T Nation

Volume Waving

In order to improve recovery and reduce the need for complete deload weeks I have this plan I think might work pretty good. I’m thinking of doing this while continuing the Westside Barbell style conjugate method. Mostly, I’m just posting this to bounce some ideas off some other lifters.
Week 1-high volume
Week 2-medium volume
Week 3-low volume
Week 4-rehab/prehab exercises+mobility (while still doing ME and dynamic movements)

The dynamic efforts and ME movements aren’t what are killing my recovery abilities. It always seems to be volume for me. High volume can bother my joints too. Do any of ya’ll do anything like this. Are there ways I can improve on this concept. Or is this just stupid.

-I’m consuming a caloric surplus (I’m gaining weight successfully).
-5’10" 190-95lbs Squat-345 ME box squat Bench-250 ME 2second pause bench Deadlift-tested 7-8 weeks ago at 435
-working out for 2 years, training for 1+ year

Deload weeks are not a set in stone event that must occur every 4th week, especially for a newer lifter. For most it WILL be the volume that affects their recovery, and not waving your training properly will exacerbate that issue. You should also be doing rehab/prehab, mobility and SMR every day…not just on a randomly allocated week, that alone should help your recovery.

The below is a popular (and typically effective method), however, I’m not convinced it will work best with your style of training. I also don’t think adding a very high volume week is going to help you at this point:

Week 1 - High Volume
Week 2 - Medium Volume
Week 3 - Very High Volume
Week 4 - Low Volume (Deload)

You might have some success trying the inverse:

Week 1 - Low Volume
Week 2 - Medium Volume
Week 3 - Higher Volume
Week 4 - Highest Volume

Deload on a hypothetical “Week 5” of the cycle if you feel the need, otherwise just program a lower volume Week 1 and ease yourself back into the rotation. Use each weeks average performance as a barometer of how you body is handling the volume, recording how you feel out of 10 after any given workout might be a good idea (i.e. 6-low energy, reps moving slow, 9.5-everything felt light, could have went for hours). If you’re consistently giving yourself low rankings then your body’s ability to recover may be declining, consider deloading at the end of that week.

I’ll experiment and see what works for me.

I have been doing prehab movements for most of my workouts. Back extensions, band ab/ad-duction for my hips, groin, and inner thigh, and ab work for my legs. I warm my shoulders and rotator cuffs before I bench and I’m always include band pull-aparts, face pulls (cable and band), or rear delt raises. I foam roll at home about every other day, sometimes before a work out if something feels tight.

The area that I’ve had the most trouble with in the past is the posterior hip region ever since I hurt my SI joint in December (could only do single leg work and back extensions for a month), but since I bought new shoes with a harder sole and flatter heel that issue has began to clear up. Maybe cutting back on wide stance ME and supplementary work would help with that too if my hips start to feel banged up.

I think a better way to approach it is low stress, medium stress, and high stress weeks. Of course volume will play a significant role in the overall stress of a week, but this accounts for other factors as well. For example, doing three really hard sets of 5 in one of the big lifts can be much more stressful than 3 sets of 10 with a moderate weight even though the 3 sets of 10 might technically be more volume.

A low stress week also doesn’t have to be a full blown deload week either, just maybe working up to a moderately difficult set then stopping and cutting back on your assistance work. You will just have to see how often you have to take a low stress week based on your own recovery.