T Nation

Point of 'Maintenance Cycles'?


#1

At work, these people keep talking about "maintenance" lifting/exercising. I've never understood the principles of why someone would want to just..stay where they're at, never further developing or trying to push their body to be/look better.

I can't imagine the human body would want to stay in it's current state if it did the same workouts time and time again, am I right? Meaning; because of adaptability, wouldn't "maintenance" be useless, because the muscles would just eventually atrophy?

Someone out there who knows more than I can share some insight I'm sure. I just don't see the point of "maintenance" exercising..


#2

I only do it when I deem myself perfect…

which hasn’t happened yet.


#3

[quote]gatesoftanhauser wrote:
At work, these people keep talking about “maintenance” lifting/exercising. I’ve never understood the principles of why someone would want to just…stay where they’re at, never further developing or trying to push their body to be/look better. I can’t imagine the human body would want to stay in it’s current state if it did the same workouts time and time again, am I right? Meaning; because of adaptability, wouldn’t “maintenance” be useless, because the muscles would just eventually atrophy?

Someone out there who knows more than I can share some insight I’m sure. I just don’t see the point of “maintenance” exercising. [/quote]

Time restraints. Other than that you should be working on improvement or taking a break once in a while.


#4

For many many reasons someones life can get in the way and you don’t have time to train and recover. Compared to the option of going backwards, staying where you are isn’t a bad thing.

For me, I may need to focus on training BJJ so I can’t lift as much and be able to recover. However, I don’t want to lose strength so I’ll switch over to a maintenance routine. It isn’t that I don’t have the motivation to do both, but my body just can’t recover.


#5

[quote]anoddparadigm wrote:
For many many reasons someones life can get in the way and you don’t have time to train and recover. Compared to the option of going backwards, staying where you are isn’t a bad thing.

For me, I may need to focus on training BJJ so I can’t lift as much and be able to recover. However, I don’t want to lose strength so I’ll switch over to a maintenance routine. It isn’t that I don’t have the motivation to do both, but my body just can’t recover.[/quote]

Oh… I guess that makes sense. Doesn’t your body atrophy because it isn’t being “challenged” (not saying Brazilian BJJ isn’t challenging, I’m sure it is) by hypertrophy during a maintenance cycle?


#6

[quote]gatesoftanhauser wrote:
anoddparadigm wrote:
For many many reasons someones life can get in the way and you don’t have time to train and recover. Compared to the option of going backwards, staying where you are isn’t a bad thing.

For me, I may need to focus on training BJJ so I can’t lift as much and be able to recover. However, I don’t want to lose strength so I’ll switch over to a maintenance routine. It isn’t that I don’t have the motivation to do both, but my body just can’t recover.

Oh… I guess that makes sense. Doesn’t your body atrophy because it isn’t being “challenged” (not saying Brazilian BJJ isn’t challenging, I’m sure it is) by hypertrophy during a maintenance cycle?[/quote]

The point of maintenance training is to get enough work that you don’t atrophy but you don’t really make gains. I have found a couple days a week total body is enough to keep from shrinking.

It is good for in season or when you are really busy but it is not very satisfying.


#7

[quote]Kruiser wrote:
I only do it when I deem myself perfect…

which hasn’t happened yet.[/quote]

ditto.

I honestly think the only person who ever made any statement where they had their body perfect was Arnold in Pumping Iron. lol

Gerdy


#8
  1. As it was mentioned, sometimes your priorities change for a while. For example during summertime you might be interested in doing more outdoor activities… hiking, camping, kayaking, biking, surfing, golf, etc.

When that happens you find yourself not able to focus on your training as much either for:

A) Time constraint reasons

B) For lack of energy (if you bike 4 times a week you might not be able to hit it hard for 5 days in the gym!)

C) To avoid exceeding your recovery capacities which would lead to stagnation anyway

  1. Sometimes life changes (having a baby and not being able to sleep well; a high stress period at work, relationship problems, etc.) can also affect your motivation, energy levels, recovery capacities and time available to train.

  2. Sometimes after a long period of super intense training, taking it easy for a few weeks is the best way to be able to spark new progress by restoring adaptive energy.


#9

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

  1. As it was mentioned, sometimes your priorities change for a while. For example during summertime you might be interested in doing more outdoor activities… hiking, camping, kayaking, biking, surfing, golf, etc.

When that happens you find yourself not able to focus on your training as much either for:

A) Time constraint reasons

B) For lack of energy (if you bike 4 times a week you might not be able to hit it hard for 5 days in the gym!)

