The Magical Rest Week

Stick to training related posts.

Moderators: Dux, seeahill

Post Reply
User avatar
Bram
Sergeant Commanding
Posts: 5623
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:38 am

The Magical Rest Week

Post by Bram » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:24 pm

I did a site search back to 2016, and found nothing, though there's little doubt this is a subject covered many, many times before.

After lifting regularly for the entire year, my body finally said, fuck the gym and I took a week off from standard training. I still surfed as much as I wanted - 7 sessions - which isn't much of a rest, but the intensity was much lower.

In any event, went to the gym yesterday. Came in stronger, more enthused, and more creative than I've been. Did some weighted chins up to the heaviest I've gone in over a year, did my best db bench in about a year, finished with a great surf session....so please share your own anecdotal stories, good scholarly articles or videos, best practices, etc.

You can rant about how de-load weeks are the same, different, more important.

My basic premise is....I'm tired, so I skip the gym for a week, and:

Food, lots of it. One night I had a package of spaghetti, a pound of beef, veggies, and a jar of sauce for dinner - something like 2400 calories.

Low volume. Up to 2-3 non-consecutive days of a couple of sets, of a couple of stabilization exercises. Last week, the most sets I did in a workout was 8.

Low intensity. Exercises were band terminal knee extensions, unweighted glute bridges, cable rear delts, and dumbbell/cable internal/external rotation.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

User avatar
Beer Jew
Sgt. Major
Posts: 3280
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:35 pm

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by Beer Jew » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:30 am

It’s all really a question of degrees.

How low do you go in a deload week? Is every lighter week a deload week?

For me the answer is to push the volume and intensity up until I’m not enjoying it. Then maintain intensity but substantially drop volume for a week. I’ll come back the next week fresher, stronger, but more importantly, still motivated.

If you find you can’t physically go to your 80%+ weights in a deload week, I think you’ve left it too long.

This all assumes you’re following some form of progressive overload. If you’re not, then you’re probably just tired having accumulated a load of volume over a year.

User avatar
powerlifter54
Sergeant Commanding
Posts: 7944
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 5:46 pm
Location: TX

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by powerlifter54 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:56 pm

"Start slowly, then ease off". Tortuga Golden Striders Running Club, Pensacola 1984.

"But even snake wrestling beats life in the cube, for me at least. In measured doses."-Lex

User avatar
terra
Top
Posts: 1317
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:54 pm

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by terra » Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:25 am

My ‘back-off week’ will often become, ‘stop training for 2 months’...

I never really know what to do during a back off week... I’m too busy to be wasting time in the gym doing ‘half volime’ at ‘40% RM’... I’d rather get some renovations done, or service my bike,

But yes, I do get stronger after a week off. Same happened when I used to climb too much.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

User avatar
newguy
Top
Posts: 1944
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 2:32 am

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by newguy » Sat Jun 08, 2019 4:43 pm

At some point you realize none of this has to bee that complicated.

Take a week off and just hike. Take two or three weeks off and stretch and do yoga.

Don't do any lifting.

Unless you are training for a competition of some sort, in the long run doing half volume for the week off won't give any appreciative benefit over completely taking it off completely.

User avatar
Bram
Sergeant Commanding
Posts: 5623
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:38 am

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by Bram » Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:22 pm

I think it's interesting that the powerlifters (Powerlifter54 and Bear Jew) still do the compound lifts, albeit at lower volume/intensity for PL54 and lower volume for BJ.

A big part of my rest week is zero compound lifts, just a couple sets of stabilizers. Do you guys not program any skipping of your compounds in your training?

To address New Guy and Terra, I've found, fairly consistently, that taking much over a week off makes my numbers go down. And it seems that if I give some (albeit limited) attention to the stabilizers on my rest weeks, versus ditching the gym 100%, I tend to come back stronger.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

User avatar
Beer Jew
Sgt. Major
Posts: 3280
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:35 pm

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by Beer Jew » Sat Jun 08, 2019 7:32 pm

I should add that in terms of intensity I’ll drop my top single for the day or top triple (usually 90%+) during a deload week.

I’ll likely do two sessions during the week, each with maybe 1 or 2 sets of 5 at 80% of the compounds. If you really can’t do that, then try deloading a week earlier than you usually would, so that you’re not beating yourself up too much.

Occasionally I’ll drop compounds for example if I’m on holiday without access to a gym. If it’s only a week it tends not to make too much of a difference, but then again I’m not exactly “strong” so there’s that.

User avatar
newguy
Top
Posts: 1944
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 2:32 am

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by newguy » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:55 pm

Bram wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:22 pm
I think it's interesting that the powerlifters (Powerlifter54 and Bear Jew) still do the compound lifts, albeit at lower volume/intensity for PL54 and lower volume for BJ.

A big part of my rest week is zero compound lifts, just a couple sets of stabilizers. Do you guys not program any skipping of your compounds in your training?

