T Nation

Missing Lifts in Training

I feel like I’m missing lifts way too often in training and having way too many “off days.”

In looking at a wide range of people’s logs, from people here to the guys at EliteFTS, I feel like I have a disproportionately large amount of bad training days. I can’t tell if I’m training too frequently, if I’m over-reaching with my attempts, if I’m letting other areas like diet and sleep/recovery go to shit, or if it’s a combination of all these factors.

Here’s what I’ve been up to:
http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=2102126&pageNo=5

I do 3 days on and 1 day off so I train either 5 or 6 days a week depending on the week. I’m eating at least 5 times a day and I’m getting between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep a night.

If anyone could point out something obvious I’m overlooking or ask me some leading questions, that would be greatly appreciated. Really though, any efforts to help me make one out of every 20 workouts instead of one out of every 5 or 6 a bad workout would be kickass.

Maybe more rest? Remember, you get strong outta the gym, not in it.

In your logs I see you going hard,hard, hard. Maybe cruise for a couple of weeks - eat and sleep. Back off on the max singles and do some triples or 5’s instead and approach the sets in a workman like manner. Don’t get fired up for them - something I believe Louie Simmons recommends.

Something the old time lifters recommended was getting your head out of the gym when you’re not in the gym. Just thinking about lifting can overstimulate the adrenals and wear you down particularly if it’s an emotionally charged past-time for you.

Being a hard charger is a good trait, but you gotta back off occasionally or you burn up.

One of the first things I noticed is that you are probably hurting yourself with all the assistance work you are doing as well as the total number of days you are in the gym during a given week. A good policy to follow is to keep the total number of exercises down to about 4 or 5 in a session.

In addition, pushing the assistance lifts is important to build mass, improve weaknesses, etc., but you have to be reasonable with your selection of weights and rep ranges. Something like 3-5 sets between 6 and 15 reps is desirable, depending on the assistance exercise of course.

Finally, and most importantly, when you get a PR on a main lift, whether it is a single, double, triple, etc., don’t go any higher. If it was a relatively easy lift, add another 5-10 pounds but only if the previous attempt was stupid easy. Still, I’d recommend staying away from that method until you become steadier in avoiding missed lifts.

Instead, try dropping down to about 70% of what you just lifted and do some rep work. Finally, I think switching to a 2-week ME rotation might bring back some under-the-bar confidence. The first week would have you working to a weight that feels moderately heavy (preferably a 3RM), but still something that on your worst day would be doable. During the second week, you simply add more weight and shoot for a new PR.

BTW, if you feel beat up, stay out of the gym or just do some easy assistance work. No point in stinking up the gym when you feel like crap.

Thanks for the input.

I think I’ll need to rework how I approach doing assistance exercises as I’ve usually try to go pretty hard at them.

I’m going to reconsider going to the gym as often as I do, but I think what might help more is if I have half of the week be lighter.

Possibly…

Day 1: ME Squat/DL + Heavy Assistance
Day 2: ME Bench + Heavy Delts and Tris
Day 3: Heavy Upper Back + Guns
Day 4: Off
Day 5: DE Squat/DL + Light Assistance
Day 6: DE Bench + Light Assistance
Day 7: Guns
Day 8: Off
-Repeat-

Or

Day 1: ME Squat/DL + Heavy Assistance
Day 2: ME Bench + Heavy Assistance
Day 3: Off
Day 4: DE Squat + Light Assistance
Day 5: DE Bench + Light Assistance
Day 6: Off

I’ve never really entertained the idea that putting too much intensity into my assistance exercises too frequently might be holding me back.

[quote]skidmark wrote:
Something the old time lifters recommended was getting your head out of the gym when you’re not in the gym. Just thinking about lifting can overstimulate the adrenals and wear you down particularly if it’s an emotionally charged past-time for you.
[/quote]

This is something I never thought of but totally believe.

[quote]FightingScott wrote:
Thanks for the input.

I think I’ll need to rework how I approach doing assistance exercises as I’ve usually try to go pretty hard at them.

I’m going to reconsider going to the gym as often as I do, but I think what might help more is if I have half of the week be lighter.

Possibly…

Day 1: ME Squat/DL + Heavy Assistance
Day 2: ME Bench + Heavy Delts and Tris
Day 3: Heavy Upper Back + Guns
Day 4: Off
Day 5: DE Squat/DL + Light Assistance
Day 6: DE Bench + Light Assistance
Day 7: Guns
Day 8: Off
-Repeat-

Or

Day 1: ME Squat/DL + Heavy Assistance
Day 2: ME Bench + Heavy Assistance
Day 3: Off
Day 4: DE Squat + Light Assistance
Day 5: DE Bench + Light Assistance
Day 6: Off

I’ve never really entertained the idea that putting too much intensity into my assistance exercises too frequently might be holding me back. [/quote]

Try this instead:

Day 1: ME Squat/DL + Heavy Assistance
Day 2: DE Bench + Light Assistance
Day 3: Off
Day 4: DE Squat + Light Assistance
Day 5: ME Bench + Heavy Assistance

etc.

On your ME days you can do the heavy assistance, but keep the number of exercises to like 2 or 3; for example

Some kind of box squat: work up to 3RM
Rack pull, Good morning, whatever: top set of 3-5
Reverse hyper/GHR/whatever: 3-5 sets of 6-10
Heavy ab work: 3-5 sets of 5-8

On DE days, I usually keep the reps higher and do a couple of more exercises, but just try to tailor the exercise selection toward weaknesses. It takes a while to get this stuff straightened out. Good luck.

I’ll do that template. After looking at the Westside articles again, I see now I can do my Back Work on DE Bench and ME Squat/DL.

And I’ll pick just 1 bodypart to hit really hard with assistance exercises and rotate which one that is.

So after the ME Lift for Squat/DL I might do Dumbbell Rows, Hanging Leg Raises, and Banded Leg Curls but another I’d do Chins, Pulldown abs, and Good-Mornings.

My advice would be to forget all the crap you’ve read on internet sites, go to a powerlifting club shut up and do exactly what the coach says.

[quote]novaeer wrote:

Try this instead:

Day 1: ME Squat/DL + Heavy Assistance
Day 2: DE Bench + Light Assistance
Day 3: Off
Day 4: DE Squat + Light Assistance
Day 5: ME Bench + Heavy Assistance

etc.

On your ME days you can do the heavy assistance, but keep the number of exercises to like 2 or 3; for example

Some kind of box squat: work up to 3RM
Rack pull, Good morning, whatever: top set of 3-5
Reverse hyper/GHR/whatever: 3-5 sets of 6-10
Heavy ab work: 3-5 sets of 5-8

On DE days, I usually keep the reps higher and do a couple of more exercises, but just try to tailor the exercise selection toward weaknesses. It takes a while to get this stuff straightened out. Good luck.[/quote]

I think that kind of split may work much better for you. However, if you are really going nowhere (or feel that way), consider just three training days.

One heavy squat/DL day (alternate the two lifts form week to week), one heavy bench day, and one accessory day to train you upper back, abdominal work, shoulder mobility etc. I would prefer to have 3 or 4 days between the heavy days.

I like this split best in the few weeks leading up to a meet. I feel liek it redirects my focus from volume to handling PR weights.