Deload: Week Off Lifting or Reduce Load/Sets/Reps?

I have been training consistently for about 4 months, 5 days a week. In this time I’ve been trying for more weight or more reps on all lifts, so think it might be time for a deload.

My questions is, should I just have a week off lifting (I’ll probably still go to the gym but just do some light conditioning), or should I still lift but with reduced loads, sets, and reps?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

The other idea I had was just doing a week of low intensity circuits on the machines. (I don’t really use and machines in my current programme.)

Why? Are you stagnating? Are your lifts regressing?

If you just want to, the easiest thing I have done is just cut my volume in half.

Not really stagnating, lifts are still increasing, but I’m feeling a bit tired and have some nagging soreness in places.


Just adjust things back a little. Use a little less weight, stay a couple reps from failure and focus on tightness and smooth bar path. If you’re rolling you don’t want to totally disrupt your routine. Just take a little pressure off some you can refocus.

Playing around on machines is nice when you’re mentally burned out and just temporarily hate the lifts you’re supposed to do.

Save the week off for when you’re really feeling bad and don’t want to go to the gym. Like when you need it. It’s no fun sitting at home when you feel like you could be lifting.

If your feeling nagging tightness/soreness consider making some adjustments to stuff like the grip you use for pulldowns or the angle you hold your dumbbells on incline bench. Or maybe try some stretches or something between sets.


I guess I kind of phrased the question wrong and didn’t give enough detail. I don’t mind having a week off, as my main focus at the moment is fat loss. I’d be happy to have a week of conditioning only, drop carbs right back and lose an extra pound or two.

My question is more: if I did need a deload, would it be accomplished by the above, (I’m not worried about potential short term loss of strength, I don’t think I’m at a level where that would happen!), or do you need to continue performing lifts with reduced load or volume?

Re grip, I think the soreness around elbow is coming from wide girp pull ups and Overhand bent rows, so will make some changes here. I switched to neutral grip pull ups today which felt better.

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I think in posing this question and thinking about what @FlatsFarmer has suggested I’ve kind of realised I probably need a week off as I’m quite keen on the idea of a conditioning only week!

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