Barbell Shrugged

How to boost your performance with tapering

Doug Larson


  • So I assume that this could be implemented into training even if you were not preparing for a competition. Usually, I take a week off between the end of one cycle and the start of the next. Would it be a better strategy to wind down after the “conclusion” of a planned cycle by dropping the volume?

    • I do that as well. Every time a block of training ends, take a mini taper (unloading week). Keep a little weight on the bar, but drop the volume sharply. Keep it fun too. That serves to really enhance results, in my view.

  • Thanks for the great article! I, unknowingly, took a two week tampering period recently. First time for several months(not smart), and coming back into a little more intense training, I’ve hit some PR’s and consistently high numbers without feeling overall taxed. After reading this article, it makes more sense. Appreciate you guys!

  • I found the article to be very interesting and it makes sense to me.
    My question is, how would say use tapering to rest before an event like the crossfit open? The open lasts for five weeks, would tapering for such a long period of time start to affect your performance near the end of the competition?

    • You wouldn’t, no. You can’t peak for every week. During this time, take every 4th week and reduce your volume some, for a rest boost. A full taper event makes more sense for regionals, etc.

  • Nice post. I agree tapering is definitely overlooked.
    I find this to be especially true in MMA. A lot of guys (and girls!) either don’t taper at all before a fight or taper too much and lose a lot of fitness going into their fights. This especially comes into play with the weight cut/gain aspect of things.
    I’ll definitely be sharing this with some of my training partners!

  • great article, thank you. I am a crossfit box owner and doing a big competition on January 15th. I am 49 years old and have done wendler for 5 months and just started comp training from Ben Burgeron for 3 weeks now. It is very high volume of work. I am recovering really well even though I have not finished a full workout yet. I am very satisfied with the amount of work I am doing and seem to be getting better. I do 5 days a week and some days are an hour and a half. I really want to be at my best and do well but never had experience with tapering. Any suggestions you can give would be great. I feel really really good and don’t feel like slowing too much but know I need to.
    Kind Regards
    Rick Borelli

    • Forgot to mention my Deadlift max is 415, squat is 315, Clean N Jerk is 230 and max snatch is 175. Don’t know if it matters. I feel like there good numbers to compete.

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