T Nation

How to Train Off Cycle


#1

I recentley finished a cycle which consisted of test eth. and deca for 9 weeks. I am using nolva for pct. I want to keep the gains I made so how should I train? Ive been told to keep my gains i must keep the weight and intensity the same, but cut down the volume. However on the contrary Ive been told to train very light and easy until I begin my next cycle. Any advice would be great.


#2

[quote]hvywrest wrote:
However on the contrary Ive been told to train very light and easy until I begin my next cycle. Any advice would be great.[/quote]

This is perfect advice for losing all your gains.

Keep training hard, and keep eating right. You need to be able to make gains “off” as well as “on”. Chances are you’re going to see better gains on, but if you get into the mindset that you can only move forward while on, then you’re setting yourself up for failure, IMO.


#3

I hope you’ve made progress without steroids and learned how to train before you did a cycle…


#4

The first advice was good, assuming that “cut the volume” doesn’t mean cut it to 1/3rd or something stupid like that, which I assume you would not do. To about 2/3rds is generally reasonable but there is no exact figure as situations vary. In the immediate week during which levels from the cycle have dropped off to where T may be a little lower than your normal, in that situation volume might well be cut to a half or even a little less the first such week, then maybe to about half the week after that. But again it depends on the situation.

The second advice, as OTS1 said, is awful.

matsm21’s point is generally exactly on target. The one further aspect I’d add is that while in general training can be effective over a fairly wide range of reps and percent 1RM, it’s best to at first post-cycle not drop down to the lighter weight / higher rep range but keep up with the weights you achieved during the cycle even if they are fairly high percent RM and low reps.

After a couple of weeks of maintaining that then you can go back to your general and proven training philosophies learned from natural training, which might include periods of higher-rep work than that.


#5

The first advice you were given is a good start.

You want to avoid cortisol production - but still stimulate growth.

IMO/IME a high intensity/load and low volume workout regime is great for this time.
Keep workouts short ~45mins. Keep volume low but intensity high - i also like to change my rep range in favour for a higher range during this time - this allows a de-training period, it clouds any strength losses - keeping motivation high, and allows you to progress past the peaks of strength attained during the last cycle.

JMO :wink:


#6

Yes Ive trianed hard and consistent for 4 yrs without gear. The reason I asked about taking it easy and trianing light is because I was told by a high level competetive bodybuilder that when you are off, your test levels are decreased and training off will be too much on your body


#7

It is true to a degree - however it is a tiny part of a much bigger picture that i for one am in no mood to spell out right now.

Search ‘PCT’, ‘Steroid recovery’, and ‘Training with Steroids’. Read everything that details the stuff you are asking.

The one tip i will give you is this - dont take the word of any one person - even if it is Jay Cutler! What works for one may not work for another - you will get the best results by understanding what happens in the body in the months following Androgen based suppression of the HPTA, and some of the physiological effects of weight training - in particular the acute ones in relation to cortisol and its actions.
Knowing the details surrounding that, will allow you to build the perfect training regimes around your cycles.

This is how i do it at least…


#8

Besides myself, those that I’ve recommended to keep the weight equally high but cut volume have been pleased and considered to not only not “cloud” strength losses, but actually commonly to see some strength gain post-cycle.

In contrast it’s common to lose strength when going to much lighter weight, though it’s true that since one is performing more reps this makes it (if not trying the heavy weights) not apparent that strength has been lost. Which may be what you mean by “clouding” the strength loss?

But better to not have an immediate loss of strength.

This of course is not to say that different methods that have proven to work well for others aren’t the right ones for them. What works for a person, works.


#9

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Besides myself, those that I’ve recommended to keep the weight equally high but cut volume have been pleased and considered to not only not “cloud” strength losses, but actually commonly to see some strength gain post-cycle.

In contrast it’s common to lose strength when going to much lighter weight, though it’s true that since one is performing more reps this makes it (if not trying the heavy weights) not apparent that strength has been lost. Which may be what you mean by “clouding” the strength loss?

