People love to train hard and it’s easy to get into the mindset of training week in, week out without scheduling breaks into the training.
Eventually it can start to catch up with you – feeling some niggling aches here and there, feeling tired, not looking forward to the gym and the weights are feeling a lot heavier than usual.
These are signs you may need a back-off or rest week.
Below are some of the strategies I’ve used over the years when I’ve wanted to take my training down a notch for a week and they might be useful to you:
Complete Rest / Recovery Week
This is as it says - a complete rest from training for a week. Allow your muscles to recover from all the beasting you’ve been giving them and get some proper recovery. This will benefit a lot of people, especially if you’ve been pushing it hard.
I get it though, it’s hard to get into the mindset of taking a week off completely for fear you’ll lose gains from the gym (you won’t). If you don’t want to do that, there are some alternative options.
Instead of being in the gym, get outside and get walking / biking / playing some sports, anything that gets you exercising still but is different from resistance training. If you still want to be in the gym, then do some light cardio work or focus more on some foam rolling and mobility drills.
Reduce the volume
If you still want to lift heavy weights then you can always reduce the volume you’re doing. For example, if you’re doing 3 – 4 sets of 8 reps, consider doing 2 sets of 8 reps for 1 week.
This will still let you train hard whilst keeping the volume down to allow for a bit of recovery.
Reduce the weights and go higher reps
This may sound like sacrilege to a lot of gym go-ers, especially if you love doing 5 – 10 reps for 3 – 5 sets. Consider doing 2 – 3 sets of 15 – 20 reps for exercises.
This will still give you a training stimulus and allow for some recovery to take place. It may even benefit you as you’re not used to high rep work so you could get some positive gains from it. Dem gainz, bro!
This is my, mostly, Personal Trainer musings and information which I hope you'll find helpful!