When to deload?
So when to deload can vary from person to person, depending on their genetic profile, gender, training program, stress, lifestyle, etc. But a good rule of thumb is to have a deload week every 3 to 4 weeks.
Personally for myself I find that 3 weeks works better for me, as I am pretty much always lifting heavy or training complex movements that require just a little more. Also having 2 kids adds up the stress markers!
So the minimum would be 3 weeks and maximum would be 4 weeks. I suggest to start with 3 weeks and see how that works for you; if you keep making progress phase after phase, feeling energized, body feels healthy, sleep well, etc., then it means you are doing the right thing.
What does a deload week means and what changes?
A deload week means a period where you focus on active recovery, so your body and mind can have a little break, re-connect, re-fuel, re-motivate.
Always training in the high percentage of your capability for a few weeks can be very taxing, even if you don't feel like it. Trust me it does. So in this this period you decrease the volume and / or intensity.
Again this can vary from person to person, from athlete to athlete, some people might need to decrease the percentage of their intensity or volume a little bit more, this can also depend on what program you were on, at what percentage you were lifting, how you personally feel, etc.
Some people will feel like newbies in the gym after deload week, when they drop their percentage too much, again, find out what works best for you.
A good rule of thumb I like to use personally and what's working best for my clients is to decrease the volume by 50-70% and intensity by 50-80%.
So when you are performing Weighted Pull-ups for 6 sets of 5 with 50kg in the week prior to this you perform it now for only 3-4 sets with 25KG to 40KG and you do this with all of the exercises of the week.
How can i optimise deload week?
So some people in deload week will do some curls for the girls, play hours of video games, go-out and party, drink, mess up their sleep, etc. This is absolutely something you want to avoid; deload week is not BORING!
Deload week is a great time to reset your mind-muscle connection, work on perfecting your technique, decrease stimulant intake, increasing time for recovery methods, such as deep breathing, meditation, walks in the nature, sunshine, etc.
But what I really want to point out to you is ‘working on technique' and finding your ‘mind-muscle connection'. Many people lose it because of the heavy movements and lifts.
Take this time to really focus on perfecting your technique, the weight has decreased, so work on technique perfection, the movements or activations that did not feel well in your training weeks, this is the time to find it back.
You lost the mind-muscle connection? Well great, this is the time to focus on that and get things firing up again, deload week is actually where you make the gains, you recover, you re-motivate, you perfect, you re-connect.
So treat it just like a phase before competition, do everything in your hands to optimise it and you will benefit from many new gains and a better start for your next phase.
Hope you guys enjoyed this article, more coming!