After 12 weeks of progressive heavy lifting - it’s time (probably a bit beyond) for a well needed de-load week.
Its a tough one to get your head round, taking a week to dial it back - particularly when you have been ramping it up for a sustained period. Mentally, i’m good to go, physically I’m feeling a little broken - increasing the time I need to recover.
This outlines that the long term benefits of a de-load week far outweigh the week of ‘taking it easier’. A week every now and then will not re-set the hard work you have put in, but can be a great opportunity to enhance it! If you consider that when you follow a progressive plan, you are trying to accomplish feats of strength that you have never done before - think of the de-load as an opportunity to catch up to that 'over reaching'.
A lot of the principles lie around your body adapting to the hard work you have been putting in.
- When your focus is on being stronger session by session, your potential to pick up injuries increases. A de-load gives time for the body to recover and adapt to the stresses you have accumulated.
- After a de-load you can approach a new round of progressive training with renewed energy, focus and strength.
- Its a chance to assess what did and didn’t work in the previous round of training, outline the strengths and weaknesses and apply those findings to the next round.
- Its different! Giving you a nice psychological refresh!
De load weeks can range in frequency but are typically applied every 6-12 weeks. They are best suited to those that train muscle groups frequently, progressively and hard! Listen to your body and if you feel like it needs a refresh - program it in!
I have done various styles of training during a de-load and benefit the most from the following guidelines.
- Half the frequency/volume that I train (6 x per week becomes 3.)
- Train full body on each workout.
- Maintain intensity and load on exercises (I’m still hitting failure, though not as frequently.)
- Spend more time on mobility and stretching.
- Have at least 2 days off to finish the week.
You know you have had a good de-load when you approach the next round of training feeling like your body will be able to keep up and exceed your mindset!