T Nation

How Do You Deload?

I used to deload EVERY 3-4 weeks, and it would be 5-7 days, of either no training or reduced volume and reduced intensity.

Since I started using westside type routines I almost never deload anymore. Fatigue regulation is sorta built into westside if you dont overdo it during your loading phase, so that you may not even need to deload. If anything, i’ll drop bb bench for a week if my shoulders need a brake, or cut back on the assistance work.

Elitefts has an article on this very topic. I think a search for deload should bring it up. But they talk about other options, like dropping ME, DE or RE for a week.

Listen to your body. If your lifts are subpar, reduce the volume 50% or take a week off. I like to keep the intensity high, even if it means only 1-2 sets.

My decision to deload usually isn’t based on a certain time interval but rather my body’s input. If I feel fatigued, I won’t hesitate to take a week where I drop the intensity down to about 60% and cut the volume approximately in half. If I feel particularly exhausted or overstressed, I might take an entire week of doing nothing.

I trained with a college powerlifting team who trained with a Westside template and methods, and the only deloads we took were following intensitifaction phases. Everyone would take a week off before a meet, and usually at least a week off after a meet. I definitely think that it wasn’t the most effective deload strategy, but it was what we did.

I see two common mistakes with deloading. I’m guilty of them as well, but trying to do better:

  1. Not training at all. I think this is a mistake, because the body can begin to detrain and get weaker after only two or three days without stimulus.

  2. Waiting until your lifts stagnate or you get sick before deloading. If you do this, you’ve probably wasted a few training sessions prior to your deload not making progress. The trick is to plan it so that you deload just before you stagnate.

When I deload, I cut the volume down to about 40%, and drop the intensity to where I’m able to do sets in the 8-12 rep range. I also try out any fun new movements I’ve been wanting to experiment with.

see this bumped, I’ll give my update: on second deload, doing the every fourth week thing. Basically cutting out anything under 8 reps, and if doing DE work no added bands/chains. Hit PRs or close to PRs the following three weeks, but then felt banged up at the end, so guess what? time to deload again.

I just lift 2 light total body days that week doing lifts i never do. Try a bunch of different shit.

Work out lighter/less intensely and have lots of sex. Best deload protocol I’ve ever done.

I look at it from a taper perspective. There’s a fair amount of research on how to properly taper before a competition, and most of it indicates that for strength athletes the best way to taper is to maintain intensity and drop volume. So, personally, I suggest that for a deload week, you keep your intensity high and cut the volume to no more than 50%. You could do that by just hitting your big lift and calling it a day or keeping everything and just cutting your sets/reps in half.

I don’t train Westside(although I do use some of there methods) but I do deload every once in awahile

My deload weeks are most of the time just simply training with less gear or no gear at all. You have to go lighter and I’ll do more reps. Also I always switch my exercises up to avoid burn out.

Using 5/3/1 I do the recommended % of the big lifts to start. Feels very light so I work on speed and good form. On non-deload I do most assistance work with increasing weight each set for examples 3 sets of dumbells using 60/65/70. For the deload I would just use 60 for all 3 sets. I leave the gym feeling like I got an “OK” workout, no soreness the next day.

A week of nothing never seemed to work for me either. Getting back to the gym I always felt like I had to makeup lost time and the first week or 2 was just getting back to where I left off, kind of counter productive.

[quote]skizac wrote:
I see two common mistakes with deloading. I’m guilty of them as well, but trying to do better:

  1. Not training at all. I think this is a mistake, because the body can begin to detrain and get weaker after only two or three days without stimulus.

  2. Waiting until your lifts stagnate or you get sick before deloading. If you do this, you’ve probably wasted a few training sessions prior to your deload not making progress. The trick is to plan it so that you deload just before you stagnate.

