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Strength loss after rest week

Discussion in 'Weight Training/Bulking' started by e4, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. e4

    e4 Active Member

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    First I want to thank you all on JSF for all the information you have listed here. I have searched all over the internet, and this I have found to be the best fitness knowledge base available.

    My question is this:

    I recently took a week off from weight training. During this week I continued to eat clean at the same levels that I was while weight training. I did cardio everyday for about 30 minutes.

    Today when I resumed weight training, I noticed a large decrease in my strength. I currently am doing a 5x5 routine and I was only able to lift about 80% of the weight that I was before I took a week off.

    Is it normal to loose some strength after a rest week? If so, does it take long to recoup that strength?

    Thank you all who take a look and help me out with this. It was a very frustrating day at the gym and I'm hoping that most of this is in my head.
     
  2. MannishBoy

    MannishBoy Senior Member

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    It's not unusual, and things come back fairly quickly generally.
     
  3. e4

    e4 Active Member

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    Thank you. That is kind of what I thought but I wanted to be sure.
     
  4. e4

    e4 Active Member

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    Update:

    I wanted to update this in case anyone finds it later on in a search. Monday was chest, shoulders and triceps and I was lifting at about 70-80% of what I was before I took a week off.

    Today was back, bicep and trap day and I was lifting at about 90-95% of what I was previously.

    I'm guessing I will be at about 90-95% when I do legs on friday. I suppose my body just needed to be reminded to work hard. I would expect that next week I will be back to regular weights. I will post again to update.
     
  5. iceweaselsarecool

    iceweaselsarecool Well-Known Member

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    That sounds weird to me. I usually set new maxes the week after a break.
     
  6. e4

    e4 Active Member

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    Update:

    Last Friday was leg day. I'm sure I could have done 100% of my pre-off week but I chose to do about 90-95% weight so as not to be so sore (that really didn't work). I suspect because the muscles in the legs are the largest they were least impacted by the rest week. Or perhaps they had the advantage of being "dusted off" from my other two workouts that week.

    Today was chest and shoulders - week 2 since rest week. I noticed a big difference this week. The workout felt great. I increased weight on my flat bench by 5lbs, and returned to 100% of my pre-off week weight (except for the military press, still down 30lbs or 12% from max).

    I hope that this helps someone in the future that comes across this post.
     
  7. chang

    chang Well-Known Member

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    My guess is the cardio that you did is what taxed your muscles over the week off. A week off should be a full week off from everything, not just lifting.

    But 1 week isn't that much anyways, and if you lost some strength you will gain it back really quickly.
     
  8. Doubleoqueso

    Doubleoqueso Active Member

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    I don't like rest weeks because I love lifting, but when I do my rest weeks, I avoid all work, cardio included. I also eat a lot (though clean). I'll typically gain a pound on a rest week, but return lifting a good 5% more than the week before.
     
  9. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    It's nothing to worry about. People often come back even stronger after a week off.
     
  10. chicanerous

    chicanerous Elite Member
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    If you don't come back stronger, you took too much time off. An entire week of rest is only warranted when you've worked hard enough to need it. Otherwise, taking half a week off, skipping a session, or deloading is a better idea.
     
  11. mastover

    mastover Well-Known Member

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    If you have been overtraining, sometimes taking more time off than the arbitrary week, is necessary. You may need 2 or 3 weeks. Time off is also beneficial for refreshing the mind and spirit. Some of the signals to look for might be - getting weaker each workout, losing enthusiasm, getting more tired during and after training, losing some appetite, lethargy and a change in sleep patterns.

    I've taken anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 month off completely. Initially, I come back weaker but quickly gain strength as my body has "re-calibrated" during the recovery period. Within 2-3 weeks I'm busting through plateaus and plowing through sessions with renewed intensity and enthusiasm, kick starting new growth, increased strength and endurance.

    Age and experience also play a big role. At age 28 I routinely trained 4-6x per week year round with no breaks. After I hit 40, I had to cut my volume almost in half to warrant continued progress. Coincidentally, it was about this time (reduction in total work volume and longer periods of complete rest) that I won my Pro Cards. Hmmm....:confused:

    :tucool:
     
  12. JoeSchmo

    JoeSchmo Well-Known Member

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    How often do you hit each body part? Years ago, I used to hit each bodypart 2-3 times per week. And, whenever I would take a week off, my strength would take a big dive. Now, I hit each body part once per week, and I usually don't lose any strength after taking a week off.

    My thinking on the matter is that the body adapts to a certain frequency of stimulation, and how your body reacts to time off may be dependent on that adaptation. Missing three workouts for a particular bodypart (as opposed to one) may signal that the adaptations are no longer necessary and as a result you experience decreased strength.

    I've noticed this with other people as well -- Those who hit bodyparts multiple times per week lose strength more quickly during time off.
     

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