Update and Alternative Training for a Deload Week

by Marianne  - April 26, 2012

Hi everyone,

The past week I have been forced to have a complete break from training heavy (and even from training at all for 2 days). Whether it’s to do with the long seated journey to get to the USA, or just a fluke flare up, my SI Joint has been a nightmare for me since last Wednesday. On Sunday, after a few feeble Front Squat sets, I was forced to quit and just admit I was actually going to make it worse.

The problems I face are:

  1. I love training! (so I get a little down when I can’t train and try to avoid this feeling at all cost)
  2. I am stubborn! (I find it hard to admit there is a problem, and carry on hoping it will improve with exercise)
  3. I am competitive! (When I am training with people, I love trying to push myself further than usual)

Anyway, Nia and I decided this was actually a good time to address a common problem many lifters face – knowing when to slow down and actually doing it! Often, I know I have to slow down, but I put it off.  Actually doing it is way harder than we expect when we love our training.

When your back is starting to ache, for example, then maybe it’s time to throw in a deload week.  Nia and I demonstrate the two great exercises for lower body training, that will keep your back safe;  The Single-leg Squat and Single-Leg Hip Thrust (or you can do the Single-Leg Glute Bridge instead).  These two exercises are great for keeping you strong during your week off, and actually might help your weighted training when you do return to it. Plus, single leg training is a great way to supplement your training.  This way, you neither compromise your back, or your lower body training.

The Workout

Because I couldn’t participate, we decided you might like more of a tutorial-style video.  It was funny, because as per usual Marianne style, I kept getting tongue-tied and waffling, so poor Nia had to do a million single-leg squats until I finally got what I wanted to say across! Luckily, she’s damn good at them.

The importance of listening to your body is crucial.  And, while there will be times when you can keep training at a more intense and heavy rate, there will be times when you really need to stop and assess if that niggle in your knee, shoulder, back is worth more attention …. don’t just keep ignoring it.  Change your training intensity for a while, or have a break.

While my SIJ issue is caused by an underlying disease process, it has made me slow down anyway.  There are many times I can train around or through the pain but this time is different and needs me to actually stop!

That’s all for today. I hope to be back soon with a new workout.




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  1. Hi Marianne,

    I LOVE myohmytv.com! Thank you so much for such great workouts. I have been a huge fan for the past 6 months and kettlebell training has totally changed my body (combined with cleaning up my diet and removing all carbs except “slow carbs”, although I still have one cheat day a week b/c I love food). I have lost over 20 lbs and it’s still coming off 😀 I do your workouts 3 to 4 times per week and have recently added extra conditioning sessions at the end of all my workouts in the form of either sprints on the treadmill or stairmaster (thanks for this idea, what a killer, I love it!) or a body weight workout from Bodyrocktv.com, as I am trying to further reduce my body fat % (side note — although I do like the Bodyrocktv site, I think you are a much better role model and a more “real” person so overall your site is better :P). It’s hilarious b/c I always get SOOO many comments at the gym about my intense workout style with the kettlebells and the GymBoss! I refer people to your page all the time 😉 Thanks again for always posting such amazing, challenging workouts… also just wanted to add that glute bridges are amazing and my ass is definitely looking like a “C”! I’m working up to the single leg thrust and in the meantime have started doing the weighted glute bridges — what a killer! I also recently picked up a pair of the Vibram five-fingers shoes which definitely have improved my balance (although I couldn’t find those awesome pink ones!!!).

    After reading about IF on your posts, I have been looking into it lately and I’ve been tempted to try it, although slightly apprehensive since I don’t want to turn into a complete grouch when I haven’t eaten — how did you find IF when you first started? Did you struggle with it? Any tricks that you follow to make it easier? Would you even recommend IF to someone who is already following a strict, high protein, low carb (except slow carbs) diet?

    I’ll be busting out the Kettlebell couplets with secret pyramid (the sock dancing 😉 ) workout at the gym tonight and I am AMPED… had a tough day at work so can’t wait for the sweat bath.

    Thanks for being such a great role model and my fitness inspiration! I honestly don’t think I would feel so motivated without you or your website. Thanks for all the hard work, you are the bomb!!!

    (Ontario, Canada)

    1. Kristen,

      Firstly, what kind comments … THANK YOU! You have done an amazing job of reaching your goals and you should be very proud of all your effort to date.

