by: Brandon Richey
Strength Tip Of The Day…To Deload Or Not To Deload?
So lately I’ve been getting some questions regarding deloading. So what is deloading? Well the short and sweet answer means it’s time to “chill,” to borrow a famous line from Arnold as the villain Mr. Freeze in the 1997 Batman & Robin movie. However if you want to learn more in detail about what all is involved in deloading then make sure you continue reading!
So CHILL And What Else?
So what is deloading? Well deloading is essentially a planned short period for recovery within the scope of your strength program. The purpose of deloading is that you give your body a break from the usual pounding of “loading” and stressing the body with your usual progressive strength lifts. So once again, should you deload? The answer is YES, but the bigger questions aren’t IF you should deload, but HOW and WHEN would be more valuable which is why I’m diving in that right here and now! 🙂
There are many ways you can go about implementing a deload week. For instance, depending on what you are normally used to doing in the weight room it means that you can just simply cut back on the volume of your training. Essentially you can significantly lighten the load of your lifts while keeping the reps the same. Just lift about 60 or 70% of what you normally lift for the same volume. Keep in mind that just because you lighten the load it doesn’t mean that you should try to make it more challenging by ramping up the reps; that would defeat the purpose of a deload. Once again you just want to CHILL!
In addition to cutting back on the volume of your lifts another way to implement deloading is to just go in and do something active, but maybe you just eliminate any super heavy lifting altogether. Eliminate barbell “loading” lifts and maybe just have a day of bodyweight training. Once again keep the volume short and don’t try to go crazy in an attempt to make the training session harder and harder.
The point is that you want to give your nervous system a break and to give your joints a break from the usual pounding of loading, week in and week out. If you look at professional athletes they don’t play their sport ALL year long. They have deload periods that last for weeks (aka the offseason) to give them time to recover before their next preseason training starts back up. It’s not really rocket science, but if you’re going to deload then DELOAD. Don’t fall into the trap of saying that you did, but then you end up NOT doing it.
Now having said all of this you’re probably wondering well Brandon when in the heck should I have a deload week? Well that all depends on you and what all you are involved in. If you’re a professional athlete with a sport that grinds through several months of play such as an NBA basketball player, or Major League baseball player then you will naturally have an off-season, but you may also have lighter weeks scheduled within your normal in-season schedule for purposely designed deloading.
In addition to this if you aren’t on such a schedule then I would say that you can look to take a deload week about every 3 to 6 months. Now having said this the MOST important rule of all is to just listen to your body; period! I mean if your body is cracking, popping, stiff, in a constant state of soreness, the joints are achy, and basically your body is screaming a bunch of expletives at you every morning you roll out of bed to plant your feet on the floor then you might want to take a deload week. The point is that everything I just described may come before that recommended 3 month period for a deload, and if it does then just LISTEN to your body.
The point is that you want to be smart about your deload. If you are a real iron pounding maniac like some of my friends and even sometimes with myself then another option for a deload week is to just skip going to the gym altogether. This is a more aggressive approach to deloading, but then again if your approach to training is also aggressive then you need to be just as aggressive about your recovery as well. I hope that was helpful.
Please feel free to leave your questions and comments in the comment box below this article. Just remember that most anyone can train hard, but only the best train smart my friend. Start your smart training today, unless of course you happen to be in the middle of a deload week! 🙂