A solid workout routine is not complete without a proper deload. What is deloading you might ask? It's a planned training period where your workout intensity is significantly lightened in order to maximize your performance in the gym and prevent the risk of injury or burnout. Deloads should be considered a fundamental and pre-planned component of any training regimen. Let’s dig in a little more…
What is the purpose of deloading?
The main purpose of a planned deload is to reduce the fatigue that has been accumulating over the last 3-6 weeks of training. A deload week can result in better performance during your workouts or training in the following 4-6 weeks. The deload week often involves a reduction in normal training volume and intensity. It aims to reduce systemic fatigue, risk of injury, promote overall recovery, and prepare an individual both mentally and physically for their next 4-6 week workout routine.
5 Signs You Might Need to Deload?
- Inability to further progress your training performance, and even possible performance regression
- Significant daily fatigue and/or injury (persistent or annoying)
- Elevated resting heart rate and/or changes in heart rate
- Disturbances in sleep and appetite
- Lack of motivation to train
How Often Should You Deload
Typically a deload should be done for one week after 3-6 weeks of progressively adding weight or intensity to your workout. A deload should be done when you cannot improve, or at least maintain, your performance from the week(s) prior. For example, if you experience two “sub par” workouts in a row — it’s probably time for a deload.
How To Deload
There is no universally correct way to approach a deload, as different methods work for different people. The primary goal of a deload is to reduce fatigue and recover mentally and physically so you are left feeling rejuvenated and ready to begin your standard workout!
Example of a Deloading Workout
(this method is an example and might not work for everybody) Cut your weight volume roughly in half and workout intensity by 20-30% of your last accumulating week. Example: In week 5 you did 4 sets of 10 barbell squats at 275 lbs. During a deload week you will be doing roughly 2 sets of 5 barbell squats at 195-225 lbs.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Deload week should be MUCH easier than your prior workouts in weeks 3-6.
- Don’t chase a pump or PR during deload week. Otherwise, you may compromise your next workout cycle.
Remember that the deload has a purpose — make it work for you!