, BBB = 5x3, assistance)
add 5kg to TM squat and DL and 2,5kg to BP and oh press
Wave d (main = 3x3+ and joker sets, BBB = 5x3, assistance)
Wave e (main = 3x5, BBB = 5x5, assistance)
Wave f (main = 5-3-1+ and joker singles, BBB = 5x3, assistance)
Wave g (main = warm up, done)
add 5kg to TM squat and DL and 2,5kg to BP and oh press

Now I would like to add a speed/explosive wave in between wave c and d. I would do only the main lift for 6 sets of 2 at about 75%TM. Every rep very explosive.
Would that help my recovery? (I have no experience with specific speed work and how that taxes the body)Would that week have an adverse effect on the rest of the training cycle?
Or should I just go for an extra recovery wave like wave g? (as per the original 531 program)

I’m afraid that taking too many recovery weeks will adversely effect the training- effect and halt all progress.

I notice that when I’m off from work for a few weeks, I’m almost constantly breaking PR’s during wave c and f.I stay in bed for 9 to 9,5 hours during these periods. It’s just not possible to do that when I have to go to work. (it’s nice to have some kind of life besides working and training :wink: )

Do pr sets + jokers and BBB in separate 2 cycle blocks. They are not meant to be done at the same time since they address different areas in training.

Couple other things:

  • what are these waves? Training weeks? Search from here 5 forward 3 back- protocol and use logic behind that. I f you like to do different training weeks in one cycle search for SVR II, it did miracles to my deadlift last fall.

  • ALL reps in this program should be explosive (specially the supplemental work), speed work does not help with recovery, active recovery, eating and sleeping does.

Think of it this way: you should be able to hit 5/3/1 for 4-7 weeks (depending on which cycle you’re on) before needing deload. To make this happen use the recovery methods Jim has wrote about and do different templates in different cycles, not simultaneously.

Please provide details on your light conditioning, how much hard conditioning you’re doing, your fat intake and mobility work.

I’d also be interested in what you think your work capacity is like? Could you superset supplementary and assistance work without dying?

@ tsantos: To be honnest, I don’t have the energy nor time to do anything on top of the training program I posted.
So no extra conditioning.
I do some stretching and foamrolling from time to time. I try to stretch every day.

I did some conditioning in the past and the result was the 4 year hiatus in training. I almost died from over-exhaustion.

I do supersets for assistance. For instance 58 RDL + decline crunches or 5RM chin-up + dips …

@ Rattus:
1 wave is 4 training days. 1 week is 3 training days.

I’m sorry but I don’t really get what you mean by doing the rep-out PR’s and BBB in 2 different cycles.Should I just do the waves/weeks of the 531 and follow that by a cycle of BBB (55 // 53)?How would that work with the 55 and 33 sets? ! wave of 55 and 1 wave of 33 and then back to the 531 work?
Edit: I think I found what you mean in “Beyond 531”. Is it like the 5x3 template mentioned there?
Yes, that would better for my recovery. What I do now looks way harder (too much?) then that template.

The 5 forward 3 back looks interesting … if I ever get to the end of a 5th cycle. :wink: That’s the 7 week cycles. Or I get over-exhausted or I get injured. The injuries might be a result of the exhaustion. They are never too bad but they do prevent me from continuing with the next cycle. I have to take it easy on the squat or DL for some weaks, for instance.Doing the 4 week cycles might be not such a bad idea when I look at it. Then the 5 forward 3 back might work very well in the long term.

There are dozens of examples on this forum of how to program your training and how to increase recovery. Please check them out.

Hi Jim,
Yes, I noticed that my variation might be a little too much of heavy volume training.
I’ll have to re-read your book (thanks for writing!), because I now notice that there’s many more interesting variations in there that I forgot about. I’m sure I’ll find something that will fit my needs.
The SVR II variation (as suggested by rattus) looks good. Can I add the BBB 5x3 to that?

With regards to that 5x3 template: I do add 5kg to the squat and DL and 2,5kg to the BP and OH press after 3 waves? This means that the BBB weights are still calculated from the calculated TM of that particular wave, right?

What do I do during the weeks off work were I can get in some extra hours of sleep? Do I just enjoy the stellar weeks and carry on as if they were weeks like any other, or should I go for some serious PRs?
If I go for those PRs, where do I calculate my TM from for the next cycles? I guess I should take the numbers from the latest “normal” week.

I’ll check out other topics on this forum too.

I strongly recommend doing all ready templates (such as SVR II) just as they are written. Push the PR sets hard and you’ll be amazed of the results.

Yes, SVR II looks really interesting. In the long run it will work much better.

