If you have ever been through a course of physical therapy with us at Made 2 Move, you probably know how much we value strength and conditioning. With our new Made 2 Move Strength Club, questions arise about programming tactics, movements, and the reason for a “deload.” What is a deload? A deload is a planned recovery period (usually a week) in a training program. Hold on- did we just say A WHOLE WEEK?!
When told the importance of recovery and rest days, many workout enthusiasts retort, “I can’t even take a rest day much less a week; I would lose my mind!” Working out becomes so routine that people often fail to recognize the break their body is craving and the drastic difference it could make in day to day training and long term gains.
Drew, strength coach and owner of Home Gym Life, writes, “In reality, good training is a matter of manipulating stress and recovery in order to maximize training effects and bring us closer to our genetic potential. If it’s all gas, all the time you are setting yourself up to sickness, injury or burn out. None of these things are conducive to long-term gains.”
The good news for workout enthusiasts is that a deload can be, but does not have to mean, a week of time completely out of the gym. A deload can be: training differently for a week (doing yoga and walking if you’re a weightlifter), scaling back in intensity and/or volume (say, doing 30-50% fewer sets, reps, or weight), OR it could be taking a week completely and totally off from the gym. Any of these deload methods will be beneficial in allowing your body and mind time to recharge, build strength, and prepare for the next training cycle.
There are 2 main reasons for a deload:
Exercise of high intensity and volume for weeks and months on end can place a tremendous amount of stress on the body. Building intentional deload weeks into your training cycles aids in reducing overuse injuries, burnout, CNS (central nervous system) fatigue, and overall muscle fatigue.