But better to not have an immediate loss of strength.[/quote]

What i mean is that if i try to continue training with the same weights post cycle, then i will experience a drop in strength. This is common for me.
I found that this is followed by a drop in motivation as the realisation of a loss of performance sets in. Often just the expectation of the loss in strength leads to a negative mental attitude in this regard and is further counter productive.

For me, if i switch to a different rep range* post cycle, it allows any drop in strength to go unnoticed (without calculating percentages of 1RM) and as such a steady and climbing intensity and load as recovery permits.
As i did mention (maybe not clearly) it also leads to an increase in performance and progression past the limits set during the previous cycle.

The reason for me is twofold - firstly a better mental attitude as a loss in performance is less apparant, and secondly the ligher weight (but still high intensity) and reduced total volume leads to a reasonable de-training effect allowing better recovery but still stimulating protein retention.

All i am saying really is that the dip in strength for me has more psychological effects than physiological - and the expectation of the loss of performance contributes to an actual loss in performance too, possibly more than is ‘real’.
If i can avoid this psychological trap - it works to my benefit. This ‘technique’ of dropping reps for a month and a half works for me to allow progression and not too much regression.
Almost allowing a step back to take 2 steps forward way of thinking…

*The rep range could be a lower range with higher weights for the purpose of the argument, it just wouldnt be an ideal choice at the point of steroid cycle recovery for obvious reasons.

JJ


#10

To jump on everyone else’s bandwagon, I’ve had good success keeping my strength levels high by doing a simple 3x3 with 2 assistance exercises in more of a “bodybuilding” style.

In fact, I am not “on” right now… haven’t been for over a month, and 2 weeks past PCT, and I just set a 3x3 PR last night on bench. In fact, I’ve added 20 lbs to my 3x3 PR since PCT.

Now, running a smolov squat cycle right after your cycle might be a bit silly, but if you stick to the basics and keep training hard, you should be FINE.

Go forth and lift heavy, iron soldier!


#11

[quote]OTS1 wrote:

Now, running a smolov squat cycle right after your cycle might be a bit silly,
[/quote]

What???

I’m doing a week of “greasing the groove” Soviet-style with DL’s in just the second week post-cycle, AND I’m dieting down at the same time.

Though, in all seriousness, this really is not high volume as I plan on only 16 reps per workout, either 8 doubles at 80% or 16 singles at 85%.

Every day.

Which still really is not high volume at all.

So call it post-cycle semi-Smolov :wink:

Though actually I am doing that, I do of course agree with your point. Real Smolov would be unwise at such a point. Ditto for any unusually-demanding or unusually high volume program.

(My reason for doing this has nothing to do with it being a general post-cycle plan. I’d rather be on-cycle for it. It just fits in now for other reasons and is I expect productively doable.)


#12

This has to be one of the dumbest threads ever to grace the steroid forum. “How to train off cycle” W…T…F?


#13

If re-interpreted as, “how to train in the timeframe immediately post-cycle when T levels are lower than normal” then it is an entirely reasonable and useful thread.


#14

I think it’s a very valid thread…what fucking point is there to juicing if you aren’t keeping the max amount of gains?


#15

Bill,

Let us know how that works out for you! I’d be interested, as DL has typically been my weakest lift.

I CONSIDERED (briefly) running smolov for Sumo DL.

I think that might make me dead though, lol.

And I agree. This is a great thread. There’s lots of threads about mg’s, and lots of set rep threads, and not enough threads about programming your mgs and lbs.


#16

Bill,

Let us know how that works out for you! I’d be interested, as DL has typically been my weakest lift.

I CONSIDERED (briefly) running smolov for Sumo DL.

I think that might make me dead though, lol.

And I agree. This is a great thread. There’s lots of threads about mg’s, and lots of set rep threads, and not enough threads about programming your mgs and lbs.


