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Weaker After Deload (PL Meet Question)


I'm currently following the 4 days per wk, 6 wk cycles outlined in beyond, and the deload percentages outlined in the original book. I've noticed that on my deload wk and on wk 1 of a new cycle I typically feel weaker than before deloading. As an example, I hit 355 x 5 on deads on my last 5/3/1 week (wk6), then deloaded (wk 7), and then yesterday hit a harder-feeling 330 x 5 during my 5+ week (wk 1). This is the case with all lifts.

This is a minor problem because I am seeing great results overall, and I'm happy to simply hit the prescribed reps in week 1 and then push things more as I pick up steam throughout the cycle. However, I'm curious how this will effect my performance at an upcoming powerlifting meet, and if I can/ should make any changes to accommodate this.

As of now I'm planning on following the pre-contest cycle as outlined in the Powerlifting Book, which culminates in a deload prior to the contest. However, my performance in the gym seems to indicate that I'd be better off going into the contest where I'd typically have my 5/3/1 week, as thats when I seem to be the strongest. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Nothing is more valuable than your training log, so first and foremost rely on that.

In terms of feeling weaker the first week after a deload, I don't think that's too uncommon. Play with the deload protocol, there are a bunch listed in the Beyond book. I like keeping intensity high but cutting volume back to about half, so working to TMx1 is a good protocol for me, but that is totally individual and something you have to figure out.

In terms of meet prep, if your training log is pointing you in a certain direction, you need to go with that.


Heres my two cents on why you might have felt weaker after your deload.

  1. Its mental... your not going to suddenly detrain and grow weaker after a week long deload.

  2. You just had a bad day on your first week back or had a damn good day when you hit the 355 x 5. Pretty much how it goes , a person is not going to be 100% all the time. Besides it was one session you take the good with the bad .


I had the same experience after my first deload. Next week I will be deloading for the second time. Maybe I'll see different results this time. This time I'm using a different deload template to see if that works better. Prior to starting 5/3/1 I trained for many years without deloading and training 7 days a week. Now that I'm running 5/3/1 for 4 days a week I wonder if I'm better off not deloading. I'd like to hear what more people have to say including Jim.


Are you close to an elite total?


Thanks for the replies. I want to clarify that this is not my first time deloading, and I have noticed that I'm always weaker the week after, then pick up steam as the cycle moves on. It's not a bad day or bad week or anything, it's how the past 5 or 6 cycles have gone. And again, it doesn't bother me because I'm still stronger overall.

I don't care about having one subpar week every two months so long as I'm getting stronger, which I am. The only reason it matters at all is because I'm wondering if I should deload into this meet or do a 5s or 3s week before it. In the grand scheme of things its a minor concern and I'm not on track to break any world records, but like everyone I'd like to perform at my best on the platform.


I don't think so. My total is 1140 raw. 300 bench, 405 squat, and 435 deadlift.


You are better off deloading and following the program as written.


Follow the 6 week training plans (as its been written) with a one week deload. That's what I recommend.
If you think that you should train another way, I think you should do what you believe.


If I didn't believe in the deload, it wouldn't have been written in the program. If you believe you don't need to do it, then don't do it. I can't convince anyone to do anything, only give the advice I believe is best. Good luck!


For now I'm going to trust you and keep deloading. After I run the program for a while I'll evaluate it, and see if I need to make any adjustments.


What I did for my meets was followed the plan except I timed the deload the week of the meet with two days of rest , meets are on Saturdays. My deloads were the 40,50,60%. You need to remember it is a long day with rest between lifts, and trust me when you step on the platform that switch will get flipped. Its only you and the iron at that point.