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Deload Weeks

You’ve been going to the gym for about two months now, and are continuously making good progress week in and week out. Each week that you come in you get more and more motivated to keep pushing yourself harder and harder. Then when you feel like you are at your strongest, fastest, most explosive, and powerful, the weights or exercises that you were doing easily start moving slower, and feel a lot heavier. Unfortunately, this will happen to everyone, what happens is that over the months that you are lifting you are creating fatigue and wearing down your Central Nervous System. While your CNS helps with adapting to heavier and heavier weights and more and more volume, it will wear down to a point were it cannot keep up anymore. Like your muscles, your CNS needs to rest.

When your CNS starts to wear down, you need to take a deload session. Now to put this out first, a common misconception on deloading is that you completely stop all lifting or physical activity in general. This is not the case. Generally for a deload one of the best things that you can do is some active recovery, things like playing a pick up game of basketball while not getting too serious, doing a 5×3 at 50% or less of your max on any particular lift and not going above it, or even doing some light cardio.

If you want to get the most out of your progression in the gym or in sports, you need to implement deloads regularly. Typically at the end of a 4, 8, or 12 week lifting cycle would be the best time to do it as well. The length of deload days should equal out to some sort of fraction of the lifting cycle that you were in, being said a 4 week cycle should have a couple day deload, a 8 week cycles should be about a week to 10 days, and a 12 week cycle should be around 10 to 12 days for you to fully recover from those cycles.