T Nation

Thoughts on the Deload Week?

Hey guys
I just wondered, what exactly does the deload week do? Typically, I would skip it altogether. I am currently on the 5-3-1 program and I just hit around a 10lb pr on my bench, and 20lbs on my deadlift, and it was the third week, so I am definitely going to back off before starting again. Usually during the deload week I try not to come to the gym and instead workout outside at a local playground or learn some new tricks with the kettlebell or jump rope. Either way, I have found that the best way to recover from a cycle is simply not go in the gym at all.
Your thoughs

It’s just another recovery tool.

I’m not sure how old you are but, I found that since I hit 30 (currently 33), taking a regular scheduled week off every 4-5 weeks is essential. I definitely don’t recover the way that I used to when I was in my teens and twenties. I’m currently lifting 3-4 days per week and boxing 2-3. I know when it’s time to deload when I wake up in the morning and all my joints are stiff and sore until about 11 a.m.

Besides the physical signs, I find that I need a mental break from lifting as well every month or so. During such a week, I find it restorative to throw in a couple more runs then I normally do during a lifting week (3-4 miles). I find the different type of training keeps me fresh as I can get into a rut mentally and physically.

I do a deload every 6 weeks or so, but I still go to the gym, and do my regular warmup on the primary lifts. I stop at about 50% 1RM or so, but feel that doing the warmup acts as a form of greasing the groove.

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:
I do a deload every 6 weeks or so, but I still go to the gym, and do my regular warmup on the primary lifts. I stop at about 50% 1RM or so, but feel that doing the warmup acts as a form of greasing the groove. [/quote]

This is usually what I do. Personally I’ll take a PLANNED deload every 8-12 weeks, but I basically go to the gym, do my scheduled warm-up, maybe some light explosive snatches or jumps or something, and take off. I also increase my calories during deload weeks.

I have had awesome experiences with deload weeks. I always seems to put on weight, size, and strength in just a matter of days. Great success!!

I deload every 8 weeks, and usually on that week I just do some bodyweight work and band stuff. I time it so that my 7th week of training is my most intense, as it’s the one where I set PRs in 4 lifts, whereas I spend the rest of the training cycle building up to that point, and after that I need time off before I start the whole thing over again. Knowing I have that week off allows me to push myself without fear of overdoing it, essentially not worrying about having enough energy to “swim back” (reference to Gattaca).

Never.

I have a hard time believing anyone really NEEDs a deload week from something as easy as 531, given you don’t have a very unusual lifestyle.

I never deload, but every time I see one of these threads I’m filled with doubt that there is some kind of ethereal, magical force that makes you stronger if you take a week off from lifting every month or couple of months that I’m not taking advantage of.

[quote]csulli wrote:
I never deload, but every time I see one of these threads I’m filled with doubt that there is some kind of ethereal, magical force that makes you stronger if you take a week off from lifting every month or couple of months that I’m not taking advantage of.[/quote]

I laughed when I read this, it sounded pretty stupid. If you’re not training hard enough to need a recovery week every once in a while, that’s your problem.

[quote]howie424 wrote:

[quote]csulli wrote:
I never deload, but every time I see one of these threads I’m filled with doubt that there is some kind of ethereal, magical force that makes you stronger if you take a week off from lifting every month or couple of months that I’m not taking advantage of.[/quote]

I laughed when I read this, it sounded pretty stupid. If you’re not training hard enough to need a recovery week every once in a while, that’s your problem.
[/quote]

Chris trains hard and with what most would consider an ungodly amount of volume. He’s an exception I’d say.

I take the following deload recommendation:

10 - 50%
8 - 60 %
6 - 70%

I do those as my worksets and don’t use a belt. The last set is still a bit challenging.

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
Never.

I have a hard time believing anyone really NEEDs a deload week from something as easy as 531, given you don’t have a very unusual lifestyle.[/quote]

You think Wendler’s recommendation is wrong?

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]howie424 wrote:

[quote]csulli wrote:
I never deload, but every time I see one of these threads I’m filled with doubt that there is some kind of ethereal, magical force that makes you stronger if you take a week off from lifting every month or couple of months that I’m not taking advantage of.[/quote]

I laughed when I read this, it sounded pretty stupid. If you’re not training hard enough to need a recovery week every once in a while, that’s your problem.
[/quote]

Chris trains hard and with what most would consider an ungodly amount of volume. He’s an exception I’d say.[/quote]

I checked out his log, quite impressive.

I still disagree with his post, especially if he is an exception, when I feel that MOST people are going to need SOME FORM of a deload to recover.

