Welcome back fitness fam! Today we quickly cover deloading! What is deloading you ask? Deloading briefly defined is a “break” from your intense workout regimen to allow the muscles to recover and repair stronger and more energized for your next training phase. Sometimes we are on go go go for months and the body takes its toll. Eventually during your training phase you will be consistently running on empty, drained, weaker than normal, and need an appropriate “vacation” to recharge to continue even stronger than ever.
There is no right or wrong exact way to deload, but there are good steps to take to allow for efficient recovery. An average workout plan can last from 4-6 weeks, even 8 if you’re pushing it. It is appropriate to add one week of deloading as needed every 6-8 weeks in my opinion. A deloading week is one week where you continue to follow your workout regimen at a lower intensity to allow for recovery. Here is where you can choose your form of deloading.
1. Cut Everything In Half: Continue your regimen as usual, but slice the sets, reps, and work load in half. This is my favorite option. Dont completely stop going to the gym for the week, just make it easier. I personally like to take an extra 1-2 days of rest per week, and on work days I'd lift with 30-60% max strength levels. This way after one week you can feel more fresh to start a new program and return your workload to 80-100% levels.
I normally workout 6x a week, full 80-100% intensity. After 6 weeks my body is dead! So I decide to have a reloading week.
Deloading week I workout 4x a week, with 30-60% intensity. Then next week return to full intensity with a new program.
2. Keep the weights the same: Reps and sets lower. This option requires you to still be lifting your usual heavy weights, but asks for less repetitions of each exercise. This is another way to lower volume (sets x reps x weight). Again this allows for more recovery to occur during the week for more energy and strength in the following week.
I normally lift 400 lbs for 3 reps, then 365 for 6 reps, in 2 sets.
Deloading week I lift 400 lbs for 1 rep, then 365 for 3 reps, in 2 sets.
3. New and Shiny Plan: Option 3 is to completely confuse your system with a new training method. This one is less calculated as you can technically continue to work with a high intensity but use different exercises, techniques, and equipment. After a 6-8 week program of power lifting you can follow with a body weight program. Either way I recommend you still lower your intensity to absorb as much rest as you can. Great if you are looking to change up your excitement.
4. To increase one, lower another: To increase one lift and keep increasing strength in that lift you must decrease the weights, sets, or reps in other lifts to save enough energy. This is more athlete specific for individuals looking to increase strength in specific areas.
Take a load off and enjoy your rest! You deserve it. schedule it when your body needs it. Rest is important for progress. I highly recommend following any of these that work best for you!