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View Full Version : My idea to try next 531 cycle on the deload weeks


Garrett Smith
11-06-2009, 05:56 AM
I recently did a cycle of 531 for bench, deads, back squats, and curls (yes, really).

I made promising gains in all of them, which I dang well should considering my noobish strength level on BB lifts. :(

That being said, I ended that cycle with what I consider significant imbalances in my right hip (it actually seems weaker all around, and I was getting discomfort in my hip flexors and TFL) and my right shoulder wasn't too happy either.

My idea for the next go-round of 531 is, on the deload weeks, to skip the BB and do unilateral variations of the exercises that I'm training...both to keep with the "deload" idea and to help minimize imbalances side-to-side.

For those who have trouble picturing this, here are my initial thoughts:
Deadlift -> Single-leg DL with DB(s)
Back Squat -> Step-ups
Front Squat -> Pistols
Press -> KB or DB presses, one side at a time
Bench -> KB or DB bench, one side at a time

Just my thoughts, FWIW...I think this will lead to less "rehab" being needed in the flexibility/mobility training after a cycle or two of PL training (which Tate even recommended), and also won't take away from the "deload" too much.

Aaron Austin
11-06-2009, 06:34 AM
Garrett, that is a good idea. My deload week starts Monday, so I might pinch some of your ideas.

Aaron

Garrett Smith
11-06-2009, 07:23 AM
Please do, it's the only reason I posted it... :)

Jon Sikes
11-06-2009, 07:28 AM
That being said, I ended that cycle with what I consider significant imbalances in my right hip (it actually seems weaker all around, and I was getting discomfort in my hip flexors and TFL) and my right shoulder wasn't too happy either.

My idea for the next go-round of 531 is, on the deload weeks, to skip the BB and do unilateral variations of the exercises that I'm training...both to keep with the "deload" idea and to help minimize imbalances side-to-side.

For those who have trouble picturing this, here are my initial thoughts:
Deadlift -> Single-leg DL with DB(s)
Back Squat -> Step-ups
Front Squat -> Pistols
Press -> KB or DB presses, one side at a time
Bench -> KB or DB bench, one side at a time

Just my thoughts, FWIW...I think this will lead to less "rehab" being needed in the flexibility/mobility training after a cycle or two of PL training (which Tate even recommended), and also won't take away from the "deload" too much.


Will one week in four of unilateral work be enough to make a difference on imbalances?

I wonder, if you're pushing the unilateral stuff on your deload weeks hard enough to make a difference on your imbalances, will it be much of a deload?

Might be better to incorporate the unilateral stuff as assistance after the main movements throughout your cycle. For example, 5/3/1 Press -- then some high rep one arm DB presses or alternating or whatever. Kinda like WS4SB.

Gant Grimes
11-06-2009, 07:35 AM
Should work fine. I frequently use unilateral exercises for assistance work during the main cycle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZlodHgCipk

Arien Malec
11-06-2009, 08:15 AM
Might be better to incorporate the unilateral stuff as assistance after the main movements throughout your cycle. For example, 5/3/1 Press -- then some high rep one arm DB presses or alternating or whatever. Kinda like WS4SB.

That was my thought as well, and more in line with the 5/3/1 approach.

Allen Yeh
11-06-2009, 09:02 AM
Should work fine. I frequently use unilateral exercises for assistance work during the main cycle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZlodHgCipk

This is what I did as well. I try to do a unilateral opposite on the day that was just done usually.

For example:

Deadlift day - single leg squats or lunges or BSSs...etc
squat day - single leg RDL
military press - dumbbell chest stuff
bench press - kroc rows, dumbbell overhead stuff

Garrett Smith
11-06-2009, 12:03 PM
Will one week in four of unilateral work be enough to make a difference on imbalances?
Dunno. Gonna try it out.
I wonder, if you're pushing the unilateral stuff on your deload weeks hard enough to make a difference on your imbalances, will it be much of a deload?
These would not be pushed hard. Unilateral exercises typically are less "stress" on the system by nature, due to less muscle being used and less stability, so I am factoring that in. Less practice on them would also limit the intensity somewhat. Possibly one of the biggest benefits of them (IMO) would be gauging whether or not problems are developing that need more attention sooner rather than later.
Might be better to incorporate the unilateral stuff as assistance after the main movements throughout your cycle. For example, 5/3/1 Press -- then some high rep one arm DB presses or alternating or whatever. Kinda like WS4SB.
From what I've experienced with my particular programming, adding much to my program would not serve me well. I was pushing my recovery capabilities before, my (planning stage) program after my "time off" phase I'm currently in will likely be slightly more volume. Others sound like they are doing well with that approach though...