C) To avoid exceeding your recovery capacities which would lead to stagnation anyway

  1. Sometimes life changes (having a baby and not being able to sleep well; a high stress period at work, relationship problems, etc.) can also affect your motivation, energy levels, recovery capacities and time available to train.

  2. Sometimes after a long period of super intense training, taking it easy for a few weeks is the best way to be able to spark new progress by restoring adaptive energy.[/quote]

unless it is something that you cannot control like an unplanned pregnancy, unplanned work schedule or something, I think that the other reasons don’t cut a maintenance training phase.

I’d never use the term maintenance training phase in bodybuilding, where you are just trying to stay where you are at. Imo the only time this can possibly be used here is if you are a few weeks out and you think you are pretty much contest ready. This meaning that you wouldn’t change anything else with your body and your ready to step onstage on the spot. You can maintain here but very few people are 100% contest ready a few weeks out where a “maintenance” phase can be used.

My view is taken from a pretty hardcore bodybuilding view. It is my life and it is 24/7 probably 360 or so days out of the year taking days of from christmas, etc. Otherwise when I’m bodybuilding I am pretty much living my life the best I can for my goals. If you are biking/kayaking, etc then you are not in a “training” mode. You are in a kayaking, etc mode.

I just finished this last school year playing collegiate baseball. Training had to take a backseat to baseball because I was in a baseball mode, not bodybuilding mode. This was my “maintenance” part of training.

I still don’t like to use that word in a bodybuilding world or lifestyle. If you are fine with how you look then great,if you want to look like a hiker/kayaker, etc fine as well, if mediocracy is your goal then fine too, but from a bodybuilding perspective there is always room for improvements.

Again this is from a bodybuilding perspective. So to sum it up I think that a maintenance time is only used for the casual gym goer not the hardcore bodybuilder.

No attack on Thibaudeau here because the man has a far greater knowledge than I and his opinion does weigh more. lol

My .02 on the topic…

Gerdy


#10

[quote]gatesoftanhauser wrote:
anoddparadigm wrote:
For many many reasons someones life can get in the way and you don’t have time to train and recover. Compared to the option of going backwards, staying where you are isn’t a bad thing.

For me, I may need to focus on training BJJ so I can’t lift as much and be able to recover. However, I don’t want to lose strength so I’ll switch over to a maintenance routine. It isn’t that I don’t have the motivation to do both, but my body just can’t recover.

Oh… I guess that makes sense. Doesn’t your body atrophy because it isn’t being “challenged” (not saying Brazilian BJJ isn’t challenging, I’m sure it is) by hypertrophy during a maintenance cycle?[/quote]

That is the whole point of maintenance. Although, I am focused on strength then size (I do compete in weight classes), I am more concerned about not losing strength. Usually my overall size/weight is a function of diet.


#11

[quote]Dirty Gerdy wrote:
Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

  1. As it was mentioned, sometimes your priorities change for a while. For example during summertime you might be interested in doing more outdoor activities… hiking, camping, kayaking, biking, surfing, golf, etc.

When that happens you find yourself not able to focus on your training as much either for:

A) Time constraint reasons

B) For lack of energy (if you bike 4 times a week you might not be able to hit it hard for 5 days in the gym!)

C) To avoid exceeding your recovery capacities which would lead to stagnation anyway

  1. Sometimes life changes (having a baby and not being able to sleep well; a high stress period at work, relationship problems, etc.) can also affect your motivation, energy levels, recovery capacities and time available to train.

  2. Sometimes after a long period of super intense training, taking it easy for a few weeks is the best way to be able to spark new progress by restoring adaptive energy.

unless it is something that you cannot control like an unplanned pregnancy, unplanned work schedule or something, I think that the other reasons don’t cut a maintenance training phase.

I’d never use the term maintenance training phase in bodybuilding, where you are just trying to stay where you are at. Imo the only time this can possibly be used here is if you are a few weeks out and you think you are pretty much contest ready. This meaning that you wouldn’t change anything else with your body and your ready to step onstage on the spot. You can maintain here but very few people are 100% contest ready a few weeks out where a “maintenance” phase can be used.

My view is taken from a pretty hardcore bodybuilding view. It is my life and it is 24/7 probably 360 or so days out of the year taking days of from christmas, etc. Otherwise when I’m bodybuilding I am pretty much living my life the best I can for my goals. If you are biking/kayaking, etc then you are not in a “training” mode. You are in a kayaking, etc mode.

