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  #21  
Unread 12-17-2017, 12:06 AM
BigPecsPeter BigPecsPeter is offline
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Quote:
UPPER B

Bench 3x6-8
Pulldown 3x6-8
Shoulder press 2x10-12
Machine cable row 2x10-12
Biceps 2x12-15
Triceps 2x12-15
Final workout of a tough week.

BENCH PRESS

First set. "PERSONAL BEST"! For this rep range, this was the best lift I'd achieved in years! I went past 8 all the way to 10! Next workout, time to increase the weight! Remaining sets, I didn't try to push beyond 6.

PULLDOWN

This was quite difficult, and I'm a little concerned with loss of capacity in chin-related exercise scenarios. I got to the bottom of the rep-range but man was it a struggle.

SHOULDER PRESS
This went quite well, given a 21 day gap. I even tried a 3rd set, but that set didn't go beyond 9 reps. Delts have always been where I've performed best, though.

CABLE ROW

Very difficult. Exhaustion starting to kick in in a big way.

BICEP CURL

Better performance here than Monday, but still evidently a struggle to get through.

TRICEPS

Toast by this point. I completed the reps but literally running on empty.

ANALYSIS

So, in spite of encouragement from an excellent first set on the bench press, the theme of exhaustion and loss of work capacity continues. I will continue logging for next week's workouts, to see whether a week of hard training was enough to turn the issue around.
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  #22  
Unread 12-20-2017, 02:07 AM
Determinism Determinism is offline
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Any news on work capacity?
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  #23  
Unread 12-20-2017, 03:15 AM
BigPecsPeter BigPecsPeter is offline
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Update to follow today. Write-up on Monday and Tuesday workouts along with comments.

Been a bit hectic this week so haven't yet managed to update the log
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  #24  
Unread 12-20-2017, 10:24 AM
BigPecsPeter BigPecsPeter is offline
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THE SECOND WEEK: MONDAY'S LEGS WORKOUT

Meant to do the write-up on Monday but hectic week. Here goes:

WARM-UP

The one set of squats warm-up felt not quite so hard as the week earlier, but it wasn't like a staggering improvement. Moving on:

LEG PRESS

Last week this went well, and I actually tried 3 sets on a higher weight. I just about finished, never falling below the rep range. It was hard, but it was a jump up in weight, and considering the time off, I was satisfied.

HAM CURL

I moved onto the curl. If you recall, I lowered the load last week. But guess what. This week, the first set with the lowered load was way too easy. It was so easy, I put the weights back up to where it was originally. And I managed to complete the remaining sets, just about reaching the lower end of the rep range. Great. This was absolutely an improvement. Some stamina had clearly returned.

LEG EXTENSION

I made my reps on this one at the usual load, and it felt easier than last week. I didn't get the sense that I was quite yet running out of steam, like I had done 7 days earlier.

ANOTHER LEG CURL

Back to the curl, at high reps, and this week I didn't struggle so much to reach my rep target. That is to say, not as much as the previous week. It was ok. BUT, saying so, it still wasn't up to previous performance standards. prior to my trip.

STRAIGHT CALF

I made my reps and it felt ordinary. I'm definitely still a way off progressing on this one.

SEATED CALF

After a decent performance last week I decided to up the weight on this one, and it went fine. I was happy with this.

ABS

Weighted crunches and side raises, a couple heavy sets a piece.

The weighted crunches I'll say felt a bit more difficult than last week, but there could be all sorts of reasons why.

As for the side raises, these felt so easy that I can comfortably say I'll be increasing the weight for next leg workout. Very happy with this.

ANALYSIS

This is what I'll say: satisfactory, but nothing miraculous. I still think there is a degree of work capacity to be recovered in order to equal my highest standards. But, saying so, with weight being added on a number of exercises, is there all that much to complain about?

For me, yes. Because feeling strong throughout a workout is something I value highly. But hell, there are improvements here on previous bests. Actual improvements on bests, not just on last week.

