T Nation

Use an Entire Cycle to Recover or Deload?


I’m in my mid 40s, one of those lanky, hardgainer types, and I finished 20 weeks of BBB (only did 5x3 and 5x1 for 3 weeks each), and it was great, hit several PRs. But my joints and tendons need a break, even after a deload and a reset. My wife is making fun of how stiff I am, saying I move like an old man.

Is there a cycle just to aid recovery and recuperate? My normal methods of extra mobility, massage, more food aren’t working for this.


I think you could use one of the 2 day a week templates, this allows more recovery time between sessions. You can use either regular 5/3/1 with no plus sets just doing prescribed reps only, or you could use the 5’s pro scheme and just do all weeks/percentages at 5 reps. You can take out extra volume for this cycle as well if you have been doing FSL reps either by reducing it from 5X5 to 3x5 for example or not doing any at all. Lots of ways and options I think. Just make sure you are also resting, sleeping, eating and spending a good amount of time on recovery methods.


yeah just do minimum reps for couple weeks.Also Mag 10/Plazma/hydrolysed whey/surge recovery etc depending on budget can really help.

Perfect world the ‘531 stack’ here will get you back to normal pretty much immediately…


Are you doing any conditioning or not enough? 4x per week walking/airdyne for 20-30 min. Do something else other than bbb and make sure your tm is in check at all times. You could also reduce the number of days you train or if you are deloading every 7th week deload every 4th.


Other recovery options include an 8 day week and ensuring you deload every cycle.

Remeber 5/3 - you may even want to consider 4/2 or similar.


Thanks All.

Conditioning is good, diet is good, mobility is good, sleep needs work. Looking back at the 20 weeks of BBB, I switched to lower once a week for cycles 5-6 due to recovery for my back, and I should have also done that with the presses.

I will now go to 2day upper/lower, but I still need some instant recovery, so the first cycle, I’ll go 70%-75%-80%, drop supplemental work, do 5s PRO and keep the accessory work minimal and light, then resume the normal percentages for cycle 2 without bumping the TM.

I took 4 steps back on the presses for the reset, I should have reset a cycle earlier but I was determined to do the 5x1 TM work with a particular weight. I succeeded in my personal goal in doing so, but it took a lot out of me and now I have to pay my debt.



Active recovery (move!)
Not training like an asshole - (planning/programming properly, pick right program for your level/goals, be honest about your commitment, take deloads before you need deloads, choose appropriate training days/volumes, etc. )

These are the four areas of recovery that must be met and used.

If you can train now, you are not that bad off. For a serious issue you should perform movement and aerobic work to help bring your body back to normal; no serious lifting AT ALL. In the future, remember your “fall off” point and deload prior to getting there. THIS is how you set up for long term success! Good luck.


Thanks Jim, much appreciated