Why & How You Should De-Load

Let's face it, building muscle and getting stronger is not easy.

It takes consistent hard work and repeatedly pushing yourself in the gym each week.

Usually, the greater the input, the greater the output.

However, there is one aspect that is sometimes overlooked that can enable you to gain more size and strength more effectively.

The best part about it?

It takes less effort.

Let me introduce to you the de-load.

What is a de-load?

 A de-load is where you “take a reduction in training volume and intensity for the purpose of recovery, injury prevention and improved performance.”

In layman’s terms, de-loads are small periods (usually 1 week) where training intensity is reduced to give the body an “active rest”.

Conventional thinking has it that we should be hammering our bodies 24/7 and giving 110% all the time to get the best results. Whilst training hard and intensely is important most of the time, too much intensity can lead to injuries, inadequate time to recover and therefore a decrease in our training performance.

A de-load is the idea of taking one step back but two step forwards. After a de-loading period, the body is more likely to be recovered and thus ready to get back to training at 100% which means greater results in the long term.

How should you De-load?

For instance, if you’re hitting a 4 day splitopt for a 2 day split (upper, lower) for that week. This will mean all the muscle groups will be worked and targeted but it won’t be a burden on your time.

In regards to volume, if you’re reducing your frequency of training (like in this case doing 2 days instead of 4), keep the volume the same. So if you usually do 4 sets of 100kg on back squat then keep this the same or even increase it if you feel like it.

If you’re de-loading by sticking to training 4 days per week or (or whatever your usual training frequency is) then reduce volume. 

If frequency is staying the same, I’d recommend working within 40-60% of your 1RM if weight training. If you’re working to an RPE scale (Rate of Perceived Exertion), opt for an RPE of 6/7  which would mean light weight with a moderate force. In layman's terms, just chill out and take it easy with your training!

Taking a de-load for a week or two can actually improve performance and cause you to come back stronger and more refreshed when you go back to your normal program.

When should you de-load?

It's recommended that you de-load every 6 weeks if you are an intermediate/advanced lifter (lifting weights 3+ years) and every 9-12 weeks if you’re a beginner (lifting less than 3 years).

The reason for this is that the longer you’ve been training, the more frequent you may need to de-load.

De-loading is one of the training aspects I help clients with on my VIP Coaching Program.

Hit the link below to book a FREE consultation call with me and we can discuss how we can potentially work together.


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