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-   -   Periodization and deload (http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6609)

Marcus Herou 05-17-2012 01:47 PM

Periodization and deload
Big topic trying to be brief.

I've noticed that many CA cycles put in pretty decent amount of work before deloading (7-8 weeks seem to be normal) and deloading mostly occur before maxing.

I am very curious about the topic of periodic deloading and tapering in general. Would love to get a few insights into the backend of the program at CA. That perhaps is too much to ask since it might be business critical info but a pointer to where I can dig into the topic further would be appreciated.

I am designing a strength program which will last until new year and is thinking in either 4weeks on 1 off or 6 on 1 off and to taper before maxing out.The off week is "no barbell at all" week which I find scary.

Basically my questions are these I guess.

1. How much should one reduce volume/intensity i.e. taper the week before max?
2. If the "max" week is just a "X rep max" week should one really taper for that?
3. After the cycle (in my case 4w or 6w) is it proven that a complete rest week will improve the performance the next cycle or reduce the risk of injury?

Oh bytw thanks to advice from Amy here at the forum my lifts went up another 5%.


//Marcus Herou

Matt Morris 05-17-2012 03:03 PM

hopefully not too off topic...
I suffer from workout ADD, (in addition to being old, usually injured having a 1 year old and studying a ton every semester), so I've not had a chance to try this out, but I 'd like to propose the following program:

Basically, the goal is to cycle squats and classic lifts so that the total load cycles along with the classic and squat lifts. Here is what it looks like if your back squat PR was 120k and your clean PR was 100k. Every time we get to a 100% week I'm assuming we set a 5k PR.

week 1
classic 70% (70k)
Squat 90% (108k) total load 178k

week 2
classic 80% (80k)
Squat 100% (125 new PRk) total load 205k

week 3
classic 90% (90k)
squat 70% (87.5k) total load 177.5k

week 4
Classic 100% (105K new PR)
Squat 80% (100k) total load 205k

week 5
classic 70% (73.5k)
squat 90% (112.5k) total load 186

week 6
classic 80% (84k)
squat 100% (130k) total load 214

Note that the combination of cycled lifts creates a natural deload, while allowing for a linear progression...now my 1 year old is waking up from a nap...time to be a dad again!


Marcus Herou 05-19-2012 12:23 AM

Hmmm ok looks promising.

How would that work if I choose to work with:

5, 3, 1 reps of squat
3, 2, 1 reps of classic

I guess I need to summarize all exercises with a score from for example Prelepins chart?

Greg is maxing squat at the same time as classic and works from high volume+low intensity to low volume + high intensity.

Cant I just cycle that thought ?

Greg seem to like to switch intensity every other week i.e.
Squat 95% x 5 x Y sets
Squat 100% x 5
Squat 95% x 3
Squat 100% x 3
Squat 95% x 1
Squat 100% x 1

Max effort week is every 2nd I guess

Greg Everett 05-21-2012 09:37 AM


Originally Posted by Marcus Herou (Post 96545)

1. How much should one reduce volume/intensity i.e. taper the week before max?
2. If the "max" week is just a "X rep max" week should one really taper for that?
3. After the cycle (in my case 4w or 6w) is it proven that a complete rest week will improve the performance the next cycle or reduce the risk of injury?

1. This is unfortunately very individual. Some athletes do well with a dramatic intensity reduction, some do better with high intensity and dramatic volume reduction, some need both, etc. For a taper wk for sn and cj maxes, I would start with a week like:

monday - sn/cj to 90% x 1, fs to 85-90% x 1-2
tuesday - sn/cj to 85% x 1 x 1-2
wed - sn/cj to 80% x 1 x 1-3, maybe fs to ~ 80% x1
thur - sn/cj - 60-70% x 1 x 1-5
fri - rest
sat - meet or testing

This is a really basic taper set up, but one that I have seen work well. After you try that, you can experiment w changing it up a bit. For example, you may make tues a power sn/cj day to lighten it up a bit, you may find adding some pulls mon wed around 85-90% helps, etc.

2. You don't need to taper exactly to test anything - you may want to back off a little bit if you've been training really hard and really want to see what you can do. But if it's mid-cycle, you can reduce the normal training wk volume just a bit and leave intensity similar.

3. Nothing is proven. You really have to experiment with yourself. I personally don't like rest weeks that are zero training. If you really want to go super easy, lift at 60% w low volume and maybe reduced number of days/wk. I think you'll do better on that than not training at all.

Matt Foreman 05-21-2012 05:02 PM

I agree with what's been said. I also think you can use deload weeks in a "take one when you need it" manner. I usually pre-plan deloading weeks prior to starting a training cycle and then I stick with them as they're planned. However, I also have times when I'm training really well, everything feels fine, and I've got a deloading week coming up. Sometimes, I'll keep training hard when the deloading week is scheduled just to "strike while the iron is hot." Leter, when I feel like a deloading week is needed, I'll take it.

Overall, I'm a big believer in planning. But there's also something to be said for keeping the ball rolling when you're on a hot streak. You just have to make sure you don't abandon deloading weeks altogether because you're convinced that you'll never stop kicking ass. This is where having a coach with you all the time is valuable, because they'll make the calls for you.

Greg Everett 05-22-2012 11:16 AM

Matt makes a good point about being flexible with the timing. I do plan back-off weeks generally, but I also watch what's happening and adjust as needed. Typically I plan a cycle with weight progressions, etc but only give the lifters 1 week at a time. Based on how they're doing, I make adjustments as we go. But having a plan in place first makes it much easier to stay on track, especially when you're working with several programs at once - it's too hard to keep track of everyone's training and the plans I have for it in my head.

Marcus Herou 06-07-2012 02:05 AM

Thanks guys.

What I _do_ know is that I must plan my deload or it will not occur. I am one of those guys really good at digging deeper holes with more work when already in the hole.

I really like the "Strength by feel" approach with 90-95% vs 100% every second week and incrementally working towards lower RepMaxes in WeekPairs. It's like sub-tapering for a max every second week. The volume however is crazy in it :)

I need to experiment some more I believe.

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