The way it has been explained to me is that the 5x5 builds strength through planned volume work. Therefore, when you deload, the deload comes from the significant reduction of volume. While cutting the volume, the intensity (how much of your 1RM you are moving) goes up. In other words, if you increase your volume by doing higher reps, you won’t really be deloading (assuming youre using a weight that is actually taxing you in that rep range). If you have access to the Advanced Program’s Excel sheet, plug your numbers in and look at the graph that charts the workload. The work increases week to week during the volume phase, then drops sharply during the deload/intensification phase.
For assistance work, it varies. On Mondays, I do Bulgarian Split Squats and DB Floor Presses, both 3x8. Wednesday is 45 degree hypers and shrugs, 3x8 again. Friday is either incline or flat DB bench and good mornings or natural GHRs 3x8. I also hit abs heavy (4x8,4x6, 5x5)3-4 times per week. Keep accessory work’s volume constant during each phase. These should add to your lifts, not take away from them. They should be challenging too, but never to failure. Hope this helps.
Dre Cappa wrote:
I am doing the same 5x5. Did you deload by dropping down to 3x3 for 3-4 weeks? If you didn’t no wonder your progress stalled. After 5 weeks of the 5x5, I dropped to the 3x3. My lifts continue to go up, and I just started my second volume phase. One of the most important parts of the program is deloading the volume and increasing the intensity (in regards to 1RM).
If you just keep doing the same thing over and over again, your body will have no reason to adapt and get stronger. You can always go back to the 5x5 after the 3x3, or even try a 8x3 or 10x3. Another thing that might help that I’ve done is switching up your movements. On my first bench day I now do declines, and on my second day I do close grip. I also vary my squats. This way you won’t get overtraineed on the same movement patterns.
Lastly, are you eating enough?
I think my diet’s OK, yeah, eat 5-6 meals a day, each 500-800 calories. Over a gram of protein per lb. bodyweight.
The intermediate program didn’t have anything about deloading, though I’ve just read the advanced version. Dropping down to 3x3 sounds like a great idea. What are you doing for assistance exercises?
I’m kind of torn though, part of me wants to do 3x3 backoff, but I also think a period of high reps wouldn’t hurt. I can’t remember the last time I did reps of more than 8 on a compound lift, it’s been years I think.