When I deload, I cut the volume down to about 40%, and drop the intensity to where I’m able to do sets in the 8-12 rep range. I also try out any fun new movements I’ve been wanting to experiment with.[/quote]

This is the best advise here I think. I did both of these last time and it sucked… I went hard until I stagnated, which meant my week before the deload was weak. Then I took a week off. When I came back to it, I definitely had to pay the price… Hopefully never again.

I do a little G.P.P. (go for a hike or scout for an up coming hunt) and volleyball.

I find something besides lifting that can keep my mind off that I can do for the 10-15 hours a week that I usually put into lifting, either fishing, camping, or just go to an amusement park. Go to the next town and crash some parties. Otherwise, I just do not do shit a whole week. If I ain’t gonna lift heavy, or try to do something to lift heavy I’ll just sit on my ass and fall asleep. I have no problem being lazy.

[quote]PeteS wrote:
Thanks BlackLabel and creep. Can’t do the week of nothing, I have tried and a) pscyhologically it fucks me up and b) I feel worse. Not for the biannual week off, but for a regular deload a whole week off it too much. More input? rep work? Nothing on shoulders no weight from the floor? [/quote]

Dude, everyone loves the psychological boost from lifting, and no one likes the idea of sitting around, but this isn’t about your silly emotions!

It’s about your muscles and your central nervous system. Let your body heal and rest and recover.

[quote]skizac wrote:
I see two common mistakes with deloading. I’m guilty of them as well, but trying to do better:

  1. Not training at all. I think this is a mistake, because the body can begin to detrain and get weaker after only two or three days without stimulus.

  2. Waiting until your lifts stagnate or you get sick before deloading. If you do this, you’ve probably wasted a few training sessions prior to your deload not making progress. The trick is to plan it so that you deload just before you stagnate.

When I deload, I cut the volume down to about 40%, and drop the intensity to where I’m able to do sets in the 8-12 rep range. I also try out any fun new movements I’ve been wanting to experiment with.[/quote]

I disagree with the statement you can lose strength in two or three days. Even guys from EliteFitnessSystems team, Mike Szudarek, assured me the strength you’ve gained two weeks out from a comp is the strength you ahve. Not allowing your body to heal is what will keep you from doing your best at a meet.

Not doing ANYTHING, yeah, that’s not good, you’ll become stiff, etc. but I’ve had the best lifts in the gym and at two different meets (I know, I’m a newbie), when I held off on the weights. For my first meet, I didn’t deadlift at all for three weeks before the week, and only became stronger because my body was beat and needed to heal.

In the end, to their own, but the philosophy of deloading exists for a reason.

[quote]FiveFootTwo wrote:
PeteS wrote:
Thanks BlackLabel and creep. Can’t do the week of nothing, I have tried and a) pscyhologically it fucks me up and b) I feel worse. Not for the biannual week off, but for a regular deload a whole week off it too much. More input? rep work? Nothing on shoulders no weight from the floor?

Dude, everyone loves the psychological boost from lifting, and no one likes the idea of sitting around, but this isn’t about your silly emotions!

It’s about your muscles and your central nervous system. Let your body heal and rest and recover. [/quote]

Hah, since I posted this I have gotten over myself. Deloads are now regular and scheduled. I will note I did manage to make it through 25 years of training with almost no scheduled deloads:) and made progress through most of that.

[quote]PeteS wrote:
I will note I did manage to make it through 25 years of training with almost no scheduled deloads:) and made progress through most of that.
[/quote]

Hell yeah you made progress. You look like a damn gorilla! :slight_smile:

That pick was taken just before I got sprayed down with Nair for Men.

When I deload, I do nothing! This has worked for me because I am refreshed and ready to go hard again and even hit some PR’s when I return.

When I get to a point where I feel like I must deload I am at a point where I do not want to see any paaaaarts of the gym. I wanna stab the gym with a rusty screwdriver and bang the gym with a spike F’n bat! Like Blaaaouh! (Wu Tang Clan)

However, I may do some light SS cardio!