To address New Guy and Terra, I've found, fairly consistently, that taking much over a week off makes my numbers go down. And it seems that if I give some (albeit limited) attention to the stabilizers on my rest weeks, versus ditching the gym 100%, I tend to come back stronger.
You know your body and needs best.

That being said, when you are thinking about recovery and long term adaptation, it is worth considering the difference between strength and numbers. The two do not always go hand in hand. The recovery period may lead to an increase in strength that is not initially reflected in the numbers because the movement pattern is rusty.

User avatar
Bram
Sergeant Commanding
Posts: 5623
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:38 am

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by Bram » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:53 pm

newguy wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:55 pm

You know your body and needs best.

That being said, when you are thinking about recovery and long term adaptation, it is worth considering the difference between strength and numbers. The two do not always go hand in hand. The recovery period may lead to an increase in strength that is not initially reflected in the numbers because the movement pattern is rusty.
I guess I enjoy training enough, that more than a week and I feel like I'm missing out.

I could be leaving some adaptation on the table with only one week off. But if it re-energizes me and creeps my numbers up a bit, it seems like a "winning enough" situation.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

User avatar
Bram
Sergeant Commanding
Posts: 5623
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:38 am

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by Bram » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:53 pm

Beer Jew. do you compete? Just assuming you do with the structured high-intensity approach.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

User avatar
newguy
Top
Posts: 1944
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 2:32 am

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by newguy » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:46 am

Bram wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:53 pm
newguy wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:55 pm

You know your body and needs best.

That being said, when you are thinking about recovery and long term adaptation, it is worth considering the difference between strength and numbers. The two do not always go hand in hand. The recovery period may lead to an increase in strength that is not initially reflected in the numbers because the movement pattern is rusty.
I guess I enjoy training enough, that more than a week and I feel like I'm missing out.

I could be leaving some adaptation on the table with only one week off. But if it re-energizes me and creeps my numbers up a bit, it seems like a "winning enough" situation.
If you are getting what you need/want out of it than it is more than winning enough. It is exactly what you need.

Blaidd Drwg
Lifetime IGer
Posts: 19089
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:39 pm

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:53 pm

Most rest weeks in strength and power sports feel like dog shit. The week after often does as well. I honestly see no rhyme or reason to them other than, they are needed....but they are to be endured at best.

A best practice I've found for both strength (lifting), power (throws) and endurance (riding, running rucking) is to deprogram your down week meaning, don't have a huge plan other than you wan to just "play it" that week. Go into the sessions with the idea you're going to just warm up and screw off. Lighter movements for speed, quick easy runs on soft terrain, doing skill work but not to frustration at all...just go in and show off a little. then pack it up.
"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." JS Mill

User avatar
powerlifter54
Sergeant Commanding
Posts: 7944
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 5:46 pm
Location: TX

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by powerlifter54 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:21 pm

To answer the question, I found dropping the big lifts did help recovery a bit more but 7-10 days of not doing the lift made loss of groove more of a problem. So I added them back in nice and easy. Very important to not overthink this and give your brain a rest too. Meet Training was not only physically challenging but mentally draining. Your last two heavy squat and bench workouts matter. I thought of little else last few weeks.
"Start slowly, then ease off". Tortuga Golden Striders Running Club, Pensacola 1984.

"But even snake wrestling beats life in the cube, for me at least. In measured doses."-Lex

User avatar
Beer Jew
Sgt. Major
Posts: 3280
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:35 pm

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by Beer Jew » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:50 am

Bram wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:53 pm
Beer Jew. do you compete? Just assuming you do with the structured high-intensity approach.
I have, in the past, but I’m not sure if I will again.

A bunch of dudes spending £100 to sit in a freezing cold school hall for six hours and get five minutes up on the platform actually lifting...

Irrespective of whether you compete or not, if you want to get stronger (significantly stronger) you need to train hard. If you’re training hard, you’ll need to back off every now and again.

User avatar
newguy
Top
Posts: 1944
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 2:32 am

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by newguy » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:16 am

Blaidd Drwg wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:53 pm
Most rest weeks in strength and power sports feel like dog shit. The week after often does as well. I honestly see no rhyme or reason to them other than, they are needed....but they are to be endured at best.

A best practice I've found for both strength (lifting), power (throws) and endurance (riding, running rucking) is to deprogram your down week meaning, don't have a huge plan other than you wan to just "play it" that week. Go into the sessions with the idea you're going to just warm up and screw off. Lighter movements for speed, quick easy runs on soft terrain, doing skill work but not to frustration at all...just go in and show off a little. then pack it up.
Have you ever experimented with longer breaks than a rest "week?"

Blaidd Drwg
Lifetime IGer
Posts: 19089
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:39 pm

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:37 am

newguy wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:16 am
Blaidd Drwg wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:53 pm
Most rest weeks in strength and power sports feel like dog shit. The week after often does as well. I honestly see no rhyme or reason to them other than, they are needed....but they are to be endured at best.