In sum I'm not sure entirely on what to think. Work capacity has plainly suffered and is not back to its best, but the top sets all looked pretty strong and improvements on long-term scores are always a good thing.
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  #25  
Unread 12-20-2017, 11:30 AM
BigPecsPeter BigPecsPeter is offline
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THE SECOND WEEK: TUESDAY'S UPPER BODY WORKOUT

Write-up and analysis.

Quote:
Bench 3x6-8
Bent over row 3x6-8
Incline press 2x10-12
Pulldown 2x10-12
Biceps 2x12-15
Triceps 2x12-15
BENCH PRESS

After a PB last Friday, I went into this with a new weight--up 2.5kg. Actually, it was bloody difficult. More difficult than I was expecting, even. I managed 6-6-5. Yeah, I didn't even manage to make the lower end of the rep range on the third set. But I have experienced this sort of thing in the past, the first time attempting a higher load. In the end, the fact is that a weight increase of 2.5kg/5lbs on the bench can be quite a leap, and the body doesn't always know how to handle it straightaway. With that said, I'm not going to pin too much down to work capacity issues here or my time abroad. I've seen this before. Been there, done that. No real surprises.

BENT OVER ROW

Reps, 7-7-6. This was definitely an improvement on last week. It was quite comfortable, really. I felt as if I had regained work capacity on the exercise, so was happy about that. Exhaustion had not yet set in.

INCLINE CHEST PRESS

First set was very strong, in fact it was so much stronger than last week that I could've carried on to 14 reps I believe. I may be able to add weight to this next week. The second set was a lot more difficult, though, and I was stuck at the bottom end of the rep range. But it wasn't too uncomfortable getting there. On the whole, a clear stamina improvement on last week for this one.

LAT PULLDOWN

Hmm. Not so great. Performance more or less mirrored last week. 12 reps on the first set, and just about reaching 10 on the second. Two issues here. Clearly my overall workout stamina, globally speaking, is not fully back to where it was. Secondly, this may have been compounded by a comparatively greater performance this week on the exercises prior to the pulldown, meaning exhaustion ended up the same by this stage in the workout.

CURLS

This was hard, though better than last week. I was at least able to reach 15 reps on the first set, on both sides. Good. Capacity coming back--BUT still, creeping back, rather than back with a vengeance so to speak.

TRICEP CABLE PUSHDOWN

Killer. An absolute struggle from start to finish. Saying so, I got to 15 reps on the first set, but, I didn't manage to make 12 on the final.

ANALYSIS

A mixed bag of good, bad, and downright ugly. Work capacity on the whole had definitely improved a ton on this same workout last week, but I'd say it's still nowhere near its best.

Still, the positive signs are that it IS coming back. And, more encouraging, is that there are some bests here and there.

On the whole, much to be pleased with, in spite of still lagging muscle stamina issues.
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  #26  
Unread 12-21-2017, 01:18 AM
Determinism Determinism is offline
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Interesting. So can we conclude that a 2-3 week break takes 1-2 weeks to recover from? Work capacity a little slower, intensity a little faster.

For folks only focusing on performance (e.g. power lifters, the overload warriors), taking a 1-3 week break now and then won't do much harm.

For those requiring some form of work capacity and endurance, it seems more advisable to take a deload period where high reps and low weights are being used.

I know, fast conclusion based on sample size N=1, but it seems to fit the anecdotes and general consensus.
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  #27  
Unread 12-28-2017, 05:06 AM
BigPecsPeter BigPecsPeter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Determinism View Post
Interesting. So can we conclude that a 2-3 week break takes 1-2 weeks to recover from? Work capacity a little slower, intensity a little faster.

For folks only focusing on performance (e.g. power lifters, the overload warriors), taking a 1-3 week break now and then won't do much harm.

For those requiring some form of work capacity and endurance, it seems more advisable to take a deload period where high reps and low weights are being used.

