In many ways, building the body of your dreams is just like building anything else worthwhile.
The more you put into it, the more you get out of it . . . to a point.
You’ll have to train hard to get the body you want, but you can’t only rely on your afterburners.
Punish your body with intense workouts week in, week out, without taking breaks or deloads, and your journey will be marred by . . .
- Regular plateaus
- Overuse injuries
- Lack of motivation
- Lackluster workouts
This is why top level athletes of all stripes—from hockey players to cyclists to powerlifters—include planned periods of rest and recovery in their training.
In fact, the highest level athletes place tremendous importance on this because the consequences of overlooking it are so severe (chronic underperformance, career-ending injuries, and so on).
When it comes to gaining muscle and strength, one of the best recovery tools at your disposal is the deload.
If you’re reading this, you’ve likely heard of deloads before, but you probably aren’t sure why they’re done, how to do them correctly, or how often to do them.
Poke around online for answers, and you’ll find many conflicting opinions:
- Some people say deloads are a waste of time, others say you should just take a week off.
- Some people say you should deload by reducing your weekly sets and how much you lift, others say you should only reduce your number of weekly sets.
- Some people say you should deload whenever you feel like it, and others say you should plan them in advance.
The short answer is that if you’re following a well-designed workout routine, deloads are an effective way to prevent injuries, plateaus, and burnout.
That said, they need to be planned and executed correctly or they either fail to adequately boost recovery or simply waste time that could be spent doing just about anything else.
So, by the end of this podcast, you’ll learn . . .
- What a deload is
- Why some people don’t benefit from deloads
- How often you should deload
- When you should deload versus just take time off
- How to do a proper deload
- And more!
Let’s get to it.
5:40 – What is a deload?
9:55 – Why do people deload?
12:39 – Why should I deload regularly?
15:13 – Why do a lot of people not benefit from deloading?
22:55 – How often should you deload?
28:38 – How do you deload properly?
36:46 – Will you lose muscle or strength in a deload?
38:38 – Should I take a week off instead of a deload?
39:39 – Can you do cardio on a deload?
40:23 – How should you eat during a deload?
Mentioned on the show:
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What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
+ Scientific References
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- Morán-Navarro R, Pérez CE, Mora-Rodríguez R, et al. Time course of recovery following resistance training leading or not to failure. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2017;117(12):2387-2399. doi:10.1007/s00421-017-3725-7
- Pritchard HJ, Tod DA, Barnes MJ, Keogh JW, Mcguigan MR. Tapering practices of New Zealand’s elite raw powerlifters. J Strength Cond Res. 2016;30(7):1796-1804. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000001292
- Mann JB, Thyfault JP, Ivey PA, Sayers SP. The effect of autoregulatory progressive resistance exercise vs. linear periodization on strength improvement in college athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(7):1718-1723. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181def4a6
- Cook JL, Rio E, Purdam CR, Docking SI. Revisiting the continuum model of tendon pathology: What is its merit in clinical practice and research? Br J Sports Med. 2016;50(19):1187-1191. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2015-095422
- Khan KM, Cook JL, Taunton JE, Bonar F. Overuse tendinosis, not tendinitis. Part 1: A new paradigm for a difficult clinical problem. Phys Sportsmed. 2000;28(5):38-48. doi:10.3810/psm.2000.05.890
- Khan KM, Cook JL, Bonar F, Harcourt P, Åstrom M. Histopathology of common tendinopathies: Update and implications for clinical management. Sport Med. 1999;27(6):393-408. doi:10.2165/00007256-199927060-00004
- Latella C, Hendy AM, Pearce AJ, VanderWesthuizen D, Teo WP. The time-course of acute changes in corticospinal excitability, intra-cortical inhibition and facilitation following a single-session heavy strength training of the biceps brachii. Front Hum Neurosci. 2016;10(DEC2016). doi:10.3389/fnhum.2016.00607