Deload weeks can be a touchy subject for some clients and athletes. As a coach, I may want an athlete to pull back a little, in order to prevent the build up of fatigue. I don’t care who you are, you will become fatigued. However, deload weeks can be amazing tools if used and approached properly. I want to change the way you look at a deload week, so here goes.


What’s the Point?

As mentioned, fatigue can and will build up. Going into the gym day after day, week after week and attacking your goals is not a bad thing. In contrast into everyday and smashing yourself up is. You are continually shifting grater resistances and pushing your body. There WILL be a breaking point. A deload week will not cause you to “lose your gains”, it simply isn’t long enough.

Stressors and external factors of your gym time will also contribute fatigue. It’s not just a simple case of this is my gym time & this is the rest of my life, there is crossover.

The point of the deload week is the pull back on the loadings and stress placed on the body. I’m not saying you can’t work out. Simply reduce the wear and tear and give yourself a chance to recover.


View a Deload Week as an Intro Week

Commonly we see these reduced weeks being used in-between different cycles of training. For example, you may have completed 6 weeks of hypertrophy work. Lifting 4 sets of 12 reps with huge amounts of time under tension. From here you may be moving more to a strength based cycle, with the focus on low reps and heavy weights.

Take a week to prepare for your strength cycle. Don’t view it as a week off, losing all your hard work. Look at it as the first step in the process of developing your next cycle. Staying with the example of moving to strength from hypertrophy.

Reduce your volume. A typical go to number is 30%, reduce your total volume of work by around 30%. This may look like 3 sets of 8. In contrast, you can increase the intensity in order to maintain the feeling of working hard, without demolishing yourself.


Final Note

When I got for my personal training Clients in Richmond, London I want to make sure they feel comfortable and understand the reasoning for a deload week. It is easy to think “I can keep going I feel good”, but look at the bigger picture. It’s a long game we are playing, trust the process and allow yourself that time to recover. I promise you, the first day back after your deload week, you’ll see why it’s worth it!!