3 Biggest Skinny Guy Mistakes You're Making. Click Here to Avoid Them!
De-load: A planned reduction in volume and/or intensity, usually for one cycle (or microcycle) of your training split, whose purpose is to allow the body to dissipate accumulated fatigue, allow a full recovery, and prepare you for progress.
The benefits of de-loading
• The repairing of ligaments, tendons, and joints.
• Recovery of the CNS (Central Nervous System).
• Reduces the risk of overtraining.
• Mental Break
• To prepare for greater progress.
Failing to de-load
If you are anything like me, you absolutely love pushing your body in the gym, all the time. Unfortunately, there will come a time where progress will either come to a complete stop and we can no longer add weight to the bar for progressive overload or our performance regresses. These are both good signs that we are overreaching and/or close to overtraining. If we push our body to the point where it is over-trained, the de-load/recovery phase could take much longer.
Other Signs of Under-Recovery (Needing to de-load)
• Lifts are not increasing (and potentially decreasing)
• Feeling tired and unmotivated to train
• Achy joints and tendons
• High frequency training for a long period of time without a de-load
When to de-load
A de-load should take place before any of these symptoms show up. In fact, my advice is that you include a regularly scheduled de-load into your training. On the other hand, if these signs come up before your scheduled de-load, start your recovery phase immediately.
How should I de-load?
• Same workout routine (sets & reps) but decrease workload by 50-60%.
• Same workload, but but decrease volume (sets x reps) to 50-60% of your normal amount. For example: If you are doing 5 x 4 (on a regular training day), then 5 x 2 would be your de-load volume.
• Decrease workload (intensity) and volume. (Options 1 and 2)
• Use light weight and focus on refining your form and technique.
If done correctly, you should be able to make strength and performance increases, regularly, with a reduced risk of injury. It will also serve as a mental and physical break that will preemptively address any recovery issues you may have.
Beginners Training Less Than 1 Year
If you are a beginner, you may not have to de-load as often as a more intermediate trainee because you are training much further away from your genetic limits. To ensure you are taking full advantage of your training as a beginner, I would recommend downloading a free copy of Mass in A Flash, my 12 week muscle building guide for novice trainees. This guide provides a 12 week workout schedule as well as extra diet information. If you would like to check it out, leave your link in the email box below.