Deload Weeks; Do You Need Them?

Deloading Weeks

A deload week for those who do not know is where you decrease you’re your workload or even take a week off from lifting.  Most of us gym heads don’t like the idea of taking a week off, so decreasing the workload for the deload week is ideal. 

By decreasing your workload you are allowing your muscles a chance to recovery, and the idea behind this week is when you go full go again you should be coming back stronger.   Deload weeks should be done every four to six weeks.  I had started by doing them the 1st week of every month.  But I’ve noticed better results by going every other month, so closer to every eight weeks.  But everybody is different so try out different patterns and see what works best for you.

When constructing a deload week there are three things you need to look into.

Amount of Weight you Want to Use

To have a productive deload week, it is suggested to to 40-60% of the weight you would normally use.  Remember you are actively resting your muscles so I go for a 40% (or close to it) reduction of weight. 

The Reps and Sets You Want to Do

There are two theories on what to when it comes to reps and sets.  The first theory is do your normal reps and sets but at 60% reduction of weight.  The next is to do the same amount of sets you normally do but at a constant rep set.  For example by normal rep set is 20,10,10,5, 15 – with different weights being used for each rep set change.  I could continue to do that or just do 5 sets of 12-15 reps. 

The Exercises

Another variation you can include in your deload week is changing up some of the exercises you do.  By doing this you are hitting your muscles and new angles and giving your normal used muscled activation points a rest.  While yes you are still hitting the same muscles but how you are hitting those muscles are different, so when you go back to your normal routine, they should be a little more rested. 

I break out on my deload a few new movements, but very few, and I still hit them at 60% reduction of weight, but these are exercises I’m going to introduce into my routine or once were part of my routine.  I’m not sure it does much to “resting” the muscle if you do them full weight, but on some of the sites they’ve recommend doing new exercises on your deload weight at full weight. But their recommendation was just doing new exercises for the whole week. 

Give some of these a try and let me know what you think.  If you have some other suggestions on deloading, please share with us.

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