      As for the IF questions. I think it’s fine to combine it with low carb, as long as you are still able to get enough calories, but you can make these up with fats if need be. It was easy for me at the very start, but after a while I started missing breakfast. However I just had to develop a coffee habit in the morning to curb that appetite for breakfast and it was easier after that. Even now, if I miss my coffee, I get really hungry and want to break the fast earlier. I also try and keep busy. As soon as I sit down, or am bored, I feel the need to snack 😉

      Thank you for recommending my site to on-lookers in the gym. I’m sure you rock them 😀

      1. Hey,

        The last 2-3 days I had some time because of the free days in rembering the deaths of Worldwar II. So I watch a few programs on National Geographic which showed captured pilots from the ardenne-offense in Belgium who were transported to Germany to work in camps and bowing caves in the mountains to harvest stones… When the pilots arrived at the camps they saw men and woman behind the fences in striped “pyammas/clothes” were completely shocked because they could not recognize people in them as they looked so outhungered…with big ope eyes that all stare at the inprisoned pilots… But not many weeks further in time after the pilots had to work with the heavy stones(kettlebells, haha) all in the dust of the caves… at a feeding-rantson of only 400 calories,….. the man were dying with high numbers every day !! Becoming only bones… Knowing the americans were coming maybe soon !!?? They tried to survive… They were so hungry that they dived into the shit of the fellow-prisoners to look for the seeds that were not digested… !!!

        I’m always very %^&*(%$# if I read about intermittant fasting !!! Fighting against the signs of the body !! Al this theoritizing of how to eat… For what !!????? Is it so bad to just eat breakfast !!! Just do normal things !!!

        As if we are in a prison of the thery of mind !!! Our body asks for something.. But we have a theory. We know better !!

        Scot Abel wrote a 3-part serie about to much mental stories about eating !!! I think it’s worth reading !! Her is the link to the 3th part :


        A body doesn’t need to be fooled around with. It will do well on normal patterns of eating. A body works 24 hours a day, ongoing.

        But okay. If people want to know better than the body.. I don’t think an ape skips hunger when he/she can eat. Or a cow, or a sheep, etc… Only people with their thinking want to do it different than they feel.

        1. Thanks for your thoughts Gert. Though, I think you’re confusing fasting and starving. I actually think the body is kept in a fed state too much. But that’s my opinion. Again, it comes down to preference. Also, the types of fasts most people do, do not last over 24 hours, and most only miss the traditional morning meal.

          Have a good one 🙂

          1. Hey Marianne,

            I’m well aware of the meaning of intermittant fasting. I know that a lot of leading trainers/internet-coaches theorize about it with maybe science backer up with it. And maybe even good results… In their small-minded looking !! But we all know that it always works if you use the trick of blaming one part of diet. If you eat low carb… You just narrow your choice very much.. So, automatically you eat less calories !! That’s the only reason of somebody losing weight on it. Lower calories !!

            The point I’m making that you make a prison of life using all kind of different beliefs that are all kind of restricting !!! That’s the connection I made with the inprisoned pilots who were restricted by “mental beliefs of the nazi’s”… And it’s not the part of restricting calories !!

            I only wanted to say… Why do we fall for all kind of religion/beliefs maybe even supported by science or making strange connections with people that lived 200.000 years ago in the woods !!! Or on the plains in africa.

            I just don’t belief in that. I think it’s stupid. To put a believe in front of your mind that was told to you… and just ignore the honest feeling of your body !! Maybe you had your last food at 9-10 pm,… so your body has been fasting all night. So it’s normal that you are hungry !!! That your body doesn’t want to stress to live from it’s own reserves.
            If you just eat normal every day. there is no need and no reason to go against your own bodily feeling. If you just eat good stuff.

            It’s all so religiouss. Like the nazi’s… I rember that the Nazi’s when they were in the east on their way to russia and tehy had to kill 600.000 jews in one time. They started to let them dig their own grave and they were buried alive to save bullets. That took too much time so they used machine to dig great massa-graves and then shot them with bullets and burried them.. But the german soldiers had to much trouble with moral to kill all thos woman and children.. SO they came up the new theorie. Then they invented the use of gases from the tanks and from they invented the gas chambres…

            I know this is too much too put on the net in this context.. But the only thing I want to state… I think that exercis is becoming a religion…. And everything is used to reach those exercise goals… Even things that goes against our body-language..

            And was the connection with the link to the writing of Scott abel.

            I think we should be just eat normal. Don’t outsmart your body !! Your body-system is much older than our thinking !!!

            I hope you will not take my my connecting of the program I saw on National Geographic about WoII not personal in anyway. Because I know it’s completely not in context.. But okay, I was really touched by it. SO it has nothing to do with the poin I’m making.

            MAYBE (for sure) It is better not to include this writing on your site.

