I am notoriously bad at resting, so I had put off scheduling a de-load week for far too long (see here and here for more info). The basic premise is that you decrease either weight, sets or reps (or some combination therein) for a week to give your muscles a chance to actively recover.
For arms, I dropped my weight in about half for most moves and worked on form and kept the speed pretty quick. Everything felt very easy, but I committed to dropping weight if I started feeling fatigued (since the point of the week is to repair the muscles, not tear them down). We also cut the total number of reps down significantly.
I’ll be honest – at times it feels a little boring, but this is where it helps to bring a friend along who can keep things fun/interesting. 🙂
- 3 rounds of Bicep Curl/Tricep Supersets
- 3 rounds of Figure 8’s
- 3 rounds of chin ups and tricep push-ups with hand release
Bicep/Tricep Supersets – 3 rounds of “21” reps for biceps/triceps:
(1) Narrow and Wide Grip Bicep Curls – Start with 7 wide grip bicep curls (shown at the top of the movement), followed by 7 narrow grip bicep curls (shown at the bottom of the movement.)
(2) Finish the bicep set with 7 hammer curls with a light set of dumbbells.
(3) Using a light dumbbell, do 7 reps of an overhead tricep extension. Start with elbows bent on the side of your ears, keeping the elbows as close to your head as possible. Lower the weight behind your head until your hands are near the back of your neck. Raise the weight back up to the top and repeat.
(4) Then perform 7 reps of tricep kickbacks. Start with bent knees and your upper body lowered to about a 45 degree angle. Start with elbows bent and the weights near your chest. Keeping the arms close to your body, press the weights back until your arms are straight.
(5) Finish with 7 reps of tricep raises (not pictured). Start with the weights in the second tricep kickback position — with straight arms pressed behind you. Turn your palms up to the ceiling and lift your arms about 3-6 inches toward the ceiling. Repeat for 7 reps.
After you finish all 6 moves, rest for 30 sec – 1 min and repeat for two additional rounds.
Next we did 4 tabata rounds of Figure 8’s with a light kettlebell. Start with the handle of the kettlebell in your right hand, with the “bell” in your left palm. Swing the kettlebell under and around your left leg. As it comes around to the side/front of your left leg, garb the bell with your left hand and come to stand with the “bell” in your right palm. Repeat for as many reps as possible in 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat 3 more times.
We finished with a ladder of chin-ups and tricep pushups with a hand release. We started with 7 reps of chin-ups, followed by 6 reps, 5 reps, 4 reps, and 3 reps and then went back up the ladder. The other partner tried to do as many push-ups as possible in the time it took the other person to finish chin-ups.
(1) Since this was a de-load week, we used a lot of assistance (level 12), for chin-ups. I focused on being very slow and controlled on the way up and down for each movement.
(2) After chin-ups, immediately move into tricep pushups with a hand release. Start with the hands about 12 inches apart. Lower down, keeping the elbows tight on the sides of your body. At the bottom of the push-up, lift the hands off the ground. Replace your hands and push yourself up to the starting position.