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Deloading on Single-Leg Movements

Written on May 11, 2009 at 5:07 am, by Eric Cressey

Q: Due to the multitude of injuries that I have, I very rarely squat, deadlift, or bench (with a straight bar.) However, I still find myself plateauing and feeling burned out.  I was wondering whether the prescriptions in your Art of the Deload e-book would still apply to me. For example, on my heaviest weeks, I’ll do 5RM Split Squats/Bulgarians, etc.

That is to say, do you still cycle intensity similarly for your injured and rehabbing clients who use “deloading exercises” on a more long-term basis?

A: Absolutely.  Training stress is training stress, no matter how you slice it.  In fact, a lot of single-leg exercises – particularly when loaded heavily, as you noted – can beat you up just as much as heavy bilateral movements.

Normally, in this case, we’d just deload on volume. So, if you were doing five sets of five lunges on each leg in your highest volume week, we’d go 3×5 in the deload week.  Whether or not we’d drop intensity would depend on your training experience.  If you’re using 115-pound dumbbells, yes, we’d drop it.  If you’re using 35-pounders, then probably not.

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