            I hope my writing is clear. I think people make too much of exercise and all the means around it. Weight is 80 % eating. Calories in, calories out. Nothing more.

            And having some fat on your body is good. Single digit is only a “nazi”-religion in somebody’s mind !! Having to do many things against your own mind/moral !! Building your own concentrationcamp in one’s own mind !!

            Just eat normal breakfast. If you feel for it. If not, not.

            No religion or nazi-regime.. Just reality.

            Hope, I made your day well Marianne. Have a good breakfats. A slice of bread with cheese and some canned tomato-slices and cheese on top of it.. Heat it up in the microwave. Have a cup of coffee with it… I hope you will look forward to next morning… now allready..

            have a good day. (again sorry for bringing up the picture of the nazi’s )

          2. I appreciate your opinion Gert, but I also think it’s a little ironic that you talk of the fitness industry being like religion (which I agree it is). But just as some of us hold beliefs for things like IF or certain types of training, others (like you) hold beliefs against it. So to liken it to religion … if I am the believer … you are the atheist. And there we have one of the biggest divides in human history. Why not just accept that each person is entitled to do as they choose, without the judgment. In your statements, you must realise you come across as having stronger beliefs against my “religion” than I do for it. So how is that better.

            I mean this only to point out that no matter if you are part of the fitness/Fasting/low carb group or not, by taking such a strong effort to get your point across, is only making you look more to be part of a religion than me. All I do here is document a journey of how I do things. I never tell people what to do, or what not to … that is not my place. I will always try and give the best answers based on what we think we know right now. But all areas of life are like this… why do you choose to do the things you do?? You make a choice based on preferences, which are influenced by all the same forces that influence me. Whether we like it or not, we are all following someone else’s advice, based on some research and taking on beliefs at some point along the way.

            The problem is not in this process (as we are all entitled to do this) – the problems occur when people get offended or judgmental about another person’s choice and start demanding they change their view.

            I don’t think that’s what I am doing here.

            Good day Gert 🙂

          3. Hey,

            I’m sorry Marianne that my writing was too much (that’s true) and if I came across as if I am or knew better.. But that is not the point I made. Your blog is not even a place to discuss your writings as you also wrote : that all you do is documenting a story how you do things for yourself. Although I think that posting about it is telling something to somebody (that wants to read on its own will).

            I call overcoming the nature/reality of life :RELIGION Thoughts rooted only on beliefs, conviction from “all the somebody’s in the fitnes-scene”. As you tell that your site is only a document of a journey.. I don’t state that you are a believer.. As you tell your storie of your journey. My reaction is not an anti-believe. So I’m not the atheist in this.

            So as my writing is becoming way too much again.

            I have no belief against IF in it’s affects. I don’t know. I only want to state that IF is only making our life strange and more difficult than it needs to be. As your body is telling you in your journey on IF.

            I just wanted to give you and your readers a nice breakfast. Yes, I do have a believe for breakfast !! That’s true.. I like it. And it will not hurt me. The opposite I think. It’s an ancient habit of mankind. First thing in the morning, go for a pee. Then, something to eat..

            I hope this will help you on your journey !! I hope to add to your journey. Think about me tomorrow in the early morning Marianne !!

            And no I’m not kidding you. I’m very positive…

            I hope I’m adding to your journey. I really do.

            Have a good day.

  2. All righty, Marianne…I just ordered a set of kettlebells. I was getting tired of improvising with my adjustable dumbbells ( always worrying if one of the plates is going to fly across the house ).
    Do you have any recommendations ( or anyone here ) on a book about kettlebells ?

    1. You might try “Body Sculpting with Kettlebells for Women,” by Lorna Kleidman. She shoots low on a lot of the weights and some of the peripheral info (diet, etc that one always finds in exercise books) is not entirely accurate; however, its a pretty decent book as far as lists of exercises/descriptions/instructions.

      1. Hi Nicole,
        Thank you for your suggestion, I had my eyes on that book, but also on “Kettlebels for dummies” by Sarah Lurie and Kettlebell Rx: The Complete Guide for Athletes and Coaches by Jeff Martone. They have really good reviews on amazon. Any idea if these ones are better or more complete?

        1. I’m sorry, I have no experience with the other two. I tend not to be a huge fan of the ‘for dummies’ brand of books, but that’s just a matter of personal preference. The body sculpting book focuses on “for women” which I’m not a huge fan of. The biomechanics are the same regardless. I would probably check out Kettlebell RX.

