T Nation

Taking 2-3 Months Off (Sort Of)


Hey guys, It’s me again. I’ve been experiencing some joint issues and decided to take it easy for a bit. I’m going to work with a push/pull bodybuilding type of training to hammer some imbalances and weak points and cut ~20kg along the way. The question is that since this was a decision influenced by my wrists, elbows, and knees, where do you think I could seek to preserve my strength? I was thinking of setting 6, 8, and 10RM’s for the big 3 as I go, but I’m also thinking maybe 3-5RM occasionally. Anyone have any experience with high rep RM/PR’s and relativity to 1RM? Thanks.


In the Offseason which is generally 12-16 weeks for me I pretty much only do high rep work. 10-20 rep Squats, High volume bodybuilding work for upper body 8-15 reps, lots of drop sets and supersets, and I really push upper volume. Not weight but quality reps. You don’t have to go heavy to get strong. You just have to train hard. People often mistake them for the same thing. If injuries are really the issue here I’d stay away from any rep ranges that bother you even if a little. If that means staying above 10 reps for everything then that is what it means.


You might want to check out the Dave Tate: Iron Evolution article series, specifically (I think) part 7 where he talks about spending a couple months doing a pure bodybuilding split. He specifically mentions how much it seemed to help his joints feel better and get himself primed to start getting back into heavy stuff.


If you can spend time increasing rep PRs in the 6-10 rep range it will be easy to move on to 3-5rms and 1rm, just don’t make huge increases in intensity from week to week. Spend a few weeks with heavy sets of 3-5 before you attempt anything even close to a 1rm.

If I was in your position with joint issues I wouldn’t bother with any heavy low rep maxes for now, on top of high reps you can also do lots of low reps sets with light weights (like sets of 3-5 with 70-75%), that will help to improve your technique more than high reps and should be even easier on your joints although it won’t do as much in terms of hypertrophy. Doing most of your volume with either variations of the comp. lifts or even just bodybuilding-type stuff should help your joints recover as well because you won’t be stressing the same joint angles.

Also, if your wrists hurt it could have to do with holding the bar too deep in your palm (closer to you knuckles rather than closer to your wrist) and having your wrists cocked back. I was doing something like that and I was getting some shoulder pain too, changing where I hold the bar fixed both my wrist and shoulder. Wear wrist wraps on anything somewhat heavy if you don’t already.


I like what’s being said here.

I’ve often found if I’m having issues similar to what you speak of, I find a variation of the main lift that doesn’t give me pain and allow my body to stay strong or keep getting stronger, just in something else. Right now, I can stand wide stance box squats but my knee kills me squatting normal raw comp squats with a narrower stance.

It’s good to back off the weight from time to time. That’s typically what I do. You may find high rep band work to be very beneficial for the bodybuilding stuff. I find it beneficial.