Enough signs and emerging pattern to say that caloric deficit is taking its toll. It’s time to carb back up a bit, then start again. Small steps downward.
I’ve been building up some strength and size on various movements. I’ve picked up a bunch from the past 5 macrocycles: 1-3 sets of 5-8 reps to failure 3 minutes between (working) sets is… choice (h/t Paul Carter). I’ve got some movements better suited for my build, like I respond well to 20º incline bench – nice clavicular pec growth. Leg press ain’t just a side dish. Dedicated calf work is important, and put the ego in the backseat (the neverending reminder). Stabilization is… a thing (again, Paul Carter); that Cybex chest-supported row machine is sweet. I set some nice PRs, including inclining 265×3@8 – I’ve never inclined 265 let alone 3 easy reps.
And so the strength goes down. It’s ok. I play tricks: pick new movements where I have no idea where and how I’m strong with it. So change it up and keep on.
Here’s what I’m looking at now:
- Mon/Wed/Fri – it’s a 4 session cycle done 3 times per week, so it’s a 9-10 day microcycle.
- 1-3 sets of 5-8 reps aiming for true failure. 3 minutes rest between (work) sets. (Carter)
- Start light, progress slowly. (Wendler)
- You need less than you think you need.
- Push the shit hard, and build up to it over the weeks. Again, start light, progress slowly.
- Accumulate volume over the week/microcycle; since it’s 9-10 day microcycle, “working a muscle” once per microcycle isn’t enough.
- Keep recovery in mind – I’m 50… TRT helps, but I’m still 50.
- Do stuff out of the gym to stretch, keep mobile and limber.
- Treadmill cool down, 20-30 minutes.
- Day 1: Push
- Flavor: more of a delt-focused approach. Maintain pecs. Grow tris because arms.
- Seated smith machine overhead press
- Incline dumbbell press (maybe… wrist sensitive; something for pecs, bias upper)
- Rolling DB extensions (some sort of triceps work)
- Cable Y raise (something for middle delts)
- Those Cybex machine rows
- Day 2: Legs, quads
- Flavor: keep growing quads.
- Cybex Plate Loaded Squat Press
- Reset the weight a bit and work back up.
- Leg extensions
- here too.
- Hip adduction
- Seated calf raises (350 method… dunno… I just seem to get more out of these with those; it’s variety if nothing else).
- Cable upright row (a little more delt, and a little biceps)
- Day 3: Pull
- Flavor: Keep growing the back – get really honed into activation
- Barbell row (lighter, really work the muscle instead of muscling it…)
- Neutral grip pulldowns (with those angle-90 grips or something where I can have neutral grip and some free movement)
- Cable rear-delt “raises” (not sure how I’ll execute this yet…,)
- Preacher curls
- Cybex chest press (selectorized)
- Day 4: Legs, posterior
- Flavor: leg press 2x/micro was too much; swap in RDL instead. Unilateral work in lunges, which is also good for me.
- Seated leg curl
- Lunges (I don’t want to do these, they are the right thing for me to do… so I will do them, probably half-assed, but I will do them). LOL
- Calf raises on leg press (these are 3×5-8, stretch and squeeze; it’s not much weight)
- Pushdowns (actually leaning over the bar and pushing down like a dip, not the hinge at the elbows pinned to your side version of pushdowns).
So basically I keep doing what I’ve been doing. What has built the muscle is what will “maintain” the muscle, because really “to maintain” means to keep (re)building the muscle. You are actively fighting against muscular atrophy. So the best weapon is that which will maximize growth. And the above is panning out pretty interestingly well to support stuff.
What will be interesting will be to see how, even in deficit, I might grow. I want to focus some on my delts/shoulders – I need some width due to my narrow skeletal structure.