  3. Hey Marianne,

    Pain is a signal to be listened to. Just last week I got light sense of Plantaris Fasciiitis in my right-foot. Two years ago i stopped with my running because my right foot got hot and my tendon at my ankle gave signals of pain.. That was the second time I had to stop running.. I could run but I had to use my common sense to not get in real trouble. SO I started doing fitness at sensible way of not pushing me to the end.. But as time goes on I got more confident and I set my weight for the leg press (I do no squats)higher to something that is more demanding.. And,…. I ended in this upflaring of my foot again.. So, it;s just the sign that my limit for my right foot is LIMITED. For some reason.. I have to listen to the facts..

    I think it’s important for you to Marianne. To keep your pushing in check. Your pain is sign that your doing to much !! Don’t try to overwin that !!! Stop with pushing… And doing one-legged exercise is even more demanding !! And this morning I got a blogpost from somebody wwrote that he did not like the pistol-squat for you bring your knee over your foot a lot.. What is strongly critized with the tw-legged squat !!!!!!!!!!

    I urge you to think up your exercise.. Taking a pause and after that pushing yourself in the same game again !!! That’s is not the right way.. to go. Yesterday I listened to a olympics trainer on tv.. He answered a queation with…. : I repeat myself he said : It’s a fool who doesn’t look at historie.. But it’s just rediculous to repeat that historie exactly the same.

    I can remember in your writing that you became better in bodyhealth in changing exercising. But like I changed my exercise from running in fitness(legpress/squat)… It didn’t change suspensiblity in getting in the same problems reaching MY limit.

    Hey, maybe you should be honest to the signs of your beautifull tempel of your wonderfull personality Marianne. Just doing lower force exercise won’t hurt your looks Marianne.. And surely won’t deminise your good personality. And liking to push and do heavy exercise won’t pay the bills !!!!!!!!

    If you look to the future… I think you will be sure you will not be swinging kettlebells at age of 5o years… So, it’s not a disaster to take back NOW…

    Go for a short intens bike as the weather is good through the fields can be really relaxing !!! And is really not going to take a force on your SI-joint….

    As I wrote. I can realte to you in having troublemaking parts to work around…

    I think you will not agree with my advise.. But hey, convince me that we should drive through it !!! By just taking a pause and start pounding up agian… Or going on one foot !!! I think we should look at historie and not repeat it.. I think that makes sense..

    But I know… You allreay knew this.. I can’t teach you anything than your body speaks to you !!!!!!

    Have fun and look for the better,


    1. Hi Gert,

      Thanks for the encouragement. I DO listen to pain and train around it. Sometimes my issues are brought about by too much sitting or other factors. Usually I’m okay but every once in a while things act up and I train around them. I do not believe that the exercises I employ make my problems worse. Conversely, I feel they dramatically improve upon my health and function. For example, a strong posterior chain helps better transfer forces across the SI Joint, and since I’ve been doing swings, deadlifts, bridges, etc. my problems act up less frequently. I don’t do pistols and I’ve found exercises that work well for me, which might not be the same for other folks. I know that consistent cycling would be problematic to my SI Joint so I avoid it. I have put much thought into the exercises I choose so please don’t get the impression that I’m just ‘winging it.’ Trust me – I listen to my body and adjust accordingly. But I also have strength goals that I’d like to reach, and though I’m not obsessive over these goals, it makes training more fun for me. So I’ll continue to train hard and strive to reach new heights, all the while continuing to listen to my body and avoid pain.

      Thanks again for your time.
      Marianne 🙂

      1. Hey Marianne,

        Your answer makes sense.. and reflects a lot of selfconsciousness. SO in your request I’ll have to trust you !!! But, anyway I can’t deny that I have some concern. For most people nothing gives more sense of life than having a goal… to reach for.. But it’s always a two-edged swoard..

        Using particular exercise to strenghten your posterior chain can be a golden tool.. But putting strength-goals on top of it to reach new heights is only a matter of joy for the EGO and was not the goal in the first attempt !!! That is not working, around issues…!! That’s trying to work through it.. That’s the same for me in setting the pin om the leg-press higher than my foot can handle in long term.

        So I’m sure you’re not winging it as you wrote.

        But challenging the art of strengthening to a weak point in looking for the edge in the joy of a challenge in setting mind-goals.. A trick of the mind’s ego part.. I think is the straight road towards and over the edge again and again !! You can use anything for you and against you.

        I think strength-goals are gold for the ego but very detrimental for your body !!

