I'm hoping to get some responses from some more advanced lifters here. What are your opinions on deloads? How often do you use them and by how much do you cut volume or intensity? How important is volume during a training phase where strength is a much higher priority than hypertrophy?
I'm asking because I think my training has been somewhat suboptimal for the last while. For almost a year (with a 6 week Bulgarian experiment in the middle) I have been using an RTS-style template, 4 days full-body, and following Mike Tuchscherer's training ideas. One thing he was always saying is that deloads are unnecessary, he even had an article titled "You are NOT overtrained". However, it appears that he overtrained himself and had to make some major adjustments leading up to the IPF worlds this year, he also now programs deloads (although still moderate stress) for the lifters he is coaching.
I have been reading the new book from JTSstrength, they recommend deloading every 4th week. I'm not sure if that's necessary, although it would allow you to really push yourself for 3 weeks and then back off. I think that I have been doing more volume than necessary and training in a fatigued state, my work capacity has improved a lot but my squat and deadlift haven't had any major gains in the last year (around 50 lbs. each). From what I see in the book from JTS is that maybe I would be better to do more work at a higher intensity and less total volume. My average intensity is probably around 70-75% (not counting warm-ups) while the recommendations in the book are to do most of your work in the range of 75-90% during a strength phase. I was actually making better gains on sq/dl with 5/3/1 but my bench was stuck, now it's up but the other two are lagging behind.