Not many people even know its a thing, it's hard to convince those who don't use it to implement it and those that routinely implement this tool freaking love them. What is this tool I hear you ask ........ Deload's or planned reduced volume and intensity. Before you click off this post, you might want to understand why you should be utilising these periods in your training to reach your full potential.
To continually make progress, you must increase the amount lifted week to week, month to month and year to year. To make progress for decades, you would need to make lifting and training your full-time job if you have any chance of putting in the hours and hours of training required by that point to keep progress going. Not to mention by that point you would probably need some less than savoury methods for recovering from all the volume you'd accumulate in a single session let alone an entire training block. So to avoid needing to push your body to astronomical levels of training volume which is not an option for most of us anyway, we can utilise planned deloads for a couple of reasons. 1 - Decrease risk of injury from accumulated wear and tear of hard training. 2- Increase responsiveness to training stress The second reason is probably more important to most people reading this. As you expose your body to the same stimulus, its adaptive response reduces overtime to overcome this; you can increase volume or intensity. As we have discussed this eventually becomes unfeasible let's say for example 2 sets of 5 reps at 85% is enough to simulate adaptation after awhile your body adapts to this stimulus, and no further adaptations are made, so you decided to increase to 4 sets of 5 reps at 85%. Excellent you begin making progress again, this eventually stops working. Are you going to carry on until 20 x 5 ? 40 x 5? how long can you train for? Can you recovery from 40 sets of 5 probably not. This is where deloads come in; it takes a lot less stimulus to maintain size and strength than it does to build it. Dropping training intensity and volume to the point of maintenance for a few weeks allows you to keep your strength and hypertrophy gains while allowing training stimulus to become novel again allows that 2x5 at 85% to promote adaptations again. Now there are many ways to plan deloads and reduced training intensity's. Personally, I like to have my clients train with a 3:1 ratio of loading to deload; this allows them to train hard and push themselves and keep making gains month on month. Our loading wave usually increases in volume or intensity week by week until deload week. A hypertrophy block might look something like this. Week 1 - 75% x 10r x 2s Week 2 - 75% x 10r x 3s Week 3 - 75% x 10r x 4s Week 4 - 50% x 5r x 2s A strength Phase might look more like this Week 1 - Build up to a 3RM - 10% 1s x 3R Week 2 - Try to beat last weeks 3RM by 1/2% - 10% 1s x 3r (if you don't increase weight + 1x back down set. Week 3 - Try to beat last weeks 3RM by 1/2% - 10% 1s x 3r (if you don't increase weight + 1x back down set. Week 4 - 50% of best x 5 x 3 There are lots of ways to implement deloads in your training calendar. This could be planned as we do at D.S, or you could go by feel. You could plan to deload every 4/5/6/12 weeks etc. there is more than one way to skin a cat. I prefer them to be planned. During the scheduled weeks, it's an excellent time to work on things like mobility and flexibility or to step away from the gym and do some ordinary people stuff whatever that is. Seriously one of my quarantine questions to those of you that don't train what the hell do you do all week it can't just be Netflix surely? Seeing as most of us can't train properly at the moment, its a perfect opportunity to begin implementing deloads in your training and keep your self progressing for years to come.