        Maybe I’m writing this to you more to make up my own mind.. !! So, don’t get disturbed by it. But I wil click the “submit Comment” anyway.. I rest my case. No, I’ll rest your case Marianne. It’s your pain in the hips and it’s my pain in the foot that is asking for to be listened and get a good answer in acting. Maybe it’s asking for more to strenghten (haha) or maybe it’s telling us to make up our mind !!!! I don’t think I need to be work to pressin 300 kg to be pain-free in my foot. I think the average guy without pain can only press 80 kg.. That’s my answer to myself. Everybody is different. Every issue is different in it’s own part.

        Have fun, anyway.

    2. Going to go with Marianne on this.

      Backing down permanently is not always (or even usually) the best solution. Overload and recovery are the path to progress. Sometimes we push a little too hard and have to take a brief break but that doesn’t mean that we have reached a static limit.
      I have had clients who are runners think that they have to quit because they have knee pain. Instead they needed to do some posterior chain strengthening and foam roll the ITB. I have had clients with sciatica who would be in extreme pain if they didn’t continue to exercise the glutes & hamstring while being mindful of stretching the piriformis. That being said, they have a tendency to have flare ups when we push to progress.

      Finally, continued exercise is the best way to maintain health of the bones, joints, and heart. For example look at DR. Cooper of Cooper Aerobics. Last I heard he is in his 80’s and still running marathons and white water rafting. Thus, I can fully see Marianne still throwing kettle bells around in 30 years…That’s the point.


  4. Hey there, do you have a tutorial of how to get to a single leg squat? I am fairly adept at a lot of balance work, but I can’t seem to even get to 90 degrees with these. Would you use a box or trx?


    1. Hey Nicole, I don’t have a tutorial, but what you suggested is pretty much what I would advise. At the start you can use the TRX to help you lower down onto the box, then assist you up. After a while, you can progress to lowering without the TRX, but use it to help you up again. The take the box away. I only go to parallel with these anyway, because my torso leans too far forward when I do them and my low back rounds too much … so keep an eye out for that issue. Some people are better suited for these types of Squats than others.

      1. Thanks Marianne! I will give it a shot. I love the stability that unilateral exercises build, but it can be frustrating to build up. Question, I was wondering if I could get some help from GGS in finding a lifting partner in Austin Tx. Thus far I have not been able to find a woman who is interested in putting on mass.

  5. You 2 are so great together. Marianne you butchered that southern drawl. Ha ha.
    I think you would really benefit from doing yoga. That is what I do when my body tells me to stop punishing it. It also smooths out that competitive edge.


    1. I keep telling myself that I need to do Yoga! After this flare up settles I will definitely be doing something to stretch more.

      Sorry about my terrible Southern drawl LOL *hanging head in shame* 😉

  6. Since your SI joint is giving you grief I’ll make sure to throw in an exta set of squats for you tmrw when I do legs again:)

  7. Hi Marianne, I can totally relate to your SI joint pain/inflammation, because I have lupus mine flares up anytime it feels like it, this time it was after 15 mins of sun exposure :(…I’ve had to stop lifting too, and even found upper body workouts are aggravating it as well. So I resorted to (don’t laugh) 😉 pulling out the original buns of steel video, I’ve done it three times and no pain in the joint, the results are great too..thanks for posting this video im going to give it a try!!

    1. Cheryl, I am exactly the same with the upper body stuff. Everything aggravates it when it’s flared up. I especially find lying in bed hell!! I’m glad you found something you can do 🙂

  8. Thanks for this post. It’s a nice reminder that even though one may be determined to push push push to achieve that goal they are determined to reach, that it is just as important to step back, listen to your body, and take that break your body is asking for. When I do this, I find that I come back refreshed, feeling stronger than I was the week before. And your body thanks you for it!

    I sure hope youf SIJ didn’t hinder you from having fun outside of the gym while you were on vacation.

    Looking forward to more pictures and stories of your adventure!

    Feel Better Soon!

  9. Hello Marianne & Nia
    Love , love ,love the videos. You two are hilarious . Nia’s impression of you
    had me cracking up. Gotta try that again. Marianne enjoy the USA. You so deserve a break.
    Please sell me a tee shirt like the one Nia is wearing. I’d buy one in every color.
    More pictures, more videos , and more impressions. You made my day.
    Minnie 🙂

  10. This blog post could not have come at a better time! I understand what you are going through as I am having a very similar issue at the moment with my sacrum. I don’t know the cause of mine yet though which is frustrating. Hope you get back to training the way you want very soon!


    So, you felt the need to reveal my piss-poor-attempt at your Irish accent to the world, but you didn’t include even ONE SECOND of your southern drawl impersonation?!?!

    I’ll get you back. 🙂

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