Push, push, push. Seems to be the American way. Push, push, push leaves no time for relaxation and reflection…and integration. How can you integrate what’s been learned without pausing to let it assimilate?

In training this is called the back off week. It keeps you from overdoing it. It’s like this: three weeks on, one week off. The week off is the back off week. For the three weeks prior to the back off week, you increase your training demands. Then, on the back off week, you decrease.

There are protocols for how much to decrease on the back off week but I like to feel it out. This week is my back off week and I’m doing a lot more stretching and joint mobility. Mobility and flexibility is so important and with time constraints, I don’t always get enough of it when I’m training. My body is demanding this type of activity.

Steve Maxwell, when he taught a workshop on joint mobility, talked about the body scan. Before doing the joint mobility, you scan your body mentally and see which areas are asking for some attention. That’s kind of how I like to approach the back off week.

So, give it a try. Three weeks of 3 to 5 exercises, 3 to 5 reps, and 3 to 5 sets and then on the fourth week, take a break. Then start back up again, a little bit lighter than you ended up on the third week. You can’t progress forever, but you can certainly make considerable improvements and become very strong, mobile, and flexible.