As now I’m into deloading my training, it’s a good time to introduce to all of you about deload. Deload have an important reputation in weight training, and it recommended for both beginners and advanced lifter. Someone treat deload week as something counterproductive at the first glance, however, the fact is a deload week just at the right time in your programme could actually help you.
If you are also wondering how deload week could help you and do you really need one scheduled in your workout, continue reading to find out!
What is deload
Deload week means a week that you are reducing the intensity of your workout, but you still going to the gym as your normal workout routine.
The difference between deload week from regular workout is the goal for your training. On a regular workout, your goal is to push yourself harder in order to improve strength and hypertrophy, often progressive overload is implied. On the deload week, that progress is being put aside and you are optimizing muscle recovery from previous sessions.
In this whole week, you will have a less stressful workout session throughout the week with a similar routine. Instead of taking a week off, deload week is often used as a training strategy when you need a break from a workout but to remain ‘on track’.
Reason for deload
Sometimes we think that deload is only for our muscle to recover, however it is more than that.
This is to overcome fatigue and overtraining while allowing your body to recover from muscle break down from all the the previous sessions.
The theory behind deload is the supercompensation in training.
Basically, this theory suggests that when we overcome intense training, we put our body in the destructive position, therefore, there would be a decrease in our fitness level. Our body needs time to go past the recovery period before it actually improved.
The more time we allow our body to rest, incorporating with an effective training, it could actually help improve the fitness level and even make it better than the time you start a programme.
Sometimes a workout programme that span from 8 weeks or more might lead our body placed on the ‘recovery’ mode for too long, often ended up we not giving enough time for our fitness level to return to the base line. Then when we continue training, lead us to feeling more fatigue and eventually lost all the motivation for workout.
You might think that, ‘I think I’m okay with this. I don’t feel any fatigue’.
Yes, it’s true that humans live in a life where sometimes we do not only need to deal with the stress from our physical, but actually more of the stress is came from the mental. In fact, although sometimes even we did not feel like we are putting too much stress on our body, our nervous system is.
A nervous break down could actually hinder muscle growth and put our body into recovery for a longer time that it needs. Therefore deload is also a time when you still carrying out your workout, but you are telling your mind that this is a more easier session. This will allowed your mind to starting pick up to do the muscle recovery work for you.
There are some benefits that deload week could promote, apart from the reason of muscle recovery,
- You still able to stay active with relatively lesser workload
- Avoid you to still stay on track instead of taking a week off
- Decrease mental stress
- Avoid the chances of joint injury
- Improving sleep
- Refresh your motivation to workout
When to deload
For most of the trainers that workout consistent and always progressive overload, the most common recommendation for them to deload is every 8-12 weeks.
For begineers that are new to training, they will need to deload less frequently because their training workload often lighter than experienced lifters.
The placement of the deload week is often at the middle of a programme or at the end of the programme. Sometimes there only need one deload week found at the end of a shorter programme. For longer programme,splitting the whole programme into two with one deload week at the middle, and one deload week at the end of the programme is also a recommended act for trainers.
Usually, we don’t recommend training more than 12 weeks of the heavy sessions. This might bring huge stress on the muscle and nervous system and only do bad than harm.
However, there is sometimes we need to deload more often for different situation. As we always need to expect some circumstance that is out of the planning. SOmetimes mgith be the stress that brings from the life, environmental changes, or sleep deprivation.
If these sign occurs during your training, that means it’s time for you to deload.
- constant fatigue
- decrease of weight from previous session
- performance plateau for a few weeks
- muscle soreness occur overtime
- lose motivation to workout
Is it necessary to deload?
It depends whether which type of person need to deload.
For those regular gym goers that train hard and follows their schedule, deload is recommended. The deload week is different from rest day in your week because just a few days of rest day in your normal routine might not enough to let your nervous system to recover.
Deload is actually part of the trick to let your body recover on a larger scale. I recommended everyone that is following a schedule really take serious in intergrating a deload week in your schedule. Infact deload won’t decrease your gains at all.
However, for individual that only goes to the gym occasionally, deload is not necessary for you. Your body already take enough rest from your ocasional rest day.
For those that are overtraining, directly take a rest day is better option. Here are some sign for those that is overtrain. If you experienced chronic fatigue and unable to do your training properly in each session. You found decreasing of strength in a serious way. Your training really affects your emotions and daily living. It might be a tick-off that you already overtraining. Just take a rest week.
What to do on deload
From the terms, deload means to reduce the workload. In this week you are suggested to reduce the intensity of your workout in that week, be it either using a lighter load, decreasing volume of cut down days of workout.
Whether which method you wish to imply is optional, here are a few ways to deload with a different options.
Drop the weight until about 60% of the weight from your last session that you use on each exercise. The sets and rep that you use should remain the same. This deload option is suitable for the exercise that is in a lower rep and heavy weight.
Remain the same weight that you use, but only do about half to 3/4 of your rep range. This is often applied in those exercises that have a higher rep range. Or those high rep movements that you used to train a smaller muscle groups.
Decrease of Sets
Similar to decreasing volume. But in this option. You remain everything the same but you are doing lesser sets. For instance, normally you will imply 4 sets of exercises, in this case when you deload, you only do 2-3 sets. This option is for if you always used to train with more sets instead of more rep.
Decrease workout day
Only train for a few days and just rest for the remaining day. This option is suitable for individuals that have more training days.
I assume in this type of split, most of them will go for each muscle group per day. If this is the case, take out the days that train smaller muscle groups. And you only do the training for those days that have a more compound movement or use larger muscle groups.
This option is free to combine with any of the options above.
Will deload make me lose my gains?
No, deload will not make you lose your gains. In fact, our muscles have memories, only one week of a lighter weight session will not ruin your strength that was built up previously. Instead, according to the supercompensation theory, your body will become far better after a week of deload.
We often found we return to the gym next week after a deload more energetic. motivated even able to lift heavier as before, that is because, during the deload period, your body is actually given time to repair and make improvement.
It’s like when in a normal working day, your boss tells you that this week you only need to do 60% of your workload because your company is now under maintenance. This time you found you are less stressed and you are able to pick up those things that you need to catch up.
Deload should be a part of our programme and should not be forgotten when you go through your workout plan.
Remember that the main goal of this week is not to make you feel harder, but just take the time to take a break from your previous training. As we said ‘rest is for a longer journey’ , deload week brings up more potential and sometimes doubled up the results.
That’s all for my post about deload, I hope this could bring some idea for you and you can optimize your performance.