Cut the volume, not the intensity, and get into your next training phase stronger than ever. Keep reading this blog by CRB Tech Reviews to know more.
An established-and-true way to get stronger in the gym is to work up to a “peak load,” like a rep PR, over a number of workouts. This could take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months, but once you touch the top—say, you are setting a new 5RM personal best, you drop down a bit at the end before beginning a new program.
This is known called “deload,” or “unload,” and it lasts about a week. During this perioid, you might keep lifting, but you don’t go over around 60 percent of your 1RM, depending on the program you follow.
So your successive bench press workouts could appear like this:
Bench press peak week: 3 sets of 5, top set 275 lbs., new 5-rep PR
Bench press deload week: 3 sets of 5, 185 lbs.
New program: Dumbbell bench press, 6 sets of 5, 75 lbs.
Theoretically, it makes sense to deload at the end of a routine to prepare, or more appropriately, “repair” the body for the next program to follow, it is redundant. You go light at the end of the program, only to begin light in the next. The new program is already a deload in its own way.
A better choice, is to “reset” rather than deload when the body reaches a peak level of strength and a lowering in workload is warranted. In simple words, lower the volume, not the intensity. Here we discuss, how to do it.
Progressive Resistance, Regressive Sets
The concept of peaking is that starts with a higher number of sets and a lower load, and slowly increase the load and decrease the sets. Every workout or two put a bit more weight on the bar and drop one set for each exercise. Here’s how it might look for our hypothetical bencher:
Start of a program: 6 working sets of 5 in bench press, 250 lbs.
Week 2: 5 working sets, top set 260 lbs.
Week 3: 4 working sets, top set 270 lbs.
Week 4 (Peak week): 3 sets of 5, top set 275 lbs., new 5-rep PR
Once you reach about half the number of sets you started with, it’s time to begin a new program.
This approach to training works exceptionally well. It maintains a high level of performance, while lowering stress on the body and mreducing the risk of injury.
Even with all the benefits this method provides, though, some lifters feel that the short workouts at the end of a routine don’t have enough volume to make enoughgains.
The truth is there’s more volume than you think in a short and heavy peaking routine
It’s very common among lifters to extend the last set or add extra volume on these peak training days.
Here’s a better solution: Treat your peak week well. Hit the reps, keep the weights heavy, and don’t sweat the decreased volume. Get in your new PR, and don’t add extra sets after you’ve hit your peak sets.
Is Your Peak a Cliff?
If your peaking protocol is very tough from the start, then you’re setting yourself up to fail.
The process of progressively increasing the weight until you reach a peak load must take 3-4 weeks, or more. If it happens before that, you began too heavy!
The magic is to start with the right weight, not too heavy and not too light, and to make progress with every workout until you reach a peak. When that happens, begin over again with a new set of exercises. This way, keep sending your body the message to get stronger, rather than giving it a two-week vacation where the body gets weaker.
We conclude now.
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