How to Taper/Deload, How to Max

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by Gavin LeFever, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. One thing I feel lacking in the FAQ is discussion of the end a lifting program, or transition from phase to phase.

    Doing a routine over a period of time builds experience as you learn your body and find what works for you, but to taper and/or max only happens every other month or so and often less frequently. This leads to a lack of experience in newer and intermediate lifters.

    How do *you* taper/deload? Most folks lower frequency of the workouts that week, and lower the weights used.

    If you did a 3-day split, your taper week is a 2-day split with less weight than you did last time, usually dropping back to the weights of one week prior.

    Adding in deload weeks every 6th week is a good way to let your CNS and the connective tissue, (bones, tendons, ligaments) that grow slower than muscle, catch up. Neglecting deload weeks is a good way to run into little injuries (and possibly big ones) that are like speed bumps on the long road. If you want a smooth ride, you'll pace yourself.

    How do *you* prep to max? When and why do you max? For me, I'll aim to max at the end of a long phase, or at the end of a routine. I usually finish the routine, taper/deload, then max that next week. If you want to try to get the most out of your strength training, I like to have that max week be the week of a grappling tournament or some competition where you want to peak. Finish your phase, taper week, competition week (or max week).

    Why max? To test progress and evaluate the previous regime. Before starting a new phase, you usually need to know current max lifts to calculate the progressions to come. Hard to do 5x5x90%(of 5RM) if you don't know your 100%@5RM. How frequent to max? Every other month is more than enough. A good strength routine will last 2-3 months. Maxing between phases of a routine is usually not needed.

    Prepping for the max doesn't mean taking a week off, nor does it mean drain yourself the week before your max-week. As usual, a moderate solution is the best. You can use the taper week as your max-prep week, or you can use the taper to return back to your current phase. Think of it like "2 steps forward, 1 step backward" which is much better than standing still.

    I'm not saying add this to the sticky, because I think someone can do it better, but it needs to be covered. What to add? What am I missing?

    I have had a great time in my routine (usually 5x5) but when I get stuck, I personally need more experience learning how and when to deload correctly. I used to wait for the plateau and then trying to fix it, but steady progress is what I've got then I tapered more frequently, solving problems before they're there. Don't defend the armbar when your arm is straight, defend it before there is even an attempt of the armbar.

    My max weeks have always been done randomly when the weights felt light and I had some good sleep, food, etc the day before. Sometimes that's hit or miss, with trial and error. In the future, I plan to keep a tight schedule to be able to chart my progress.
  2. eternal403 Black Belt

    Apr 4, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Calgary, AB
  3. Ian Coe Silver Belt Professional Fighter

    May 25, 2003
    Likes Received:
    I'm trying out the 5/3/1 routine and only lifitng twice a week. I haven't done a taper yet, but I think I'll put one in at the end of the 2nd cycle, I think waiting until the 3rd maybe too long.
  4. cXs808 Brown Belt

    Jun 13, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Pukalani, HI
    The 5/3/1 program has a deload week built into every 4 week phase so tapering shouldn't be necessary

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