A best practice I've found for both strength (lifting), power (throws) and endurance (riding, running rucking) is to deprogram your down week meaning, don't have a huge plan other than you wan to just "play it" that week. Go into the sessions with the idea you're going to just warm up and screw off. Lighter movements for speed, quick easy runs on soft terrain, doing skill work but not to frustration at all...just go in and show off a little. then pack it up.
Have you ever experimented with longer breaks than a rest "week?"

Yes. In three silos of competition. In PL/SM in the throws and in Bike racing. I've programmed longer ones (meh...) and I've fallen into a malaise as well taking as much as a month COMPLETELY off.

Honestly, the month off made very little difference to yearly progress in strength and power. It absolutely nuked me for bike racing. If I return to endurance pursuits IDK that's I'd ever take more than 3 days totally off unless hurt. There's just no need most of the time.

I think Jack will probably have notions here s well but the typical 3work/1rest week actually plays more subtle. You go for three "hard" weeks ending that 21 days fatigued, then if you get it right, you come through a rest week hopefully refreshed and slightly snappier but actually a little detrained, for your first work week back. No matter how you try it, that firt week back cant really be at full throttle. So the actual rest to work ratio is more blurry. That said....I have never seen a person who was training in earnest come back from a rest week feeling really stronger...they might feel good but their performance is often quite crap. The closer you get to your actual capabilities, the more easily you are dulled by rests or training mistakes. Having it tried it as many ways as I can figure, I'd rather go into an event slightly fatigued but in the groove over peaked to the gills and not quite sure where the redline is.

Personally I like no rest weeks during build blocks and sharp and focused ret weeks in an 8-12 week peak.
"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." JS Mill

User avatar
powerlifter54
Sergeant Commanding
Posts: 7944
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 5:46 pm
Location: TX

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by powerlifter54 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:36 am

My reason to adding back in the lifts was exactly for the reason BD says, after a back off I feel great physically but week 1 is ugly from a groove standpoint and it just feels heavy. Good part is i don’t freak because I know it is coming. But for me that was a Geared week, so to mitigate the rollback I refined my view of baseline sets, which are the same light warmups all the time in the main lifts. Took it further and randomized the warmups because of use of 100lb -lates/kilos in warmup rooms. So I either did 135/225/315/405x3 or 155/245/335/425x3 as warmup and for back off week base movement sets.
"Start slowly, then ease off". Tortuga Golden Striders Running Club, Pensacola 1984.

"But even snake wrestling beats life in the cube, for me at least. In measured doses."-Lex

User avatar
Beer Jew
Sgt. Major
Posts: 3280
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:35 pm

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by Beer Jew » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:30 pm

Interesting point BD, although I don’t think I’d have noticed it if you hadn’t pointed it out. I’d say in terms of how I feel and perform:

- Deload Week
- Week 1: Everything moves nicely, but a little harder to get into the groove. Things feel heavy though.
- Week 2: Strongest and most technically perfect week. Everything moving fastest.
- Week 3: Starting to hurt and ache, weights feel heavy, I feel very strong; good week to move big weights for me.
- Week 4: Either push one more if Week 3 wasn’t too bad or deload if I come into the gym and have no desire to push myself.

User avatar
newguy
Top
Posts: 1944
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 2:32 am

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by newguy » Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:31 am

Interesting regarding the differences between strength pursuits and endurance. And it matches my very limited and low level experience. Any break from an endurance activity absolutely destroys my ability in that arena. I am painfully and ego crushingly experiencing it again as I slog my way back to running form....after building up being able to run 10 miles (slowly) and then injury and other shit derailing me......I'm now spending week after week just building up to running 10 straight minutes.

Compare that to literally years without benching and then last summer working back up to some crisp triples with 205 over course of weeks.

User avatar
powerlifter54
Sergeant Commanding
Posts: 7944
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 5:46 pm
Location: TX

Re: The Magical Rest Week

Post by powerlifter54 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:58 pm

Beer Jew wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:30 pm
Interesting point BD, although I don’t think I’d have noticed it if you hadn’t pointed it out. I’d say in terms of how I feel and perform:

- Deload Week
- Week 1: Everything moves nicely, but a little harder to get into the groove. Things feel heavy though.
- Week 2: Strongest and most technically perfect week. Everything moving fastest.
- Week 3: Starting to hurt and ache, weights feel heavy, I feel very strong; good week to move big weights for me.
- Week 4: Either push one more if Week 3 wasn’t too bad or deload if I come into the gym and have no desire to push myself.


Completely agree.

I use a basic guideline of whatever I jump from week 1 to 2 I jump about half that to week 3.
"Start slowly, then ease off". Tortuga Golden Striders Running Club, Pensacola 1984.

"But even snake wrestling beats life in the cube, for me at least. In measured doses."-Lex

Post Reply