I know, fast conclusion based on sample size N=1, but it seems to fit the anecdotes and general consensus.
I think this is more or less correct, yes. My write-up is to follow, with a few additional notes.
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  #28  
Unread 12-28-2017, 05:25 AM
BigPecsPeter BigPecsPeter is offline
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THE END OF LAST WEEK

Ok, so I wanted to write this last week, but holiday season and stuff. Aside from that, I had some kind of weird virus that made me feel extremely exhausted pretty much for 5 days straight.

The virus battered my second leg and upper body workouts of last week. However, I found that while strength was affected, it was obvious that, even in the face of a horrible bug, there was clear evidence that my work capacity was returning to normal. If it wasn't for the virus, I feel almost 100% confident that I would have smashed those two workouts.

CONCLUSION ON THE "EXPERIMENT"

So, how much damage DOES occur with a full 2 and a half to 3 weeks (for some exercises) off from training?

The answer, so far as I can tell, is as follows:

1. In terms of baseline strength and skeletal muscle, not much changes at all. My gut feeling is, so long as food intake was roughly maintenance and you're not being some kind of literal sedentary couch potato, you just don't lose much if any actual base strength and skeletal muscle in 14-21 days of no training. I think it's simply too short a period to lose much, when lifestyle factors are normal.

2. ON THE OTHER HAND: In terms of exercise adaptations built up over a training period such as work capacity, general muscle stamina, fatigue tolerance, neurological/motor factors, pump, or whatever else is thrown around in the fitness community (mind-muscle connection, blah blah ) -- these can and probably will take a bit of a downward turn from 14-21 days off. It was VERY noticeable, especially in the first couple workouts, and only slightly less so in workouts 3 and 4.

So, (2) is the bad news.

The GOOD news is:

3. 10-14 days, give or take, is possibly pretty much ALL it takes to get those adaptations back.

POST CONCLUSION

I think it is obvious that it is beyond sub-optimal to have more than 7-10 days totally off the gym, and yes, of course it will be a setback to a bulk plan, not least because you're not training for 2+ weeks! (That is, quite aside from whatever goes awry in that time, which you have to spend effort afterwards putting right)

But let's say you're at a time in your training when you're just content to maintain for a bit. Maybe you have no plans to bulk until the latter half of the year, or whatever. If you're not trying to move forward, for whatever reason, then in my view there's really not much issue in taking 2-3 weeks off here and there. It's not going to result in anything catastrophic.

This has given me some optimism for travel issues in the future. Once I reach my next set of bodybuilding goals, I'll be quite happy in the knowledge that I can go on a trip for a few weeks to pretty much wherever I want, not bother with much exercise, and return home not much the worse.

Last edited by BigPecsPeter : 12-28-2017 at 05:27 AM.
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  #29  
Unread 12-28-2017, 07:59 AM
AlphaBettor AlphaBettor is offline
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Pretty interesting log. I'm actually currently taking a break from any strenuous training, which started last Thursday (one week ago) and will probably last another week.

This is something I've done fairly commonly in recent years. This time of year works out well due to holidays, irregular gym hours, many months of work in the weight room taking a toll physically as well as mentally, the gym is often a madhouse (many returning students for Christmas vacation), etc.

A typical thing for me to do is to avoid any strenuous weight workouts from a few days before Christmas to a few days after the New Year, about two weeks. This length can vary some and may or may not include things that could reasonably be considered 'workouts'. This year for example, I've kept some cardio in as I recently did a cardio focused block and want to at least keep that at maintenance levels. I may also throw in a bit of pushups, bodyweight split squat, comparable loading on the lat pulldown (highish reps, nothing to failure, easy work) and a bit of isolation work here and there, but we'll see how motivated I am.

Honestly though, the experience is basically the same every year, and pretty much mirrors what you wrote above: some lost work capacity/stamina and neural whatever that come back in fairly short order. The more structural/enduring adaptations like muscle mass/strength are barely touched, if at all.
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