The final week of training before a competition may be the most important. There is nothing more deflating to your morale than stepping on stage and still holding water — or even worse, looking flat and depleted. I often receive questions about what sort of workouts I perform in that crucial training week leading right into stage-ready condition.

Before a competition, I carb deplete for at least three days. During this time, I train in such a way to deplete as much glycogen from the muscles as possible. This is a vital step of the process. By depleting carbs from my diet and also training to deplete glycogen from my muscles, I force my muscles to become hypersensitive to carbs. This ensures that the carb-up draws water into the muscles when I fill back out.

For training, I do a full body workout all three days of the depletion. The final day excludes any leg training. Instead, I perform additional sets for whichever body part I really want to accentuate during the carb-up. This can really help with visually improving weak points.

Keep in mind that these workouts are designed to deplete glycogen and not to build muscle. Therefore, if you decide to try this, control the negative portion of the movement and keep constant tension on the muscle. Do not pause at the top or bottom of any exercise. Be sure to stop well short of failure on each set.

To give an example of these full body complexes, here is what I did (and what you can do) in this morning’s workout:


Training Guidelines

Because the goal of this workout is to maximally deplete glycogen from your muscles, it is better to do more sets of the same exercise than to use numerous exercises. Do not go to failure on any exercise. As a general guideline, you should stop each set two reps short of failure.

The next day of the depletion phase, I will do a similar setup with only two changes. First, I will choose new exercises for each complex. Secondly, I will increase the 10-12 rep range to 15-18. This is beneficial for causing greater glycogen depletion as you get further along in the three-day phase.

If you attempt to deplete this way, remember that your nutrition must match. Keep carbs out of your diet and be aware of how supplementation affects your carbohydrate intake. During the depletion, my intra-workout nutrition and supplementation changes. I typically have Mag-10 intra-workout, but remove it due to the carb content.

Try out this template and adjust as needed for your training and weak body parts.