Im one that just cant wait to get up and go to the gym. I love to feel that pump in my bis and back after six sets of chins or a sick sick leg day. I would workout everyday if it would make me stronger, quicker and bigger. But we all know the body needs rest. My question to T-Nation readers is how often do you take an all out break from your normal training schedule? That means not training/working out at all! Mentally I couldnt/havent done it. I would feel like I was losing strength and muscle. The longest Ive gone not lifting/training is about three days. Some say its good once in a while to take a full week off. I wanted to get peoples take on this issue.
I take a week off after three months of training. I am currently on a 4 day a week routine.
I actually took two weeks off after training for four months. I didn’t realize it had been that long. I had a pretty bad cold and my strength level was depleted. Also, my right shoulder was bothering me quite a bit from symptoms I think had to do with not having my usual break.
Thou I do believe that breaks are needed, I do not make a practice of planning them as life is busy enough.
For example, I suffered a very bad eye injury that now stops me from working out at all for about 2 months. If I had planed a week or 2 week rest just last week then my off time would have been longer.
Ok so this is not going to happen to everyone, but daily life will cause the time off too. Holidays, vacations, exams, work projects…just time running out once and a while.
Give it some thought.
I take a break about every 6 to 8 weeks. I find that I can avoid that run down feeling when I do this.
There are plenty of good thoeries as to why taking time off is a good thing. The followin excerpt is from Brian Haycocks site: “Hypertrophy Specific Training.” There was also an interview and an article written on T-Nation about Brian’s theories.
“4) Strategic Deconditioning
At this point, it is necessary to either increase the load (Progressive load), or decrease the degree of conditioning to the load (Strategic Deconditioning). The muscle is sensitive not only to the absolute load, but also to the change in load (up or down). Therefore, you can get a hypertrophic effect from increasing the load from a previous load, even if the absolute load is not maximum, assuming conditioning (resistance to exercise induced micro-damage) is not to extensive. There is a limit to the number of increments you can add to increase the load. You simply reach your maximum voluntary strength eventually. This is why Strategic Deconditioning is required for continued growth once growth has stopped (all things remaining equal).”
Dr. Lonnie Lowery recommends a week off from training every 7 weeks or so. I typically take a week off every 10 weeks, just because thats how long my semesters are.
The week off is important for muscle and CNS recovery. Keep eating smart, and resting a lot during the off week.
All great and informative responses. I appreciate the feedback.