Mark Fenner
11-07-2009, 09:52 AM
From what I've experienced with my particular programming, adding much to my program would not serve me well. I was pushing my recovery capabilities before, my (planning stage) program after my "time off" phase I'm currently in will likely be slightly more volume. Others sound like they are doing well with that approach though...

Garrett,

I'd add a vote for using unilateral movements (single leg) after your main exercise (squat or dead). But, I'd recommend doing them instead of the other lower body secondary stuff. For example, instead of doing Boring but Big, do Single Leg Supplementals: 1-leg squat, 1-leg DB RDL, 1-leg split squat, etc. Incidentally, don't forget suitcase deadlifts. You could do "normal" upper body stuff (5 of 10 of dips/chins/etc.) and an "appropriate" volume of single leg stuff.

In the deload week, you could drop the bigs and only do the single leg sups.

Best,
Mark

jake oleander
11-08-2009, 03:54 PM
Hey Garret, I have a serious muscle imbalance on my right leg from a broken knee 5 years ago. Do you think I would be well advised to stop doing bilateral work and try to add enough strength on my right leg to even things out?

Garrett Smith
11-09-2009, 05:52 AM
Jake,
That's probably the only way things will ever start to even out, so yes, I'd say so.

I know Mike Boyle and Chad Waterbury are much bigger fans of unilateral leg work than bilateral, if that means anything.

jake oleander
11-09-2009, 07:17 AM
Jake,
That's probably the only way things will ever start to even out, so yes, I'd say so.

I know Mike Boyle and Chad Waterbury are much bigger fans of unilateral leg work than bilateral, if that means anything.

i was told a long time ago by a PT that my legs would start to even out by doing bilateral work, but obviously that hasnt been working. I have small legs and the right one is a full inch smaller in circumference than the left, i think one is 23 and one is 24 inches.
so do you think i should switch all strength work to unilateral on the right and leave power work with both legs? my right leg is unfortunately also my dominant leg so it takes the heaviest loads in plyometric and power movements, but with strength stuff like squats it is probably taking a lot less than 50% of the weight.

Gavin Harrison
11-09-2009, 05:45 PM
Jake, just do your corrective unilateral stuff with your right leg first, then match the effort with your left. Then both legs are working the same amount for the corrective exercises, and your right one will catch up.

Garrett Smith
11-09-2009, 06:35 PM
i was told a long time ago by a PT that my legs would start to even out by doing bilateral work, but obviously that hasnt been working. I have small legs and the right one is a full inch smaller in circumference than the left, i think one is 23 and one is 24 inches.
so do you think i should switch all strength work to unilateral on the right and leave power work with both legs? my right leg is unfortunately also my dominant leg so it takes the heaviest loads in plyometric and power movements, but with strength stuff like squats it is probably taking a lot less than 50% of the weight.
Gavin is right here.

Sad to say, but your PT is totally off on this one. An imbalance will often only get worse over time with strictly bilateral work.

jake oleander
11-09-2009, 07:20 PM
Jake, just do your corrective unilateral stuff with your right leg first, then match the effort with your left. Then both legs are working the same amount for the corrective exercises, and your right one will catch up.

OK, so it's important to work both? I did a little unilateral workout today; split squats, single leg deads, and pistols off a box. Doing these with my left at the same weights (95lbs) would be a complete joke. Do the motions anyway?
I was thinking about doing bilateral power work before the unilateral strength in my workouts. After these exercises my right knee is taxed, but I want to continue with olympic lifts and power training and I need to do them first. Is this OK?