I just finished this last school year playing collegiate baseball. Training had to take a backseat to baseball because I was in a baseball mode, not bodybuilding mode. This was my “maintenance” part of training.

I still don’t like to use that word in a bodybuilding world or lifestyle. If you are fine with how you look then great,if you want to look like a hiker/kayaker, etc fine as well, if mediocracy is your goal then fine too, but from a bodybuilding perspective there is always room for improvements.

Again this is from a bodybuilding perspective. So to sum it up I think that a maintenance time is only used for the casual gym goer not the hardcore bodybuilder.

No attack on Thibaudeau here because the man has a far greater knowledge than I and his opinion does weigh more. lol

My .02 on the topic…

Gerdy[/quote]

Great post :wink:


#12

I’d even say there is a place for maintenance phases for almost everyone, including bodybuilders.

For one after a period of large growth it often takes a bit of time for the fascia to allow for further growth. Taking some maintenance time to work on odd lifts and imbalances or flexibility as a maintenance phase is often the key to getting more out of your next growth phase. essentially an extended deload.

Also doing maintenance during an injury to allow time for your recovery training is also handy.

-chris


#13

[quote]Dirty Gerdy wrote:
I’d never use the term maintenance training phase in bodybuilding, where you are just trying to stay where you are at. Imo the only time this can possibly be used here is if you are a few weeks out and you think you are pretty much contest ready. This meaning that you wouldn’t change anything else with your body and your ready to step onstage on the spot. You can maintain here but very few people are 100% contest ready a few weeks out where a “maintenance” phase can be used.

My view is taken from a pretty hardcore bodybuilding view. It is my life and it is 24/7 probably 360 or so days out of the year taking days of from christmas, etc. Otherwise when I’m bodybuilding I am pretty much living my life the best I can for my goals. If you are biking/kayaking, etc then you are not in a “training” mode. You are in a kayaking, etc mode.

Gerdy[/quote]

I agree with you and I am the same way. Heck, even when I went on vacation to Cuba with my girlfriend I would wake up at 5am so that I could walk 30 minutes to the training ‘‘facility’’ get a workout in, walk 30 minutes back to our room and arrive right before she would wake up so that we could go eat breakfast together.

Heck, I remember when I was a kid still living in my parent’s house on December 22nd I realized that all the gyms would be closed from the 24th to the 3rd of January. I went out and bought a bench press with a dip station, leg extension, preacher bench, high quality olympic bar, EZ bar, bar and 500lbs worth of free weights just so that I could train on those 10 days :slight_smile: Cost me around 800$, which was a lot of money considering my situation at the time.

I also worked as a mover the summer of my last year of high school. It was a crazy job but I actually found time to train in the cities we were in… sometimes I would train at 1-2am at a 24 hours gym, and that was after moving heavy s**t all day.

However the reality is that we are the exception. For most people, the concept of maintenance training is real, and as a coach I must be aware of it. Do I like it when a client of mine who has been making great progress decides to come in only twice a week all summer because he prefers to play golf? Hell no! But it is a reality that I have to deal with.


#14

[quote]Avocado wrote:
I’d even say there is a place for maintenance phases for almost everyone, including bodybuilders.

For one after a period of large growth it often takes a bit of time for the fascia to allow for further growth. Taking some maintenance time to work on odd lifts and imbalances or flexibility as a maintenance phase is often the key to getting more out of your next growth phase. essentially an extended deload.

Also doing maintenance during an injury to allow time for your recovery training is also handy.

-chris[/quote]

This is also true… Ronnie Coleman used to stop training completely for 2-3 months after the Olympia. Levrone was even more excessive in this regard, pushing his break up to 6 months. They were not even doing maintenance stuff, they would stop training!

Even Arnold in the later years of his career would not train when he was far away from a contest.


#15

If you do not understand the concept of maintenance you probably have not had a situation that you had to either put your training second for a while, or deal with imbalances due to injury or other possibilities.

Have you ever trained sick? Did you go for broke or just get the workout in without making yourself worse? If the latter, then you did maintenance.

And about pregnancy and babies–good luck programing your kid to sleep all night and never cause your schedule to change.


#16

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Dirty Gerdy wrote:
I’d never use the term maintenance training phase in bodybuilding, where you are just trying to stay where you are at. Imo the only time this can possibly be used here is if you are a few weeks out and you think you are pretty much contest ready. This meaning that you wouldn’t change anything else with your body and your ready to step onstage on the spot. You can maintain here but very few people are 100% contest ready a few weeks out where a “maintenance” phase can be used.

