How to Smartly Deload on an Intermediate Program?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by Pathogenic, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. Pathogenic

    Pathogenic Wo Cao Ni Ma

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    I've been running an intermediate program based on weekly progression (specifically Madcow 5x5) for about 20 weeks, and I recently ran into a big wall. I've deloaded on the program in the past after failing, but it seems to always set me back at least a month when I deload. This time, my own stupidity caused me to get set back even further. I'm not sure what exactly causes one to regress so much over the course of two weeks, but I seem to be set back >6 weeks in terms of progress, and I feel like this shouldn't happen. This leads me to believe that my deloading protocol is very wrong. Here's a synopsis of what happened to me recently:

    Tried to do a top set of 5 of 320 lbs on the squat last Monday, which is a triple plate squat for me because my plates are over. I failed on the 5th rep, and I failed pretty badly. I've always wanted a triple plate squat (though I realize this isn't impressive by most peoples' standards), so I decided I would try again to get 3 reps of it on Friday (which is when Madcow calls for a top set triple that is 5lbs heavier than the 5 rep top set earlier that week). This time, I got only one rep. I tried attempting 320 again as my top set on Monday, and got steamrolled. I couldn't even get one rep. On Friday, I attempted to deload all the way down to 295 for my "heavy" triple, and I failed on the third rep.

    I don't think that it could possibly be necessary for me to back off from 7 hard weeks of progress just because I failed my squat three times straight over a span of a week and a half. Have any of you managed to successfully deload on programs like this in a way that doesn't destroy, literally, months of progress?
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  2. colobb

    colobb White Belt

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    From my experience running Madcow 5X5, you have to set your maxes lower than you think. You should not be failing at 6 weeks. Its a 12 week program without de-loads and you should be able to complete it.

    Beyond that it can also come down to a nutrition. If you're not eating in a pretty big surplus Madcow will run you into the ground. As you progress through the weeks GPP will have to decrease to compensate for the increasing loads as well.
     
  3. casperthegst

    casperthegst Blue Belt

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    whats your diet looking like? sleep? Madcow tends to get tuff you may want to consider texas method.
     
  4. Pathogenic

    Pathogenic Wo Cao Ni Ma

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    Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention that this isn't the 6th week I've been running it. I've actually been running it for 20ish weeks. I'm just curious as to how to smartly deload so that I don't lose those >6 weeks of progress

    My sleep is good right now. I get 9 hours every night. Diet is also not a problem. I've been eating in a surplus for almost 4 months.
     
  5. colobb

    colobb White Belt

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    gotcha, a simple deload would be to run the same workout but at 50% for an entire week. And 20 weeks is a long time to run the Madcow template. Are you still making gains? If not it might be wise to run something thats not linear like 531.
     
  6. Pathogenic

    Pathogenic Wo Cao Ni Ma

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    Thanks. So my top set would be about 50% of my 1rm for a week, and then attempt 320 again after that?

    I've been progressing pretty well! I tore my ACL last December and so I've been running Madcow on my bench for a little over a year, with relatively consistent PRs over the last 30 weeks (I've been going up in relatively modest 2.5lb increments per week). I was recently given the okay to squat and deadlift again, so I did a sort of SS-like program for a few weeks and then immediately started Madcow-ing again.
     
  7. colobb

    colobb White Belt

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    Yes 50% of your 1rm. I would not jump into 320 after that. Back off a little and work back into those max numbers. Honestly though, it sounds like you should switch up your programming. 30 weeks is a LONG time to run a linear progression based program. Its great you have milked those gains as long as possible, but it always comes to a point when you can't add weight to the bar every single week. Thats when programs like 531, juggernaught, westside, cube method, sheiko, ect come in.
     
  8. Gawd

    Gawd Banned Banned

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    Why not reduce your max after the deload week and aim for a new 320 attempt in about 6 weeks?
     
  9. Cratos

    Cratos Banned Banned

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    Deload?

    Sounds like it's time, bro.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Pathogenic

    Pathogenic Wo Cao Ni Ma

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    That sounds perfectly reasonable. Thanks. I guess 6 weeks in the long run isn't a big deal. If I fail again then I'll consider switching programs, but only my squat has stalled.
     
