T Nation

Rest & Recovery

Whenever I go on a bulking cycle (I’m currently in one), I go super hard and increase weight & reps every week to max. muscle growth & strength gains.
However, I usually build in a rest week during which I do not train at all (and lower my calories to maintenance) to give my body time to recover whenever I start feeling too tired.

This time I went rly heavy for 2 months (9 weeks) straight and decided to put in a rest week b/c I was starting to feel the exhaustion and dont want to risk getting injured.

My question - is a full rest week the best way to give your body a break or would you suggest that I keep lifting but just with lower weights/volume for a week instead (keep in mind that my goal is to max. muscle building during on weeks and allow time for recovery during my rest week without loosing any muscle)?

thanks

IMO it varies. If you have some injuries, or tendonitis then you really want to address those that week. Might need full rest, most need art full rest, might need very infrequent and light training.

If your starting to feel depressed, down overly tired or like drained daily I would take a full week. It’s incredibly difficult to do but supposed it takes that long for the hormones to bounce back to a normal cycle.

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
IMO it varies. If you have some injuries, or tendonitis then you really want to address those that week. Might need full rest, most need art full rest, might need very infrequent and light training.

If your starting to feel depressed, down overly tired or like drained daily I would take a full week. It’s incredibly difficult to do but supposed it takes that long for the hormones to bounce back to a normal cycle.[/quote]

Thanks man - no injuries here, but I’ve decided to take at least 3 days & up to a full week off (depending on how I feel). Day 2 so far - feel better but still a little tired + have an increasingly strong urge to go hit the gym… ^^

[quote]N85 wrote:
However, I usually build in a rest week during which I do not train at all (and lower my calories to maintenance) to give my body time to recover whenever I start feeling too tired.[/quote]
Deload weeks are fine. Some coaches use them consistently, others don’t use them at all. Both methods can work within the context of the entire training cycle.

Have you thought about training at, say, 95% for 4 months straight, rather than training at 105% for 2 months and then taking a week off? Just something to consider.

A full week of zero activity should probably only be used when you’re dealing with a legit injury, not just a case of the blahs. If you’re deloading/taking some recovery time, there are better options. A - Drop the intensity and/or volume, but keep everything else the same. B - Prioritize mobility/active recovery work and put weight training on “maintenance” mode (reduced frequency/volume/intensity). C - Less CNS-intensive training, such as Thibaudeau’s neural charge training ideas.

That’s usually a good indicator of when you can cut the deload and transition back into regular training.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]N85 wrote:
However, I usually build in a rest week during which I do not train at all (and lower my calories to maintenance) to give my body time to recover whenever I start feeling too tired.[/quote]
Deload weeks are fine. Some coaches use them consistently, others don’t use them at all. Both methods can work within the context of the entire training cycle.

Have you thought about training at, say, 95% for 4 months straight, rather than training at 105% for 2 months and then taking a week off? Just something to consider.

A full week of zero activity should probably only be used when you’re dealing with a legit injury, not just a case of the blahs. If you’re deloading/taking some recovery time, there are better options. A - Drop the intensity and/or volume, but keep everything else the same. B - Prioritize mobility/active recovery work and put weight training on “maintenance” mode (reduced frequency/volume/intensity). C - Less CNS-intensive training, such as Thibaudeau’s neural charge training ideas.

That’s usually a good indicator of when you can cut the deload and transition back into regular training.[/quote]

Thanks Chris
took 2 full days of rest (i.e. no activity at all) and will have a light workout today to ease back into my weekly schedule
I’ve thought about the 95% vs. 105% approach too but there’s just something about lifting super heavily that I’m rly addicted to - just doesn’t feel right if I don’t crush myself in the weight room…

[quote]N85 wrote:
I’ve thought about the 95% vs. 105% approach too but there’s just something about lifting super heavily that I’m rly addicted to - just doesn’t feel right if I don’t crush myself in the weight room…[/quote]
I gotcha. Your situation just reminds me of a Dave Draper quote:

"Injuries are avoidable if the lifter is sensible, cautious, controlled, and mildly motivated. The lifter with these personality traits generally lasts seven to 10 days under the iron before he escapes.

A determined bodybuilder is driven, daring, intense, and injury-bound. Comes with the territory. It’s the last rep and the extra plates that kill you. These are also the ones that build large, powerful, and well-shaped muscle.

What’s a lifter to do? Eat right, rest a lot, warm up plenty, focus on muscle engagement, maintain proper form, take exertion to 99%, not 101%, and learn from the inevitable injuries that strike you down."

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]N85 wrote:
I’ve thought about the 95% vs. 105% approach too but there’s just something about lifting super heavily that I’m rly addicted to - just doesn’t feel right if I don’t crush myself in the weight room…[/quote]
I gotcha. Your situation just reminds me of a Dave Draper quote:

"Injuries are avoidable if the lifter is sensible, cautious, controlled, and mildly motivated. The lifter with these personality traits generally lasts seven to 10 days under the iron before he escapes.

A determined bodybuilder is driven, daring, intense, and injury-bound. Comes with the territory. It’s the last rep and the extra plates that kill you. These are also the ones that build large, powerful, and well-shaped muscle.

What’s a lifter to do? Eat right, rest a lot, warm up plenty, focus on muscle engagement, maintain proper form, take exertion to 99%, not 101%, and learn from the inevitable injuries that strike you down."


[/quote]

point taken - great article/interview Chris