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Thoughts On Deloads

Do you use them? How do you set them up?

@the_mighty_stu @robstein curious if you use them with regular folks looking to build muscle and or lose fat.

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@maverick88 thanks for the tag. Personally, I don’t structure a deloading week every “x” interval of time, I just go by feel. If I’m run down, tired, not feeling strong as usual on a certain day for some reason, I’ll use that as an opportunity to back off a bit and just focus on a good MMC, and I recommend the same to anyone I’m training. Real life has a way of incorporating natural opportunities.

The only time I’ll plan on doing less weight, is if I’m in a period where I’m doing 5x5 for a certain exercise, or generally lower reps, after 4-5 weeks back off for a week, and do 3x 10 or 12 instead.

Regarding implementing a purposeful back-off week with the people I work with, I find there’s rarely a need for most people to need one, especially if someone has never trained in an efficient manner before. There is a large period of beginner gains, strength keeps improving and they can usually do that for a long time. During a contest prep, the goal is to keep lifting hard and heavy to keep your muscle from going anywhere. But, in the last few weeks before the show, when you’re completely wrecked and basic functions are challenging, backing off a bit can be helpful if needed.

These are my thoughts from my training style, a more strength-training focused person may have a completely different answer.


I don’t know if you’ve ever ran 5/3/1, or looked much at it, but what do you think of the deload week in that program? I know you may not agree with the structure of it, but actually looking at the numbers, the volume does not go down during the deload week, but the intensity is basically cut in half. I’ve heard some say the volume should go down and the intensity should only be lowered slightly. Any thoughts on that?

Wendler has changed the deload approach

Oh he has? Is that anywhere online or just in his books?


When my warmups start to feel like main sets for my workouts during the week, thats when I know I need to take it easy for a week.

I don’t think a Deload has to be some kind of vacation.

Pretend that instead of pushing one lift up for 4-5 weeks, then backing the weight down, you did that with all the lifts.

So week 1 focuses on MMC, with lighter weights. Then all lifts ramp in weight/intensity/RPE for 3-4 weeks. Followed by a step back, a lighter week focusing on MMC, then starting the process over, building to a more intense final week.

The “deload” wouldn’t be a throw away week, it would just be your lightest week. So if you “deloaded” every 4th week, the twelfth week of your program would be a down, deload week. It would be lighter or easier than week 11, but still heavier or more intense than your original weeks 1 and 2.

Re: setting up the reloads; I’ve seen Louie and Thibs say that they like to switch up exercises during the deload week. Wear out some lifts for awhile, then switch to new lifts. The first week you kinda suck and can’t do too many reps or too heavy a weight. Its like an automatic adjustment without having to hold yourself back. Mentally, it doesn’t feel like a step down.

Re: the need for reloads; you always hear that you grow when you’re resting. I’ve heard 2 smart guys say if you train hard for three weeks and back down the 4th, the back down week is when your body builds the muscle. Is this like an obvious no-brainer, or a silly over simplification of a complex system? Like rib cage expansion or “bro-science” ?