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Old 04-09-2012, 08:57 AM   #1
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Default Proper Backcycling

Happy Easter to all- I am sure you got get plenty of protein the week end

My questions regards proper back cycling-or the ramp up period to build momentum.
I currently "stalled"( I know BTB doesnīt like the word-so the "" are for you) on my programm and want to back cycle.

One method is to remain the parameters, cut weight off by 20% and take something like 3-4 weeks till you get to your old PRs again to smash them.

Well the other alternative I thought of, would be to reduce the weight to deload but to raise the volume instead.
Also lyle mentiones that:
Back-Cycling Weights - Q&A | BodyRecomposition - The Home of Lyle McDonald

Either way i get a deload from the weight. But in the second case I also improve work capacity and still train for improvement.

When you think of Wendlers 531 its quite similar. If you stall out he suggests to take 10% off, calculate the weights new and start the cycle lighter again.
Also in his case the volume gets up because he still trains hard but with lesser weight-so the reps he get on his Pr days will be quite high-and so the volume.

So you can also see it from the side of "practicing" the lift with much more volume when you back off the weight and raise the reps or sets or as a accumulation phase or a little programm tweak.

What do you think about this and how would you arrange sth for a heavy light medium plan?

Thank you
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:30 AM   #2
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How stalled are you? One session? One week? One month?
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:32 AM   #3
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3 weeks in the row with caloric surplus. I donīt get weaker but also i dont get stronger. Not one rep.
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:50 AM   #4
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I don't think that 3 weeks is something to panic over even though it is frustrating as hell. What does your training plan actually look like?

If you are looking for strength gains and don't mind being a little 'minimalist', something like Madcow 5x5 is a pretty good idea. In it, you are recommended to go a few steps back and aim to equal a new PR in week 4. If you are indeed eating well and maintaining a caloric surplus (and eating plenty of protein naturally), you should hit several PRs in subsequent weeks. I ran Madcow myself and it got me moving towards my goals.

It's just a suggestion and there are many great progression based programs available but you do need patience.
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:42 PM   #5
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thanks. i train hlm whole body. one day is 3x3-5 reps the second 2x15-20 and the third 3x8-10. backcycling is possible with any programm be it 5x5 ,a christy programm or hlm. my questions is if i should only cut the weight back and build up again OR if i cut back weight AND increase the volume to increase work capacity.and practice the.lift noss.morr often via that. hope the question is more clear now.

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Old 04-09-2012, 01:33 PM   #6
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In my opinion the volume increase in Wendler's when backing off isn't anything substantial. You gain 2-4 more reps on one all-out set each week. The main benefit, that I see, is twofold:

1) Giving yourself a mental break from the current grind.
2) Lightening the weight, basically giving your body a longer period away from extremely heavy work.

I think you need to look at your program as a whole and ask yourself if you're getting enough overall volume on the big movements. I don't know that I could sustain any progress with 3 sets of bench per week. Some guys can, but I couldn't.

Also, you're not stalling on every lift, so I would rather see you address the specific lifts giving you issue as opposed to deloading everything.

Some lifters need more frequency. Some more volume. Some need to add more intensity. Some more assistance work, or to restructure their program and week out some of the lighter lifts that aren't challenging the body enough. Perhaps you need to bring up your light day and make it more challenging. Perhaps you keep the light day and make your medium day more challenging.

The point I am trying to make here is that if you are eating enough, I think you need to address specific weak exercises and perhaps add volume, frequency, intensity, etc.

Some lifters also never push for max reps on all sets, so they might do 3 sets, but only have a max reps set once a week for a given lift. I don't think this is enough, and I don't like this approach for intermediate lifters. Not sure how you work each set, but thought I would mention this.

You can certainly reset everything and run up the ladder again. That's not going to do any harm. But the answer you seek is the question all experienced lifters seek. At some point you need to try something different and evolve your program.

I can't simply say dropping the weight and adding more volume will work, but it's worth a shot. Perhaps you try this for 3 weeks, and allow yourself 500 more calories than normal. Enter a period of high volume where you are allowed to eat more and see what happens.
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:15 PM   #7
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Thank you BTB for your reply.

Good that you replied to this thread too, because I think I have misunderstood your point in my last thread: There you stated that all BB you witnessed are training the same way over the years without worrying about quantitative or qualitative changes. Plateaus are just mental and yourself being training the same way since 10 years.

Perhaps we have a different understanding of changing things up.

In my sense its "tweaking" like if my bench stalls and I notice its the triceps, i switch to a narrow grip and remain the HLM template.
I didnīt mean to switch to kickpacks for 3x30 just for the sake of variety.
Variety and changes within reason and goals.

Do we go the same line here?

Regarding effort:

I think finding a line here is not easy. On the one side you have the guys who advice not to burn out and stop something like 3 reps of failure. Stimulate not annhilate: The volume and % of rpm you do is important.

The other guys are on the no pain no gain side like Doggcrap. Failure +more.

I experimented with both worlds:

If I do decreasing sets (so each set to the last rep possible and decreasing the load on the subsequent sets to fall in my rep range again) I get BRUTALLY strong over 3 weeks (20 pound increase on all sets), then in week 4 I weaken, overreach and loose strength RAPIDLY.
Also I can only train this way for 3-4 sets per exercise and even only one pull and push exercise the session. So benching, rowing -thats it.No energy left for other stuff. Also this kind of training drains mentally and physically.

So my common way is to use straight sets-the same weight for all sets. The weight is chosen the way, that the last rep of the last set is near failure.
So the heavy days are also heavier regarding the efford-no cummulative fatigue here.
When training with 3x10 and 2 min rest the first set is quite easy/medium, the second set medium and the third set hard. Cummulative fatigue.
Progress is MUCH slower this way but consistent and probed for a whole body programm involving more exercises then a bench and a row.
With this efford I can gain a even little bit on EACH exercise I do in the session.
Progress is about 3 reps per exercise in the beginning weeks and 0-1 reps in the ending weeks.Summed up 10 pounds this cycle in 7 weeks per exercise.

Also an interesting article on the topic:

http://www.gustrength.com/eric-troy:...ensity-cycling

Last edited by flow; 04-09-2012 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:49 PM   #8
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I absolutely believe in intensity cycling and have had very good success with it. The human body is not a machine with cogs and wheels and should not be treated as such. Applying scientific formulas for force production just seems out of place when there are so many variables to consider. There are many ways to deal with stalls, some easy and others more complex. Intensity cycling is one of the easier ways but there are other ways that are even easier to try first. Increasing calories and increasing recovery are usually the first basic steps.
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
I absolutely believe in intensity cycling and have had very good success with it. The human body is not a machine with cogs and wheels and should not be treated as such. Applying scientific formulas for force production just seems out of place when there are so many variables to consider. There are many ways to deal with stalls, some easy and others more complex. Intensity cycling is one of the easier ways but there are other ways that are even easier to try first. Increasing calories and increasing recovery are usually the first basic steps.
are you still back cycling?
What do you recommend in my situation?
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flow View Post
are you still back cycling?
Yes, I am using 5/3/1 which is basically intensity cycling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by flow View Post
What do you recommend in my situation?
In order...
1. Increase calories (again if needed)
2. Increase quality of food
3. Increase sleep
4. Reduce stress
5. Plug in an extra rest day
6. Reduce to twice weekly full-body workouts

If you are still stalled after a few weeks and those things didn't help, then go ahead and re-cycle.
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