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Strength "memory" OR "Where the hell did my strength go!?!?!?!"

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  • Strength "memory" OR "Where the hell did my strength go!?!?!?!"

    I had been doing a linear strength progression based on SL5x5 for quite some time. I had made significant gains and was lifting more than I ever have (albeit still not huge #'s):

    Squat @ 1.5x BW
    DL @ 1.6x BW
    Bench @ 1.1x BW
    BB Row @ 0.9x BW
    OHP @ 0.7x BW

    Those were all 3x5 or 5x5 sets across, not 1RMs.

    In addition to these primary lifts I was doing weighted pullups/chinups, dips...with a 45# plate. Again, 3x5 on these.

    We went on vacation, and I took a break from lifting. When I came back, due to a change in work schedule my access to a bar and plates was going to be significantly more difficult so I decided to go ahead and jump into PBF as a substitute and use iron when I could. Needless to say, after two weeks off I was astounded at how much strength it seemed I lost. After doing the recommended PBF assessment I ended up @ level 3 on pushups and pullups and level 2 on everything else.

    THEN...the first time I hit the gym after doing this I couldn't hit weights that seemed difficult but manageable before. Ended up reducing the sets on squats and doing singles on my DL. WTF!?!

    I know it probably has something to do with the muscular endurance and mechanics of the PBF exercises are slightly different but I was both surprised and frustrated by what seemed like a loss of significant strength in a relatively short period of time.

    We're starting Crossfit later this week so I'm hoping the variation in strength, power, and met-con (which I had admittedly neglected) result in a more well-rounded level of fitness.
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  • #2
    it'll come back a lot faster with some time in the gym than you'd think

    i basically took a year off of lifting after an injury and then laziness, and getting back close to where i left off was a lot faster than when i started from nothing

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    • #3
      Strength loss in such a short period comes from nervous system changes. When you are lifting regularly (and a specific set of movements at that) your nervous system gets adjusted and "opens the floodgates" as far as impulses go, allowing you to get the most out of your muscles. When you stop working out for a week+ your nervous system gets deconditioned and starts "closing the floodgates". You still have the muscle, but you brain can't tell them to push hard enough to lift the same weights you were doing.

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