#17

I’m very hopeful that running the GTG in inbetween weeks (alternating with a different program in the other weeks) will work very well for me, because I’ve become convinced for several reasons that I’m just severely underperforming in the DL in terms of 1RM.

Example reason: reps with weights of 80% 1RM and less have gone way up, or alternately put, same reps now allow a higher percentage of 1RM, to a degree that I think doesn’t match up, but 1RM has hardly budged. That should not be.

I expect the lift is in there, I’m just not getting it out. If so, the “grease the groove” should be effective.


#18

As a bit of an update, and I expect the only one until it’s been done long enough for a well-established conclusion:

Week 1, I did not quite manage what I had planned to do. Unlike the vast majority of the time though, in this case neither did I have previous experience similar enough to be able to say for sure that the plan was doable, nor was it taken or basically taken from some proven plan. So there was the possibility that the original conception was off base somewhat.

What I actually got was Day 1, 8 doubles at 80%; Day 2, 10 singles at 85% (had planned on 16); Day 3, as with Day 1; Day 4, only 6 singles at 85%.

No Day 5 – I could tell the job was done thoroughly already.

At first I was feeling somewhat like a yellow, running-dog Imperialist lackey for having not managed to complete the entire week. Surely, a Party-approved, gulag-hardened, Siberian-snows-bronzed Hero of the Soviet Union would have managed it.

However I decided to evaluate the week in terms of relative tonnage (meaning, tonnage relative to 1RM. So for example 10 reps total performed at 80% 1RM would be a relative tonnage of 8.) I don’t ordinarily figure things this way but for looking at something quite outside the context of one’s usual training, it can give an approximate picture anyway.

Turns out I didn’t do that badly. What was actually done worked out to an RT of 42. For comparison, the first week of the second four-week loading cycle of the Smolov squat cycle (which happens to be the one I calculated; actually I intended to compare to the first week of the first loading cycle but oh well) the RT is 59.

So I didn’t fall that far short. In terms of actual poundage, since I’m considerably stronger on the DL than the squat, actually I moved more iron than I would have had I done that week of the Smolov squat cycle.

Not completely unacceptable then, perhaps.

I’ll trim back the future goals to not exceed Smolov squat cycle relative tonnage, as the best next-guess on what the volume ought to be. I do like the general scheme of alternating doubles at 80% and singles at 85%, though, towards the “greasing the groove” purpose as well as getting the back quite thoroughly trained by the end of it. That seems to have been gotten right, for my particular case anyway.


#19

Awesome! I’m toying with the idea of a smolov cycle myself, but I’ve been making progress recently with my other lifts, so I don’t want to lose that “momentum” so to speak. Maybe something like this might work for squats…


#20

I have, ignorantly enough, only recently learned about these protocols. The information of course coming from Pavel Tsatsouline’s articles.

I’d bet, though I don’t know, that there are already established GTG protocols for the squat. Probably for deadlift too. I just felt like I could go ahead with this based on general principles. However, if wanting to look for what experiences others have had and what protocols may have been tried, perhaps a place to look would be the Dragon Door forum: kbforum.dragondoor.com/

It’s fitting into a strange idea that I’ve had. Namely, this is that we already know that it’s acceptable to have a week between training a bodypart, assuming it was worked really thoroughly.

My experience with Smolov Jr had me discovering that for sure you can hit something even harder in one week of 4x/week high-volume high-load training than you can in any one single workout.

So that would mean one could train the body, or all but one thing (either way depending on preference) quite thoroughly one week, where the entire body did get trained in lets say the last 2 days, and then hit a given thing extremely thoroughly in the following week while letting everything else get its week between workouts.

That would enable doing alternate weeks of something like GTG.

I’ve only just started it – I’ll see how it works.

But so far so good: for sure the 4 days in a row of DL’s worked my back, both lower and upper, in a way it’s never had before. Not that it hadn’t been trained thoroughly before, but this feels different, in a good way. Could well be good results from it. That’s even besides the neural training which is the original intended purpose of GTG.