T Nation

How is Taking a Week Off Supposed to Make You Stronger?


I recently took a week off, and the same thing happens as always..I come back, and I lose a rep on every single exercise. Not a huge loss, but I'm definitely not stronger. For those that are proponents of taking a week off every 6 or 8 weeks or whatever, what's your logic? I've had 2 year stretches where I don't take a week off and I seem to do just fine. [bitter over wasting a week]


well it depends on what you were doing before you took a week off. I take a week off after doing heavy volume workouts or extremely high rep workouts. It takes me a session or two to break some PR's, but I usually end up stronger than I left off.


the point is to take a week off every 12 weeks is to rest your CNS system (central nervous system) Your muscles will heal up from 3-10 days, but your cns takes alot longer.

I usually come back stonger i.e everything i do is up 2.5kgs..


Pesonally, I've taken a long weekend off. That is , thusday,friday,sat,sunday. I've taken a week off before, I just feel unless your totally wiped(depressed,not hungry, etc) it does you no good. The long weekend seems to work perfectly for me for both my muscles and nervous system.


Taking a week off only works if your over-training.


I've personally never taken a week "off". Sometimes I'll just reduce volume for a week, or I'll drop all BB benching/deadlifting/back squatting for a week and just do accessory work. This has worked very well for me in the past. Diffrn't strokes for diffrn't folks.


Some people shouldn't be allowed to internet.


I take a week off to give my joints a break. I'll still go in and lift, but it's exercises I rarely do, and no sets lower than 12. I also try to keep it under 40 mins.

My 'week' off is also pretty much a 4 session stretch of light lifting.


It also depends on your split.

If you train bodyparts only once a week, then "one week off" winds up being not training a bodypart again till the 14th day after. That is probably too long.

If training bodyparts 2x/week, then it might be the 10th day after, which is more reasonable.


Also, you don't have to take the whole week off. You can decrease volume and intensity but still be active with the weights, perhaps 1-2 whole body sessions.

Granted, since I've gotten the BBing bug again, I haven't taken a planned week off, screw that. Vacations occur, sickness occurs, that's my time off


Fuck taking a week off...if I start to really stall on everything I might do a week of not going to failure, but I never take weeks off. No thanks.


Instead of taking a week completely out of the gym, try just changing how you train for that week. Focus more on cardio, foam rolling, stretching, prehab/rehab work and other crap you don't do but should. When I take down time I usually break out my X Vest or my jury rigged sledge hammer (cheap barbell with weight and clips at just one end) and go down to the beach and beat up the sand with it, do some heavy pushing/pulling stuff or carries, or throwing weights around at the beach as well. And in the gym I'll do some HIIT, band work on my shoulders, a lot of stretching and foam rolling.

Hope that helped in some way...


like synny said, its just to give your CNS a break. I do take weeks off, but I don't take them off EVERY 6 weeks strictly. I just keep going, till I feel like I'm burning out, or my workouts aren't as effective or productive.

Another thing that could've caused a problem for you is diet. Were you still eating as much on your off week as you were before? If not, that's your fatal flaw. Even though you aren't lifting, a week off is suppose to be a time to rebuild. If you don't keep your body fueled properly, you're right, you are wasting a week. Its like trying to build a brick house with no bricks.


It can be helpful, though I agree with the others. I take some days of whenever I feel a bit fatigued, and take week off, when I feel that something fried my neurons deep. I don't really like the "scheduled rest week" system, where you take weeks off every 6-8 weeks, even if you feel motivated and energized. And what happens, if after 2-3 weeks after the break you feel ran down, and exhausted?


hmmm. I took a week off recently when I was out of town and set some PRs when I got back. I was surprised but maybe it just means I need to take days off more frequently. I don't usually take any off until I feel the need.


Taking off a week is no big deal, I took off months at a time. (If you want to keep progressing then maybe you shouldn't though). How many people actually over train and how many hours per day would it take to over train?


thanks! great post, everyone really, great ideas


That's a good point too. I eat like a horse, and I'm on a heavy/light upper/lower split....pretty hard to overtrain on that type of split taking in 4000 calories/day


I dont want to be over-technical, but its OVER-REACHING.

I take 3-7 days off or do a "deload" week every 3 weeks, and have had a bunch of people on here tell me it isn't necessary. For me, it simply is. Basically, you train hard, and aren't able to completely recover from one workout to the next, so you get some cumulative fatigue. And taking off, or going easy every once in a while allows your body to "catch-up"

If you dont need to deload or take a week off every once in a while, you either have really good recovery, or just aren't pushing that hard. And for most people I think its because they aren't training too their potential.


I don't know - I thought both of us were cited as examples of not training that hard?