[quote]howie424 wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]howie424 wrote:

[quote]csulli wrote:
I never deload, but every time I see one of these threads I’m filled with doubt that there is some kind of ethereal, magical force that makes you stronger if you take a week off from lifting every month or couple of months that I’m not taking advantage of.[/quote]

I laughed when I read this, it sounded pretty stupid. If you’re not training hard enough to need a recovery week every once in a while, that’s your problem.
[/quote]

Chris trains hard and with what most would consider an ungodly amount of volume. He’s an exception I’d say.[/quote]

I checked out his log, quite impressive.

I still disagree with his post, especially if he is an exception, when I feel that MOST people are going to need a deload to recover.
[/quote]

Ya, I disagree with his post as well. I just wanted to point out he isn’t a slouch in the gym.

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]howie424 wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]howie424 wrote:

[quote]csulli wrote:
I never deload, but every time I see one of these threads I’m filled with doubt that there is some kind of ethereal, magical force that makes you stronger if you take a week off from lifting every month or couple of months that I’m not taking advantage of.[/quote]

I laughed when I read this, it sounded pretty stupid. If you’re not training hard enough to need a recovery week every once in a while, that’s your problem.
[/quote]

Chris trains hard and with what most would consider an ungodly amount of volume. He’s an exception I’d say.[/quote]

I checked out his log, quite impressive.

I still disagree with his post, especially if he is an exception, when I feel that MOST people are going to need a deload to recover.
[/quote]

Ya, I disagree with his post as well. I just wanted to point out he isn’t a slouch in the gym. [/quote]

Thanks for that, my apologies towards him for implying that. He has quite the collection of logs.

Well I know it sounded like I was joking in that post lol, but in actuality, I seriously do wonder if I should be taking some kind of deload even if I don’t necessarily feel like I “must”. Like is there such a thing as “overtraining” without realizing that you’re “overtraining”. I wonder about some kind of less is more scenario that I might be overlooking.

[quote]csulli wrote:
Well I know it sounded like I was joking in that post lol, but in actuality, I seriously do wonder if I should be taking some kind of deload even if I don’t necessarily feel like I “must”. Like is there such a thing as “overtraining” without realizing that you’re “overtraining”. I wonder about some kind of less is more scenario that I might be overlooking.[/quote]

I would give a deload a try and see what comes of it. I like to do either light pump work or something explosive for 3-5 days. Something easy on the body, and easy on the mind as well.

I always seem to hit PR’s after a deload week. After looking at the impressive numbers in your log, I wonder if a week off wouldn’t make some of those numbers even higher. Nothing magical about it, just simple recovery, ya know.

Also, speaking of overtraining - I would say, depending on your training methods of course, that muscular overtraining would be hard to hit. But CNS overtraining I do believe in, and a few days off filled with food and maybe some ZMA or something always leave me feeling refreshed.

EDIT: Also please take everything I say with a grain of salt. These are just my experiences.

[quote]csulli wrote:
Well I know it sounded like I was joking in that post lol, but in actuality, I seriously do wonder if I should be taking some kind of deload even if I don’t necessarily feel like I “must”. Like is there such a thing as “overtraining” without realizing that you’re “overtraining”. I wonder about some kind of less is more scenario that I might be overlooking.[/quote]

I didn’t start deloading until I looked over my training logs and noticed that, whenever I deloaded regularly, I would continually make strength gains with no stalls, whereas whenever I would not deload, I would keep reaching the same strength levels and plateauing over and over again.

I can’t say why it works for me, simply that it does. If you’re making progress without deloading, I’d see no reason to use it.

I just deload when I feel beat up or when life forces me to. This has happened several in my brief lifting career of 10 months with a barbell. I usually take four or five days off before I feel totally fresh again. Once was a full week and I didn’t feel any more rested with that vs five days, but that’s just me.

The sample size is limited, but I’ve come back stronger every time. I ended my last deload week with an impromptu workout where I set a PR on a heavy deadlift triple (455x3) that I did not plan on doing immediately after a squat workout. I normally don’t even squat and deadlift in the same workout and I haven’t been able to match that feat since.

All of the more experienced lifters I have consulted with on this topic tell me the same thing.

“Listen to your body”.

So far, so good for this 34 year-old lifter. Summer should present me with another deload period very soon.

Best of luck to you!

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
Never.

I have a hard time believing anyone really NEEDs a deload week from something as easy as 531, given you don’t have a very unusual lifestyle.[/quote]

You think Wendler’s recommendation is wrong?[/quote]

Apparently. I don’t hold him in high regard anyway.