Although I’m still setting new PR’s and I get the BBB done, I notice that exhaustion is setting in. I don’t think I can go on very long like this.

I don’t think it too.
As written on this forum, BBB is done for volume. PR’s are done for strenght.
Both should not be done in a same cycle.
The same with conditioning: if you push your volume by doing BBB, you should not do maximum conditioning of the hell. Choise the point you want to emphasize (strenght, volume or conditioning) and keep the other a little bit low.

I’m not the author, english is not my main language and I’m a beginner. Just for saying.

So when I do BBB (the 5x3 variation looks most interesting to me) I don’t go for PR’s in the 5+,3+ or 1+ sets?
I just keep it at the minimum prescribed reps? Isn’t that against what is prescribed in Beyond 531?

And if I go for the PR sets in the 5+,3+ and1+ sets, what do I do with the BBB sets? Skip them?

“LittleMilo” has got it down.

There must be something that get’s lost in translation. (I speak Dutch :wink: )

How do I add BBB to the program then? I do BBB for just one (or a few) cycles?
What does the 531 work look like during that cycle? No rep-outs?

Lets say I take the standard 531 program.
week 1: 3x5 (last set = go for PR in reps), add joker sets if feeling good, FSL (maybe for rep-out PR?), assistance (3x8 or so?)
week 2: 3x3 (last set = go for PR in reps), add joker sets if feeling good, FSL (maybe for rep-out PR?), assistance (3x8 or so?)
week 3: 1x5, 1x3, 1x1+ (go for PR in reps), add joker sets if feeling good (go for new 1RM?), FSL (maybe for rep-out PR?), assistance (3x8 or so?)
If I do that, I do not add any BBB to that?

When I add BBB 5x3, it would look like this?
week 1: 3x5, add joker sets if feeling good, FSL, BBB 5x3, assistance (3x8 or so?)
week 2: 3x3, add joker sets if feeling good, FSL, BBB 5x3, assistance (3x8 or so?)
week 3: 1x5, 1x3, 1x1, add joker sets if feeling good (go for new 1RM?), FSL, BBB 5x3, assistance (3x8 or so?)

If no BBB, I do every lift just once a week? (I like my BBB to be the opposite exercise squat <> DL, bench <> OH press)

Looking at the template you detailed I assume you have Jim’s “Beyond” book, as that is Template 2 (p18) and you are doing it on the 3days/wk option.

If so, where do you get these “waves” with jokers and singles and BBB= 5x3 from?

If you want to do BBB why not just follow the program as written in the book?

The book says to add jokers and FSL. So I add jokers. (I didn’t add FSL in my current program)
The book also says that in the 5x5 week the jokers can be sets of 5 (+5% or 10%TM), in the 3x3 week it’s sets of 3 and in the 531 week it can be singles.
There’s also a BBB 5x3 variation (p22) in the book. (first 6 waves 5x10, deload, 6 waves 5x5, deload, 6 waves 5x3)
I’m already doing a lot of 5x3 so I guess I can start with the 5x3 right away … but starting at 5x10 looks appealing.

So, when doing BBB, it’s just 531 (no rep-outs?) + BBB sets. No jokers, no FSL, no other assistance?
You do BBB for a few cycles, or in case of the 5x3 variation it’s 3 x 7wave cycle?
Then you stop BBB and go for strength = add jokers, FSL, assistance OR go for SVR II OR some other variation of 531 but NO BBB sets anymore? Every lift will be done just once every wave in this case.

While currently I’m doing rep-outs AND BBB work AND joker sets AND assistance. Which you all say is not a good idea.
Looking at what I’m doing now and what I understand that you advise me to do, training will be fairly easy in the future.

That’s just a small exemple of what you can find on this forum. Probably that almost every question has already found an answer in all the messages on this forum.

This post makes things very clear.

Here Jim says that week 3 in the SVR II program is 75%x5, 85%x5, 95%x5, 100-105%xPR set, 3 sets of 3-5 reps @ 85%.
Is that correct or a typo?
I mean 95%x5, is that realistic?

If you follow the principles of the program, yes. If not, no.

The principles drive the program. Embrace them and you’ll be fine.

OK, I just wasn’t 100% sure.
Currently I’m hitting 3 to 6 reps in the 5/3/1 week in the 1+ set. But since everybody tells me my program is combining strength and volume like crazy I might be able to hit the 5 reps @ 95% when just sticking to your SVR II program.

I was now thinking about doing 2 7week cycles of SVR II (1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, deload, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, deload) followed by the BBB 13 week challenge. And then probably start with the SVR II again.
Is that a good idea?

And you still haven’t done your homework. Read!!! I’m not asking for much but you’ll gain a lot.