View Full Version : loading/unloading 101
11-15-2006, 04:53 PM
Okay, so help me out here. What are these systems of loading/unloading that everyone knows about but me? I always thought it was 3 nadds-to-the-windshield weeks followed by one half-week and then a week off every 12th week. Or like in other programs every 5th week seems to be the down week.
Also my old workout log I used to keep, you would number all your workouts in terms of intensity from 1-5, and it said to "shoot for a healthy range of numbers." What is a healthy range of numbers? And if you don't show symptoms of overtraining, how do you know if you are?
Lastly, with my stupid !@#@#$ injury, my problem is that it will feel completely fine, and I'll work out pretty hard and it'll STILL feel fine, but then after I lift some weights it'll start hurting an hour later or the next day. So how the heck am I supposed to guage when it is okay again? My chiropractor told me I was okay to lift anything I want (he told me to limit the rowing) and I'll double-check on that in a few days, but he also told me I'll need to keep coming back forever, so I'm more interested in something I can incorporate on my own.
11-15-2006, 06:08 PM
There are a few quick and dirty rules for deloading, or taking a planned lay-off.
The first one is one that Dan John and I have discussed until we were sick of the topic, and it's basically every 4th week you need to either significantly lighten the load, not train at all, or do some sort of significantly different, yet not-very-taxing activity
(I am invoking Dan John's name here like he's my own personal savior and to add authority to my statements....heh)
You can dabble with that length of time, at some points in my training lifetime, I would go 8-10 weeks hard, or 5-6 weeks hard. Very dependent on your training and nutritional status. The heavy 1RM stuff that powerlifters and olympic lifters live on is really the major stuff that needs cycling.
The second is more counter-intuitive.
If you hit a PR, pack it up, do some abs, go on home. Take a day or two off.
Why? A PR, especially for a guy like me who's been lifting a long time, is a significant event. A breakthrough. And it is also something that now needs to be recovered from. You've done something you've never done before.
Although, when I am talking about these kinds of PRs, I am talking about PRs in long-practiced lifts, not in a lift that's new to your training regimen. A good example of this would be the guy who's struggled with reaching a 500# squat...when he hits it, it's a significant personal milestone, both mentally and physically.
11-15-2006, 06:10 PM
Also, the schedule you mentioned in your first paragraph isn't a bad place to start, either.
11-16-2006, 02:00 PM
bottom line with this stuff is this: do what works for YOU. you can dig up the most complex and impressive periodization plans, but if your recovery ability is not up to par for whatever reason, you'll still bury yourself. likewise, if you can push harder for longer than the plan calls for, you may be short changing yourself. personally, i've had good success with 2 weeks heavy, high volume and 1 week of about 65-70% loading, much less volume (o-lifting)--if i try to stick with schedules other people seem to thrive on, i just overtrain and lift like a spanker.
11-16-2006, 03:21 PM
Hmmm, I always take a lot of time off... But I wonder if I just push harder in martial arts on weeks I'm not training as hard... I never really count MA as training because often I barely even break a sweat... It's just really hard for me to gauge sometimes whether everyone's just going harder/faster/etc. on weeks where I'm feeling like everything is really difficult or if it's me being more tired. There are such a myriad of factors (stress, sleep, diet, etc.) that make it harder to tell whether I'm training too much or just having a bad day.
Or maybe it's between me figuring out when I don't want to work hard because I'm feeling lazy and when I don't want to work hard because I need more recovery time. I always assume it's just laziness and so I'd lift heavy on days I was scheduled to lift heavy, whether I felt like it or not... I guess I never have a problem going heavier on days I'm not scheduled for it if I feel like it though. Double standard! :eek:
I wish there was some easy way to gauge it. I was talking to a cyclist who is totally sold on resting heart rate for this. He checks it every morning and says it's the ticket to knowing how hard to train for the day.
Anyways, I've taken a whole week off entirely and I'm going for another low-intensity week with just sticks and bike rides...
11-16-2006, 03:27 PM
from what i've read, an elevated resting heart rate is a good indicator of overtraining for metabolic conditioning / endurance athletes, but it has no applicability to strength athletes. a better test for them might be testing vertical jump.
11-16-2006, 05:06 PM
Would it be just as good to test the standing broad jump to check for overtraining in strength athletes? Elite athletes VJ around 3' and SBJ around 10'. The longer distance would allow you to get a more precise grasp on one's relative change. (This idea inspired by Dan John.)
11-17-2006, 10:47 AM
probably... don't see why not.
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