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Old 10-07-2011, 11:34 AM   #1
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Default When is a good time to reset?

I often read where people are going to "reset" their weight on a certain exercise. I know I have had stubborn humps to get over, and times when I feel like I've hit a wall in terms of progression, but I don't know what exactly a "reset" is and whether it is practical.

So the question is: When would you reset or is it even a helpful device to aid your progression?
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:12 PM   #2
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A reset is basically taking a few steps back in training after you run into a stall or another issue which cannot be resolved by increasing the work (weight, sets, reps, or additional lifts). The steps back will give your body a chance to "recover" and adapt to the previously high workload. You'll eventually work back up to the previous stall and if correct programming is used, continue to push past it for some time before another reset or change is needed.

Most resets are not planned, when a weight/reps/sets cannot be completed for 1-3 sessions a reset is probably in order. I say 1-3 because some people just have bad days (hard day at work, bad sleep/eats, stress at home...). Another reason is because at some point a person will not be able to progress from session to session and may only be able to progress every other session.

One way to avoid a reset and continue to push onward is to change things up slightly. If for example your session's goal is to hit 3x5x185 but have only been able to get 2x5, 1x3/4 for sometime, change to 5x3x185 and continue to push weight. The volume will be the same but the smaller sets will be much easier to handle. This should buy you more time for progression before a reset is necessary.
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:16 PM   #3
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Excellent post Pull.

I believe stalls are just part of the learning curve that new lifters have to struggle with. They teach you a lot about yourself and how your body responds to the progression. As we advance, we should get better at staying ahead of the stalls.
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Old 10-07-2011, 03:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pull14 View Post
A reset is basically taking a few steps back in training after you run into a stall or another issue which cannot be resolved by increasing the work (weight, sets, reps, or additional lifts). The steps back will give your body a chance to "recover" and adapt to the previously high workload. You'll eventually work back up to the previous stall and if correct programming is used, continue to push past it for some time before another reset or change is needed.

Most resets are not planned, when a weight/reps/sets cannot be completed for 1-3 sessions a reset is probably in order. I say 1-3 because some people just have bad days (hard day at work, bad sleep/eats, stress at home...). Another reason is because at some point a person will not be able to progress from session to session and may only be able to progress every other session.

One way to avoid a reset and continue to push onward is to change things up slightly. If for example your session's goal is to hit 3x5x185 but have only been able to get 2x5, 1x3/4 for sometime, change to 5x3x185 and continue to push weight. The volume will be the same but the smaller sets will be much easier to handle. This should buy you more time for progression before a reset is necessary.
That answers my question perfectly, thanks Pull!
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Old 10-07-2011, 03:37 PM   #5
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One thing I will add, unless it's been stated already, is that it has become commonplace for guys to have a bad workout and think that signals trouble.

My personal opinion is that if you get to 3 workouts and you haven't made any progression, it's a good time to take a step back.

You might also just allow yourself a slump buster, or a day to go into the gym and do something different and fun, but taxing. When I used to hit bench press slumps I would go in and do 10x10 pushups or bench sessions just to take my mind off things and do something crazy. I only recommend this if you hit a slump but are feeling great physically.

Sometimes our fitness level can be there, but fatigue can be holding us back. This is the essence of dual factor training. If you feel snot bubbled (weak/tired) for multiple sessions you may have the strength to make progression, but your fatigue is holding you back. This is a good time for a deload.

"Dual factor training" isn't talked about much on forums but I think it's an important concept.
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Old 10-07-2011, 04:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
One thing I will add, unless it's been stated already, is that it has become commonplace for guys to have a bad workout and think that signals trouble.

My personal opinion is that if you get to 3 workouts and you haven't made any progression, it's a good time to take a step back.

You might also just allow yourself a slump buster, or a day to go into the gym and do something different and fun, but taxing. When I used to hit bench press slumps I would go in and do 10x10 pushups or bench sessions just to take my mind off things and do something crazy. I only recommend this if you hit a slump but are feeling great physically.

Sometimes our fitness level can be there, but fatigue can be holding us back. This is the essence of dual factor training. If you feel snot bubbled (weak/tired) for multiple sessions you may have the strength to make progression, but your fatigue is holding you back. This is a good time for a deload.

"Dual factor training" isn't talked about much on forums but I think it's an important concept.
I think Bill Starr says for Madcow that you should go back 3-4 weeks if you hit 2-3 stall weeks running. Obviously, I hope I hit numerous PR's before that happens.
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:55 PM   #7
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Just playing devil's advocate here, but it is possible to bang your head against a stall for several weeks just to have a break-through and start gaining again.
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