T Nation

Are Deloading Weeks Necessary?


#1

I was just wondering, since I've never done a deloading week before, I just want to know, do you think it's really necessary?? couldn't I just take the week off from lifting and do more conditioning instead?? I really want to jump into my next plan and keep my strength gains moving along.


#2

Unless this your first workout routine you've done a deload. Whether its been a because you were sick, vacation, tired of lifting, or change to a different program.

You don't have to stop lifting totally, you can either half the frequency volume or both. Or yes you can do conditioning. It's better to not do more that what you normally do since for the purpose of pure strength gain, conditioning can have adverse effects if done too long. Or if your next plan is different enough you can go ahead and jump into your next program. A deload is primarily for a break from your current routine not necessarily a transition period.


#3

Any type of deloading or taper where you give your body a rest will help you if you've been working with intensity.

If you're doing a bodybuilding-type split where you only lift a muscle-group every 5-10 days then a "deloading week" probably isn't going to do much for you. Unless you're dieting for a contest and pushing your body past its physiological norms then I don't think a deloading week is going to help you that much.

If you're training like a powerlifter, strongman, or an off season athlete whose doing a lot of heavy lifting then taking a "deloading" week every 8 weeks where you drop your volume will help you put more weight on the bar in the long term and getting the bar off your back (doing front squats, belt squats, and trap bar deadlifts instead of back squats, deadlifts, and good mornings) by cycling your exercises is a really good idea.

If you're an in-season athlete whose got games and practies, then your intensity in the gym should reflect your intensity on the field, in the water, on the track, on the course, or whatever form your trenches take.

If you've been working out for less than a year and hitting the gym is the only major stress you're putting on your body, then I believe you only need to use "deload weeks," "deload periods," and "easy days" based off how you feel. If you've got the flu then you're starting your deload right now. If your squat hasn't improved in six weeks then you need to change something. That change might be a deload week. That change might be to stop being a pussy, put on some Rage Against the Machine for your next squat workout, widen your stance, and smash some fucking weights!

However, if your a beginner whose lifts are improving and you don't feel like you need a deload week but you're thinking that it might help, then don't take one. Don't.