  11. Pathogenic

    Pathogenic Wo Cao Ni Ma

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    Haha. You never disappoint.
     
  12. guilineseguy

    guilineseguy Black Belt

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    If it is recovery, then switching to TM is not the answer. It's much more taxing. Madcow you go up by percentage, where as M you do 5x5 with 90% of your 5rpm.

    Did you take too big of jumps on Fridays weights? I kept taking big leaps than I should have, and i caused me to hit a wall as well, You shouldn't have to deload on the program because it is only a 5rpm max. But maybe you jumped too much each week (like i did) and it caught up with you.
     
  13. DrBdan

    DrBdan Something clever

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    Failing 320x5, 320x3, and 320x5 again and then attempting 295x3 isn't a deload. That's only dropping about 8% off the bar which isn't much if you are overly fatigued. Also, failing those reps doesn't undo all of the progress that you've made. The strength is still there, you just need a deload to allow your body time to recover.

    I'd say there's two options: Take a light week and then try 320 again or chop 15-20% off your top sets and work back up.
     
  14. PWR1982

    PWR1982 Green Belt

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    If you've failed at 320 so many times now, and still didn't get it, you should deload. Even if you take a week off or something and then get it, you won't be able to keep adding weight much longer, if at all.

    I had the same problems with deloading on madcow. I never actually tried it, but I thought that not lowering the weight as much as you're supposed to, and instead making the weight progression slower, could work pretty well.
    So if you're supposed to deload by 20lbs, and then add 5lbs weekly, you could try deloading by 10lbs, and then adding 2.5lbs weekly (or 5lbs every other week).
     
  15. bcplifter2

    bcplifter2 White Belt

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    i basic deload i use is
    3x 5 @ 50 % of 1 RM
    then for my assistance i drop 10-15 % of the weight i was using , and 33% of the volume

    so id do as drbdan said, deload and work back up , starting at 85-90 % of the weight you were using


    so for the 5x5 day, , id go 5x5 with a much lower weight, probably a top set of 165-185

    i wouldnt squat wednesday, or if i did, id do a top set of like 135

    then friday for the triple, id go a top set of whatever you used monday

    and for the other movements, id deload them too, and use around 60-70 % of working weights (for deadlift id go 50-60 % tops )
     
  16. casperthegst

    casperthegst Blue Belt

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    This is simply not true. The texas method is a versatile routine. You can lower the volume on volume day (3x5, ascending sets,etc). You could even use dynamic effort work as your stressor.
     
  17. Pathogenic

    Pathogenic Wo Cao Ni Ma

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    Thank you all very much for the suggestions. I think I'm going to do the deload week, and then take off 15% on my squat and work back up. I'm going to take 10 lbs off of my bench after the deload week and work back up as well.
     
  18. guilineseguy

    guilineseguy Black Belt

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    When I started Texas Method. I started out doing it 3x5. And personally it did not work so well for me. 5x5 did alot more for me in terms of volume. But I started out doing 5x5's.

    I never did any dynamic effort work on TM, and not sure how you could use it as your stressor for tm either.
     
  19. Pathogenic

    Pathogenic Wo Cao Ni Ma

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    Yeah, I recall rip saying you could use it for the "test" stage on the last session of the week, but I don't recall anything about the "stress" session. I mean, you could probably do something like that on Madcow as well. Instead of the heavy triple, it might(?) be possible to do dynamic work, as the "stress" aspect of the program is on the first session just like in TM. It would cease to be Madcow, but it would still be roughly similar.
     
  20. casperthegst

    casperthegst Blue Belt

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    Rip talks about this in practical programming that you can do dynamic effort as the volume day stressor. There are many ways to adjust the volume other than that though. For instance, you can keep the volume day the same weight for several weeks while increasing your intensity day (ascending sets or across). You could try 4 sets of 5 if 3 isn't enough or do 3 sets and a backoff set or something. You can also use triples or doubles on your volume day.
     

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