3 on, 1 off

When carrying out a weights programme using 3 weeks of lifting, getting progressively heavier, then a ‘rest’ week, for the supercompensation effect, what do you do for the rest week?

I was going to still go to the gym but just lift 1 or 2 sets at a lighter weight(normally 3 sets), or should I just keep clear of the gym to get the best recovery?

Cheers guys


i am 19 years and need a little bit more hypertrophie then older athletes

i do it like this way:

GPP 3x8
week1: 9-6-3 reps
week2: 3-6-9 reps and automatically increasing weight
week 3: 3-4-5 reps highest weights
rest week: 3x10-12 reps two times a week

then repeat

The loading unloading progression I assume you are talking about is the classic 3 up 1 down progression which looks something like this:
…1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…<-- Weeks

As you can see the 4th week is at the same load as the 2nd week and the 7th at the same load as the 3rd etc. So if you were simply increasing weight you can see how it might go…

However, if you were to use the same load for weeks 1-4 you would probably find that as the weeks go by fatigue increases but by week 4 you are stronger so that load that was intially challenging is now easy. So you could achieve the low of week 4 simply by sticking with it and then pushing on in week 5.

Lots to think about. I’m sure someone with more weight-lifting specific experience will want to add to this discussion…

Or increase the intensity almost as you’d normally do, but reduce the volume achieving an overall lower/lighter load. The volume reduction depends on what you want to achieve in this “rest” week.

PS TC, I am impressed with your little “graph”! :stuck_out_tongue:

The last 3 weeks I have been using 3x8 for all my core exercises progressively increasing the weight each week, then starting next week was going to go to 4x5 and do the same for 3 weeks, it was just this crossover/rest week that i wasn’t fully sure about.

If this is the case should I use tc’s advice and do my week 2 weights which would now be easier, or use Nikoluski’s advice and just go straight into my lower volume/higher intensity 4x5s? or possibly use an even lower volume just for this 1 week?

My target is to get as strong as possible while Im still doing only work off of short run-ups, approx. 8 strides with a higher volume, so theres a lot of CNS reserves left for lifting afterwards.


P.S.much appreciated effort on the graph tc

How about 5x5 (25 total reps) at the same load as week2 and about the same volume? This way you get used to the repetition range you are going to be using next and you get a bit of recovery. Keep the rest breaks fairly short but avoid lactic. Use this week to work on technique and performing each rep perfectly…

Alternativly you could keep the same weight as week 3 and just switch to 5x5 again the extra rest reduces the relative intensity. I guess it depends how fatigued you feel after the previous block of training…

There isn’t an answer to this question but I’d do one of these options if i was following your programme.

I vote for this option. Maybe 4x5 instead of 5x5. I don’t see why you would increase the volume.

I was just keeping it around 24 total reps (3x8 or 5x5) but you are right no need to increase volume i suppose.

I think we are all saying the same thing here, slightly increased load, hence reduced reps -and as a prep, if you like, for next phase (questionable)- with reduced volume -as per your preference/needs.
You see, there is an answer! :slight_smile:

Thank you.

Much appreciated.


How heavy do you all normally go on most exercises, in terms of %1rm ?

In the first week off 8 reps I would do 2 sets at about 76%, then depending how that felt in most exercise I went to 78.5% approx. 8 rep max. weight off measured 1rm 2 weeks previous.
(I know the percentages seem very exact but I just read them off a table to estimate weights and there was rounding).

The 2 following weeks I would then work up to the previous weeks max by the 2nd set, then go heavier on the third, if I felt capable, which was most of the time.

e.g. in 3 weeks in squat I went from a 1rm of 145kg, 8rm 110, to doing 125kg for 8.

hope this was clear enough

When you say previous weeks max, do you mean 1rm, or 8rm?

Do you think its just as good to do 6 reps instead of 8?

the previous weeks max would be the heaviest weight I lifted for 8 reps in the previous week.

Im sort of following a traditinal periodisation system, going 8s for a cycle, 6s for a cycle the down to 4s, increasing intensity decreasing volume. I don’t think it a case of 6s or 8s are better, its depends on the position of them in your programme and what you are using them for. Essentially 6s will have a slightly higher CNS affect and 8s a slightly higher Hypertrophy affect(i think) so it depends on your aims surely?

Ah ok, thanks a lot dude!

How does the cycling work though? Do you just do the first 3 or 4 weeks with 8 reps mostly…then the next 3-4 weeks at 6 reps…etc?

Assuming you made strength gains as you moved through this cycle, why go back to using lighter weights like those used in week two? You could just drop the volume and do
2x8 with even more weight. If you do go right into 4x5, be conservative with your first workout, look at it as a chance to adjust to the new program and find an appropriate working weight. Leave the gym feeling as if you still have a bit in the tank.

And now I have three methods to try out, cheers Mustang.

Im just going to experiment a bit and see what works best, this is the first season Ive had all my programmes planned out properly so will see how it goes.


I did 4 weeks at 8 reps, basically
hard week, harder week, hardest week, then an unload(ish) week, like mustang said ‘come out of the gym a bit fresher’ so still heavy, just not pushing it up another notch.

Then on to 6s (or 5s, like i wrote in an earlier post) in a similar pattern to 8s.

Not a complex system but i feel like its going well at the moment. Will see how well when we get to the outdoors.