My view is taken from a pretty hardcore bodybuilding view. It is my life and it is 24/7 probably 360 or so days out of the year taking days of from christmas, etc. Otherwise when I’m bodybuilding I am pretty much living my life the best I can for my goals. If you are biking/kayaking, etc then you are not in a “training” mode. You are in a kayaking, etc mode.

Gerdy

I agree with you and I am the same way. Heck, even when I went on vacation to Cuba with my girlfriend I would wake up at 5am so that I could walk 30 minutes to the training ‘‘facility’’ get a workout in, walk 30 minutes back to our room and arrive right before she would wake up so that we could go eat breakfast together.

Heck, I remember when I was a kid still living in my parent’s house on December 22nd I realized that all the gyms would be closed from the 24th to the 3rd of January. I went out and bought a bench press with a dip station, leg extension, preacher bench, high quality olympic bar, EZ bar, bar and 500lbs worth of free weights just so that I could train on those 10 days :slight_smile: Cost me around 800$, which was a lot of money considering my situation at the time.

I also worked as a mover the summer of my last year of high school. It was a crazy job but I actually found time to train in the cities we were in… sometimes I would train at 1-2am at a 24 hours gym, and that was after moving heavy s**t all day.

However the reality is that we are the exception. For most people, the concept of maintenance training is real, and as a coach I must be aware of it. Do I like it when a client of mine who has been making great progress decides to come in only twice a week all summer because he prefers to play golf? Hell no! But it is a reality that I have to deal with.
[/quote]

Yes I see your point and agree. I think that was just part of a rant on how this is a bodybuiding forum and I’d like to think in my perfect universe that everybody posting here is the exception like you and I.(lol I’m honored to be in the same category as thibs :stuck_out_tongue: jk)

Maybe with all these “new forums” we can make one titled “causal lifter” and then the bodybuilding forum can be dedicated to dedicated or hardcore people that fit the “exception” as you stated?

Okay I got a funny story since you mentioned finding any way to train.

Sophomore year in high school I didn’t have a gym membership, I stole the master key to the entire school and would get up and train before the “zero” period class would get there.

I found the first class started at 7:15a.m they didn’t turn the camera’s on until 7 a.m. so if I was done and out of there by then I was in the clear. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: lol I managed to have that key to my advantage through graduation. I passed it down to a buddy in a lower grade and he was busted :stuck_out_tongue:

ok back to the topic…I agree. Thanks CT

Gerdy


#17

I too had to take on a maintenance program due to academia. For those 8 months, there was no way I could keep up the same determination in the gym or keep a consistent, set schedule. I was completely inundated with academic responsibilities.

My sleep was often poor. I was constantly taking tests, giving presentations, attending different locations, and dealing with different personnel. And as is the case, syllabi in academia are rarely followed to the T. Things were unpredictable. Plus I was dead broke! So, all I did to maintain some strength and size was a twice per week HIT style routine with some cardio on the side. It was all I could do at the time.

Priorities in life change at times. Now I have a FAR MORE predictable lifestyle and more free time to dedicate to my recreational bodybuilding hobby which I plan on taking competitive in the near future. Unfortunately, life, accidents, and rough times and even other people do not revolve around bodybuilding. Only a few dozen men can just simply lift for a living. That is not us.


#18

[quote]Dirty Gerdy wrote:

unless it is something that you cannot control like an unplanned pregnancy, unplanned work schedule or something, I think that the other reasons don’t cut a maintenance training phase.

…[/quote]

Planned kids take just as much time as does a planned work schedule.

Enjoy training hard while you can because you may not always be able to.


#19

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Dirty Gerdy wrote:

unless it is something that you cannot control like an unplanned pregnancy, unplanned work schedule or something, I think that the other reasons don’t cut a maintenance training phase.

Planned kids take just as much time as does a planned work schedule.

Enjoy training hard while you can because you may not always be able to.[/quote]

Ya but the key word there is planned. If it’s planned then you know that you won’t be able to train. I guess plan is a bad word. I’m sticking with uncontrollable. If it’s something that you cannot possible control then training has to take a back seat. Other than that, if you plan to have kids then you are sacrificing your gym time for kids. And yes I am enjoying my training, so much that I’m hoping to have a career involving anything to do with mine or others training. lol

Gerdy