The 50/100/200 Solution For Better Rest Weeks

You-must-choose

Up until a few years ago, I used to schedule in rest weeks in my programming. You know, 12 weeks of balls to the wall training followed by one rest week where I would not step my foot into the gym, allowing the body to recover for another kickass phase.

I used to create long excel spreadsheets, planning my training phases with red lines every 12th week saying “REST WEEK.”

It made perfect sense… at the time.

My mantra has always been that regression is ok, as long as it allows me to keep on progressing thereafter. One step backward followed by two steps forward.

There is just one problem with this rigid solution: for the majority of us, weight training isn’t an isolated event from the rest of our lives, and therefore this method is highly inflexible. We all have shit to do.

Sometimes, after 12 weeks, I’d still be on the top of my progression curve, making awesome gains every single training session. Other times I was feeling completely worn out by week 7.

And like every other human being, from time to time I’d catch a cold and be forced to stay out of the gym for a week or two, and that always messed up my planning and brought upon much frustration.

So instead of turning into the Swedish Hulk, I decided to come up with a more flexible solution that would help me reach my goals.

This solution allows me to give my body a break from time to time without losing my groove, all the while extending my progression curve throughout the whole cycle.

The 50/100/200 Solution For Deload Weeks In 5 Steps

1. Don’t plan your deloads

Planning when to deload in a rigid schedule is very inflexible and something I strongly advice against. I’m a big believer in auto-regulating deloads.

If it’s working, then I don’t fix it.

If I’m progressing nicely and feeling fresh and motivated – I just keep rocking on. But when I’m starting to feel unmotivated, tired or notice weird aches in my body and I feel like giving it some rest – I deload. Genius right?

2. Cut the accessory work

It’s a deload, remember? Go into the gym, perform all your main movements, but skip the bosu ball stabilized eccentric rotator cuff rotations.

Come on, just this one week.

3. Focus on technique

Using my definition of a deload; it is not just time away from the gym. It’s a specific set of actions you decide upon that will still take you closer to your goal(s), while taking some stress off your body for physical and mental recovery.

Remember, you’re taking a step back so that you can take two more later on.

However, don’t just go in and perform your sets in a brain-dead, zombie like fashion. Focus your full efforts on hammering in a perfect technique. Every single set and for every single rep.

This is a perfect opportunity to get some low load, high volume technique training in, which is why I want you to go in and double your sets with the 50/100/200 system.

4. 50/100/200 – 50% weight, 100% reps, 200% sets

When I feel the need to take a deload week I still go into the gym and perform my main movements. I simply cut the weight in half and double the number of sets while keeping the number reps per set constant. That’s what 50/100/200 stands for.

Lower load, double volume, focus on technique.

5. Let life plan off-weeks

No more planning full weeks away from the gym, you risk losing your groove and missing a chance at improving your game. If something important comes up, or if you need some time away from the iron – sure, feel free to handle your life outside of the gym.

Also, don’t forget about other factors for good recovery: stay active, eat well, get enough sleep and be nice to people.

Seriously.

Why It’s Full Of Win

The 50/100/200 solution for deload weeks allows you to have a more flexible solution for backing off, that takes in consideration other aspects of your life for a more relaxed style of training. Apart from giving your body a break, the 50/100/200 deload also makes sure you stay in the groove for bigger and better results even when it is time to recover.

By increasing the number of sets you preform, you make sure to keep hammering in the technique during all the main movements, while lowering the load to take some stress of your joints and tendons, allowing you to keep getting bigger, stronger and leaner – long term.

 

An example 

Let’s say I train on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday performing an upper/lower split. My main movements consists of the bench press, standing overhead press, weighted chin-ups, deadlifts and squats. I’ll normally perform 3 sets x 5 repetitions on those movements followed by a bunch of accessory exercises.

Following the steps above I’d cut all accessory work, decrease load to 50 % of my one repetition max, double the sets and focus on perfect technique and movement patterns.

Exercise selection

Volume and load Rest time
Monday
  1. Bench press
  2. Chinups (body weight)
  3. Overhead press
6 sets x 5 reps @ 50% 1RM As needed
Tuesday
  1. Deadlift
  2. Squat
6 sets x 5 reps @ 50% 1RM As needed
Wednesday Rest
Thursday
  1. Bench press
  2. Chinups (body weight)
  3. Overhead press
6 sets x 5 reps @ 50% 1RM As needed
Friday
  1. Deadlift
  2. Squat
6 sets x 5 reps @ 50% 1RM As needed
Sat + sun Rest

 

 

Conclusion

We all need rest weeks from time to time, but don’t let them be passive, but keep them constructive with you goal in mind. A deload is still a deliberate action to get you closer to your goal.

Regressing is always the right thing to do, if it allows you to keep progressing

By considering your “rest weeks” deloads with technique focus, the 50/100/200 method will allow you to deload when needed, not when planned. Cut all accessory movements, double the sets and focus on movement patterns and perfect execution.

Stop scheduling weeks completely away from the gym, life takes care of that by itself by gifting us with a cold, a trip to some electrifying place, or a big work project or an Xbox. Ahem.

Cheers!

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2 comments on “The 50/100/200 Solution For Better Rest Weeks
  1. I like it. Clean, simple, logical, and making effective use of your deload period to a purpose, more than just ‘rest’.

  2. Ahhong says:

    You take a break when your form starts to sufefr. For instance, if you start using your back for momentum to throw yourself to the top of a sit-up, then you’re putting undue stress on your bones, and you’ve stopped working the ab muscles altogether. Go for as long as you can, and then take breaks as needed.

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