Strength Loss Over Time

by Ivan

I've been training for a year now, about 4 times a week. My regimen includes squatting, bench pressing, overhead lifts, barbell rows, dips, and deadlifts.

I've had really good progression, I weigh 145 pounds and I deadlift and squat 225, bench 175, overhead lift 125. My question is I stopped lifting for about 3 months over the summer because I didn't have time, and now I'm looking back to lift.

What is your advice on rebuilding muscle strength after taking a break? I've been told that muscle memory will help me get back to where I was, but I don't know how long that will take.

My other question regarded taking protein. Which protein do you think is best for weight gain and why? And do you suggest supplements?

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Jan 31, 2009
Regaining Strength Lost Over Time
by: Anonymous

HI Ivan,

The time it takes to regain strength is an individual thing. I would start with weights you can very comfortably handle for the repetition range you were using before, and gradually increase the weight each week until you are back to your normal strength levels.

This will take you longer for big lifts like squats and deadlifts, and less time for things like curls and tricep extensions. The more weight you handle on the exercise the longer it will take to get back to your former poundages.

That having been said, you need to invest some time learning about things like cycling and periodization. In other words you need to vary the volume and intensity of your training over time so that you don't burn yourself out or get stale.

Effective training does not necessarily take hours per day. Basic exercises and short but intense workouts will work very well for you. Check out the "antiaging exercise" section of the Antiaging Bookstore section of this website. I have listed several good books on strength training and will add more shortly.

Authors like Charles Poliquin and Charles Staley will provide good solid information that will help you create the right training routine for yourself. Check out the nutrition section as well for information about eating properly. John Berardi has a great DVD on nutrition that you might be interested in.

As far as your question on protein supplements, I would steer clear of "whey concentrate" based on my own negative experiences with it, and what I have read from others who noted some of the same problems.

The majority of your protein should come from foods such as meat, fish, chicken, ect.
Use protein powder just to add a bit more quality protein to your diet. I would suggest casein based protein, or a mix of casein and whey isolate. I have written a couple of pages on protein supplementation on this site.

Regarding food supplements, a good multi vitamin/mineral formula is a must. After that you can add fish oils, to help round out your essential fatty acid requirements. All this stuff is discussed on various pages on this site, but it is just a starting point for your information.

Read up on these subjects and learn. There is no substitute for acquiring knowledge by reading AND by personal experience.

Good luck!


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