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Deload Week Question


Can I deload every third week and still make progress?

I’ve read most people deload every fourth week. Some wait even longer.

But I’m combining strength training with other stuff. The first two weeks always feels great. Then Week three tends to drag and I look forward to deload in week 4.

So I’m presuming if I feel that way it’s better to deload earlier in my case?

Grateful for views.


There’s no correct answer here.

Many factors influence optimal deload frequency.

Many people program a deload every 4th week. Some people wait till they need it at which point it’s already too late. Some don’t deload.

Personally am currently towards the end of an accumulation/hypertrophy phase. I currently program 5 weeks waving up in volume until a functional overreach in week 5 and deload week 6 for super compensation when I repeat the cycle.

The important thing to remember is that you are in control of your training. You program your deload in. You should not be forced into an unplanned deload.

Can you deload every third week and make progress?
Yes. Sub optimal but unless you’re deloading every week you can progress

Should you have to be deloading every third week?
No, it is sub optimal to be deloading that much as a percentage of your training.

Look at your programming, periodisation and fatigue management. Reassess your program/training and modifiy as required.


What about playing it by ear? Auto regulation? Is it more effective to go easy only when you feel you need to? Or is it too late by then?


Auto regulation and deload are different tools.

I like to think of auto regulation as partially accounting for unpredictable or uncontrollable variables that will affect your training by modifying the volume or intensity in a given microcycle or training day/week.

Auto regulation is not deloading.

Deloading is a fatigue management tool used to control fatigue in the context of a mesocycle (consisting of several microcycles).

Playing by ear is sub optimal. By the time you realise you require a deload you should already be in one.

If you plan ahead and program intelligently this can be accomplished. However this is impossible if you wait for the signs and then deload. By then you would’ve wasted a week or two.

Better to deload too early than too late, stay ahead of fatigue and feel fresh at all times and make maximal progress.


You need to change your definition of “progress.” “Progress” isn’t exclusively lifting a heavier weight than you did last week. Deloads, when used properly, are essential for progress. There’s no hard and fast rule, if every 3-4 weeks works for you, then go for it.

This is typically how I do it, but again, this is what works for me. You can start by doing one on a more regimented basis, and as you continue training, you’ll learn how to keep tweaking and might find you’ll just do a back off week as needed.


Thank you everyone here for your time. Much appreciated



If you need to rest that often, you’re doing too much. You aren’t balancing your workload correctly. If week 3 is a drag, weeks 1 & 2 were probably too much.

You can’t develop much through training if you’re too worn out to train.


If you have to deload that often, you’re almost definitely messing up with your training volume, training intensity, and/or your daily nutrition.

There are a ton of variables involved in programming deloads effectively, and the sad truth is that nowadays many lifters use “deload” as an excuse to puss out and avoid training hard on a regular basis.

What does your training week look like? Lifting days, exercises, sets, reps, and cardio days and duration?

Also, height, weight, general fat level, and snapshot of a day’s diet.

Auto-regulation can work if you’re smart and you understand the difference between a tough training day when you need to push compared to legit symptoms of approaching “too much.”


Ok there are a couple of more really interesting replies here.

This is what my week looks like. I work hard as I can in each session


3 sets of 3 reps (heavy obviously)

Military Press
One arm dumbell rows
Bench press
Machine leg press

Farmers carry as a finisher


30 mins HIIT rowing


Same as Tuesday but 5 sets of 5 reps

30 mins HIIT rowing


No wonder you’re tired out!


@FlatsFarmer too much? How would you change it?

I want bang for buck. Maximum strength and fitness in a minimum amount of sessions.

Too much on at work and I have a young family too. Can’t be going to the gym more often.


Yeah, dude, that’s a pretty crap plan and it’s no wonder you’re burning yourself out so fast. With all the threads you’ve had lately, I’m not sure how you ended up there.

If you’re only lifting twice a week, you don’t cram everything into one session. You hit the big stuff hard and that’s it. Any of the programs that were suggested in this thread last month would be much better.


One of the strongest people I know personally deloads every third week, but he’s also close to 50 and is an elite powerlifter. His coach is a very strong fellow by the name of Brian Carrol. He’s squatted a thousand pounds in competition.

You might be interested in his book, 10/20 Life. It is a powerlifting program first and foremost, but I’d call it pretty minimalist when you look at how much gym time it has. I haven’t run it, but I can tell you it produces results. I lift with some really strong motherfuckers who swear by it.

If I ever get back to consistent lifting (focus is BJJ right now), I might give it a go.

Good luck!


Unless you’re an experienced, well conditioned rower, that’s too much rowing. 30 minutes is like Long, Slow cardio, it’s too long for intervals. Intervals should be shorter duration, but more intense. Short, hard bouts, done in 10-15 minutes tops.

Your lifting is too few reps, done too heavy. It’s like you’re testing your max 3x3 or 5x5 then going heavier, expecting to get stronger immediately. You need to get more lifts in at a lighter weight, to get some work in.


@twojarslave thanks. I’ll look it up


@Chris_Colucci I’ve gone back over the threads and chosen the twice a week program.

I thought it would work to cram more in…

I’ll try the more sensible approach next week.