What Exactly Are Deloads?
Simply put, deloads are a period of time (usually around one week), where training is decreased to facilitate recovery.
This decrease in training can come from one, two, or all three of the training variables:
– Volume (total number of sets)
– Intensity (how close you are working to failure)
– Frequency (how often you train)
Why Do I Need Deloads?
As you train and increase weight and/or reps across a Mesocycle (= one block of training usually 4-8 weeks in length), you accumulate fatigue. As fatigue accumulates, it often reaches a point where it begins to mask your fitness level.
Signs of high fatigue accumulation include:
– Difficulty increasing weight/reps week to week
– Decreased motivation to train / Having to get extra “amped up” for sessions
– Soreness lasting longer than usual
– Lower quality sleep
– Increased signs of stress
– Difficulty focusing on work
– Increased OR decreased hunger
Once the fatigue accumulation is causing these negative associations, it’s time to deload.
In our programs, we do a deload week every sixth week.
Won’t I Lose My Gains?
People often worry that they’ll somehow “lose their gains” by taking a deload week.
Not to worry, the scientific literature has shown very confidently that there is literally no drawback to taking a week off, or training “less hard” for a week.
When Do We Schedule Deloads?
We always begin a cycle with an introduction or deload week.
There are two primary reasons we begin cycles in this manner:
1. To flush fatigue from your prior training, which will provide you the recovery resources to consistently make progress over the course of the next 5 weeks of training. We want to ensure that “accumulated fatigue” is not going to prevent you from making the best gains with our program.
2. To familiarize yourself with the repeating movements at lighter weights (slightly further away from failure). The idea is to practice the technique of each movement, while also establishing an idea of what weights you may want to use when we get into the Week 2 effort levels the following week.
Take the deloads seriously. Use it for recovery and get your body ready for what’s coming next!